A Small Price to Pay

Have you ever been embarrassed because of your parents? This can come in many forms. It may be as simple as them having a conversation about you with your friends, or perhaps their accent is different from what your peers are used to hearing. Children often are easily embarrassed by the silliest things about their parents.

I (Christy) have been embarrassed on various occasions, but when I heard my mom was getting braces, I just about lost it. To me, that was the end of my already-nonexistent social life. I was so self-absorbed that all I could think about was how much her getting braces was going to affect me. There was no stopping it; she was going to get them “so that [she could] align [her] lower teeth which moved with age. At the moment, hearing that answer would not have changed my perspective; it is only now that I realized how important the braces really were for her sense of self-esteem and health. As I grew up and became more mature, I came to understand that getting embarrassed over petty things is not as significant as it initially seems.

My dad got braces not long after my mom removed hers, only a few months ago. Surprisingly, I did not react negatively this time. His reason for getting them was similar to my mom’s. Now I can fully appreciate the reasons both my parents had for getting braces in their fifties. They were not intentionally trying to embarrass me; in fact, they were not doing anything that should even considered embarrassing.

However, braces are not the only embarrassing thing that parents can do to “humiliate” a child – sometimes there are many moments with them that become nightmares. Here’s an instance from my (Bill’s) life. It was during Young Musician, a musical competition, while I was walking up the stage. Every step was a struggle; my legs were weak and fingers were shaking.  To make matters worse, my mom called out my nickname that I had intentionally chosen not to reveal. Surprised and embarrassed, I tripped – but this was not the end of the embarrassment I was to suffer. The performance had ended, people applauded and just when I was about to walk down, my worst nightmare came to pass. My mom wanted to take a picture of me. Many children might share this experience, when a parent thinks that the whole world revolves around their child, and that everything can wait when a parent is taking a picture. I was already half way down the stairs when I had to walk back to the piano and pose “doing the peace sign”. At that moment I froze, but to my surprise, my dad walked up the stage, stood next to the piano with me and took the picture. Great. Just great. 

As children, we sincerely believe that parents find satisfaction in causing embarrassment to us, but when we look back at the funny moments that cause us so much “pain”, we realize that they only want what is best for us and do not deliberately want to embarrass us most of the time. Of course, we also need to try to understand these people called Parents – they love us (and, of course, for that we are very grateful). Maybe being embarrassed from time to time is a small price to pay for being loved.