Intrigued by the title? Thought so. Want the story on how my quiet and charming parents decided to throw raging parties every night of the Thanksgiving holiday? I know you do.
This year we decided to venture to the exotic Outer Banks of North Caroline with some of my parents closest friends who also have family out of the area. By Wednesday evening, there was Miss Sassy, a toddler, 6 couples (friends of my parents who are mostly “empty nesters” like my parents except sike I still live at home…womp), and one karaoke machine. The karaoke machine’s mention will make sense soon. So that night, we had a delicious Italian feast prepared by Momma and Poppa, more bottles of wine than should ordinarily be necessary, and yummy desserts. I suppose I should mention that most everyone (except the toddler) had been drinking since probably noon, so by the time dinner and dessert was finished, that karaoke machine was looking like everyone’s ticket to the big stage. So someone breaks out the mics and gives it a test run. I can safely attest that the thing works. Very well. Poppa Pants volunteers to go first, takes the mic and lets loose on Garth Brooks and all his friends in low places. Let me tell you, and I say this in the most affectionate way possible since I love Poppa Pants dearly, man canNOT sing. But he loves singing Jim Croce, Jimmy Buffett, and most of all Meat Loaf (yes, truth). And he dominates that mic like it’s his new job and he is paid well for it. But again, we’d all been drinking since noon so he’s always a crowd favorite. Momma Sassy also took her turn up on the stage that is our big living room (complete with balloon patterned couches and seashells on every shelf), and turned herself into Patsy Cline, The Judds, and Bette Midler – and she did it well. Some wondered aloud why she wasn’t a professional or famous! Meanwhile I sit in the back of the room wondering when the torture would cease.
What happened to my dad, the man who hates boys, loves rules, hummed quietly in church, and never used swear words in front of his precious little princess? (That’s me, in case you were confused) What happened to my quiet Sicilian mother, who drank a glass of wine with dinner, loves order, and sang Disney tunes? As I sat in the back, watching the hilarity as everyone but me (and the toddler – bedtime for little ones comes before 2am unfortunately) shakes their tushes, and belts out Cher and “I will survive!”, I realized something. These are real people. I am but a spectator on my parents life. Think about when you were little and your parents are SO MEAN and they NEVER let you do ANYTHING and it’s just AWFUL! Now I think, if we weren’t such brats to our parents, I believe we’d have discovered this “coolness” -if you will – a lot sooner! It’s not that I went away and suddenly they’re having parties and raging all night with friends and wine. It was there all the time, I just needed to grow up and see it. How lucky I am to have such fun parents, who manage to be my friends but still forcefully discretely cram down my throat slip in some parenting every 5 seconds every now and then. So as I sat, enjoying my dear tone-deaf father’s rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light (longest song in the history of the world PS), I smiled. Because even though Meat Loaf is a much better singer (albeit scary and weird), Poppa Pants was enjoying himself and it warmed my heart to see him squinch up his face and close his eyes and really get into it. So now I won’t hide my face in embarrassment and miss having fun with them while they’re young and able. You never know how much time you have folks! And while you will probably never catch me singing solos in front of my parents friends (or anyone for that matter – I require lots of booze, ridiculous anomalies of confidence, or bribery), I will refuse to run and hide from the outrageous antics which occur more and more frequently, pretending I don’t know them. I will take a million videos and pictures to use as blackmail later so their future grandchildren can see what fun fools they are. I will laugh until I cry when Poppa Pants loses his voice belting out Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown. I will hold Momma Sassy’s third glass of scotch while she hams it up for anyone who’s watching, and shows that she has missed her calling as another Patsy Cline. And I will continue to drink bourbon slushies (delish) quietly and remember that one day, I will do the same to my kids. Proudly.
Kids: don’t let your parents scare you away with embarrassing antics, and don’t forget that your parents are allowed to let their sass out, too. Parents: we love you and enjoy watching you get funky, but we will continue laugh at you and shake our heads. Just remember it’s all out of love.