“Normal”

“Mom, why don’t you ever act like this when our friends are here?” It was breakfast before school. So early that the sky was still gripping its blackness—the dark before the dawn. The winter night chill of the kitchen was just beginning to retreat into the corners. I had been singing silly, cheerful songs, both to wake myself up, but also to ease (shock, really) my sleepy kids into the routine of the day. As teens, they are more than used to my craziness and uninhibited um… extroversion.

“As I recall,” I thought back to the memorable moment. “You once told me to ‘never act like this’ in front of your friends.” And, being the type of mother who would never want to embarrass my children, I obeyed. Though I will admit, it was tough.

“But Mom, when we tell them how crazy you are, they don’t believe us.” My son, the oldest, rolled his eyes but said nothing.

“So…,” I thought carefully about how to phrase what I would say next. “You want me to start acting ‘normal’ when your friends are here?” I watched her face, then my son’s. A flicker of horror on his face, a brightening of hers.

“Yes!” she exclaimed. My son raised an eyebrow—a talent he learned from his grandmother—and still said nothing.

I looked him in the eye, no kidding on my face. “You agree with this?”

“Whatever.” He shrugged, turned, and walked away. Yes! We have a new normal! (But I will still try to behave when we have company).

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