Musings of a Marfan Mom

How Mary Saved Me from Teenage Mortification

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This week I’m answering the MamaKat’s prompt #5: Describe a moment you felt embarrassed by your parents

I think a more apt prompt would be “When WEREN’T you embarrassed by your parents?” My mother is not usually one to over-share or cause a scene (except when she passed my baby picture around my class in middle school, or took my girlfriends and me to see Spice World [I only saw it out of peer pressure, I tell you!] and screamed OH MY GOSH THOSE ARE NAKED BUTTS COVER YOUR EYES! during the “male dancers” part…). My father, on the other hand, was an artist with bipolar disorder. We lived in a small town and EVERYONE knew who he was, for better or for worse.

Now, in high school we lived in a house whose back could be seen well from the highway. Not built by us, it was an open-beam home and had been constructed with a crane dropping in the skeleton of the house, which caused attention in our town: enough that we got a lot of unsolicited feedback when we did some necessary remodeling.

Christmas was Dad’s favorite season of the year. He loved to decorate the house inside and out, sometimes in unconventional ways. The new house proved to be his perfect canvas, and our first Christmas there he decided on a blue theme.

I don’t have a problem with blue Christmas lights. I do have a problem with abstract designs done randomly all over the exterior of the house in those huge, no longer sold, blue Christmas lights.  Frustrated with trying to detangle the lights, my dad literally threw the whole lot of them onto the side of the house and nailed the mess in place.

You can imagine the comments I heard around town.

The icing on the cake though occurred when I was being driven home from a babysitting gig by a neighbor. “Oh my GOODness!” she yelled as she slammed on the breaks. “YOU HAVE THE VIRGIN MARY ON THE SIDE OF YOUR HOUSE in Christmas lights! How did your father DO that?”

I looked at the mottled mess.

“Oh, you know, he’s really creative like that.”

Please don’t strike me down for that fib. I was an embarrassed teenager.

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13 Comments

  1. Wow! Don’t feel bad, my dad would do the same thing only on the bushes. He would just open the box of lights, literally toss them onto a bush, and plug them in. There would be clumps of lights stuck all over the yard. Ugly, much?! Only, no one ever mistook it for art. They probably just assumed he was lazy. They were correct!

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  2. My dad is Mr. Christmas too, we even won for the best decorations in our neighborhood a few years ago. He really likes to make the house look like Christmas just threw up everywhere, but in a good way!

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  3. Ah, a small fib like that works for me. :) Sounds like the creative aspect has carried on in you!

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  4. oh my gosh- how funny! What your dad did with the lights totally sounds like something I would have done!

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  5. I’m surprised you didn’t have hordes of the faithful coming to see The Virgin Mary and declare the site a shrine!

    Great post!

    And the bipolar thing? My son has it, and everywhere we’ve lived, he has people giving him shout outs in every store we go in.

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  6. ha! Great post! I love that she saw the Virgin Mary too!

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  7. Too funny!

    I’ve never been big on “blue” for Christmas. Even with ice and stuff, it just doesn’t seem Christmassy enough!

    I get to decorate my house for the first time this year. I’m both excited and frightened. It may end up being my very own virgin Mary lights display.

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  8. HA! That is so freakin funny! My husband is a decor freak & I can just imagine how our house is going to look again this Christmas.

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  9. HA HA!!!!! love it!!! I always thought your dad was pretty cool. I TOTALLY know what it is like for the whole town to know your parents….as you know. :) I agree that a better question would be when did they NOT embarrass us. :)

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  10. No wonder you were embarrassed. I think your mom at the movies was worse than the lights though.

    Visiting from Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop.

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  11. LOL.. how funny! .. and how cool that he loved it so much!

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  12. That’s perfect! How funny and cool at the same time!

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  13. Fellow SITSta stopping by…
    Gotta tell you, the title of your post really intrigued me. My Dad loved putting up Xmas lights. He did a great job with it. The nicest on the block in fact. Only thing is, he did it while wearing these ridiculous 70’s way-too-short shorts on! LOL I think parents are wired to embarrass their children. Let me tell you, I’ve already started embarrassing mine. LOL
    Have a lovely…

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