There are things you do as a kid that, at the time, seem perfectly normal. More than that, they can seem creative, brilliant and wise. Events. Experiences. Choices. Or even, as the case may be, as a teenager. But when you look back, through your adult, parent lens, you see that they were absolutely, positively absurd.
We sat at the kitchen table a few weeks ago as a Bon Jovi song came on the Hair Radio station. I said to my 10-year-old, “You know, I lip synced to this song at Chuck E. Cheese’s.”
“What? You did?” he said.
He’s quite familiar with Chuck E. Cheese’s. He’s been to several preschool-aged birthday parties there.
I sat with those words a moment.
I lip synced at Chuck E. Cheese’s?
“Yes,” I went on to say. “I was a Senior. We drove down to Salinas. It was some kind of contest. We performed in front of people.”
An audience of animatronic mice.
Again, I sat with that.
Seventeen or eighteen. Driving in a car. About 29 miles south. Spending gas money. To lip sync at Chuck E. Cheese’s?
“We even wore costumes, I think. Like tie-dyed tees that we shredded. It was cool.”
Seventeen or eighteen. Driving in a car. About 29 miles south. Spending gas money. To lip sync at Chuck E. Cheese’s in a costume.
Sitting at the dinner table with my mom lens on that night, I contemplated my adult experiences at the mouse headquarters: getting your hand stamped with invisible ink to keep your family unit safe and together; eating brittle, flavorless pizza; pouring endless tokens into neon games and skeeball; belting out Happy Birthday to You simultaneously with forty-five other partygoers; forcing my child to sit upright in a bouncing plastic car next to a freaky plastic mouse for a photo op; collecting hundreds of tickets to buy toys that break by the time you get to the parking lot.
Those mom thoughts made my own teen experience there seem completely and utterly outlandish.
Chuck E. Cheese’s was a kids place.
A place for fun, frivolity and birthday parties.
What in the world was I doing lip syncing there as a teenager?
My 10-year-old didn’t seem overly impressed by the feat.
Funny, as I replayed it out loud, neither was I.
I guess sometimes when we encounter childhood things as moms our perspective can change.
We have a new lens to look through.
Or for worse.
As we sat at the dinner table that night, I simply—as I always do with a good Bon Jovi tune—enjoyed the song.
And maybe even lip synced a line or two.