For anyone  that reads me regularly, I don’t have to tell you that I have the flu this week, but I will anyway: I HAVE THE FLU. I hate being sick. Everything gets derailed — my diet, work, writing, exercise, and parenting. Not that my teenagers require as much parenting these days, with Suz self-sufficient at school, Clark with a drivers’ license, and the oldest 3 outta-da-house. They require a whole lot of other stuff, though, like money, patience, money, money, and more money.

This week one of them also required attendance — ours. Susanne had a choir concert. Eric and I strive to attend all of our kids’ events. That’s why my butt is permantly numbed from sitting on hard bleachers at multi-day long swim meets.

There was just no way to swing Susanne’s concert this time. Our guilt was magnified by the weeklong trip we’d made to Chicago to see Liz sing, but what could we do? Our attendance would risk infection of 100 choir members and their assembled 750 fans. And we felt, and probably smelled, like hammered dog poo, too.

We drove Suz to the concert together in solidarity (and in case one of us passed out from fever), and I wrung my hands the whole way.

“Are you sure you are OK with us missing this, sweetie?” I asked.

“MOM, it’s fine. I don’t want you to go. Have you looked in the mirror? You haven’t brushed your hair in a week,” she said.

Note to self: don't let your kids photograph you with flu-locks.

I turned to Eric. “Does this make us bad parents?”

Eric doesn’t pass up many opportunities to raz Susanne, even when he’s on death’s door. “It’ll give her something to talk about with her therapist someday.”

Susanne rolled her eyes in his general direction.

I loved this game and joined in. “Remember MadLibs last night? That prophetic story that had her as an exotic dancer? She’ll be at her therapist and go, ‘I was all set to be a veterinarian for starving animals in third world countries and marry Tim Tebow, when my parents quit coming to my choir concerts. It’s then that I turned to drugs and became an exotic dancer.'” I blew my nose.

“Mo-o-o-o-o-m,” Susanne protested, with her hand over her mouth. She doesn’t like to be caught smiling.

“I noticed she used a heavy hand with the poppyseed dressing tonight at dinner,” Eric added. “She made a point of telling us that opium comes from poppies.  And I think that was right after you said we couldn’t go tonight, on the heels of us bagging on her for the Blake Shelton concert.”

“And me missing my duet with Blake of God Gave Me You,” I lamented.

Susanne had taken two friends in our place. Methinks she was happy with the spoils of flu last night. Still, she rubbed a little salt into the gash in my heart. “Hey, I videotaped it on my cell phone for you. Did you hear him calling you to the stage?” Hair toss. “I didn’t think so.”

Eric ignored the sidebar. “Next thing you know she’ll be asking us to grind hemp seeds onto her strawberry toaster streudels.”

I dropped my Blake woes and rejoined the fun. “Shave mushrooms over her macaroni and cheese,” I said.

“Huh?” Suz asked.

Eric’s voice was starting to give out, but he rasped on. “Pour cough syrup into her Dr. Pepper,” he said.

“She’ll start stealing our Sudafed, and her room will always smell like a freshly cleaned gymnasium*,” I said, then rattled the Malibu with a cough.

“And to think it all started because we had the flu,” Eric sniffed, wiping his dry eyes with a pretend hankie.

We pulled to a stop to drop off our daughter.

“You look pretty, honey. Sing good,” I chirped.

Susanne just shook her head, but this time she didn’t bother hiding the smile. “You guys are weird.”

She shut the door and joined her friends walking into the church, three young ladies with the world in their hands, beautiful in long black satin dresses with full length black gloves.

I put the car in drive. Tiny guilt prickles bit along my arms and face again. “Do you think she really will rat us out to a therapist some day? What if she repeated this conversation, for instance? Maybe that’s where we’re bad parents and missing this concert isn’t the real problem. Or maybe I’m delirious on too much Theraflu and Mucinex.”

Eric leaned his head back against the passenger seat and sighed. “Relax, Mom. I’m pretty sure she’s going to turn out just fine.”




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25 Responses to And this explains why our daughter ends up an exotic dancer who tells her therapist, “It’s all my mother’s fault.”

  1. Gigi says:

    You missed her concert!!!!!!!!!!! Poor susanne!! ( just kidding)

  2. Heidi Dorey says:

    Holy hell. I could not have photoshopped you looking so crazy.
    And yay to Madlibs.
    You are now a true writer.

  3. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    A large part of this was a real conversation and we were laughing so hard I almost forgot the poor child was in the back seat.

  4. Eric Hutchins says:

    She was protesting once we got on a roll, “you can’t turn this into a blog and write about me AGAAAAAINNNN” and yet smiling the whole time, and secretly has probably hit your site 2 or 3 times already.

    • Pamela says:

      Ha! You know she has. She came in and sat at my feet while I wrote it, fact-checking me. PUHLEEZE. And then, no mama, you can’t write about me, even though I suggested it in the first place and then helped you write it. 😉

      Love that girl.

  5. Vidya Sury says:

    :-) I love how Susanne took it all 😀 We enjoy teasing our son Vidur too – and can clearly see he loves it even as he pretend-protests – and probably secretly looks out for the blog post 😀 Did Susanne have a good time?

    • Pamela says:

      Exactly — they pretend to protest, and that’s when you know they love it. In fact, I have been rewarded today — my daughter and I have a mom-daughter date today/tonight. I love it.

      She did have a good time at her concert, and she said they sang well. It went VERY long, so she was tired of it by the end, and I know we would have been DYING.

  6. Dang, you guys are quick (witted) even when you’re sick!! Hope you’re on the mend in time to save Suz from herself. :) Tim Tebow awaits and may have more time on his hands if Peyton heads to Denver. Just sayin’…

  7. PhroYo says:

    Great post! Hope you feel better soon! I gotta tell ya though, you and your husband remind me of my parents. Great sense of humors! :) At that age, your kid gets it. And you didn’t do any harm at all. It’s actually a life lesson in and of itself. Sometimes those who want to be there for you, simply can’t. And when they can’t, you just gotta go on. She will be just fine.

    • Pamela says:

      :) I like the way you look at things! My parents made me laugh, too, and I loved it. My brother and I both turned out to be quite the jokesters as a result. But sometimes we go a little far, ha ha.

      This time I think it was just about right.

  8. My comment on the former post stands. You are brilliant no matter how upchucky you are. Children were put on this earth for blogging fodder. It evens everything out during their teen years and keeps the earth rotating on its axis. Listen, one of the few times I missed Alpha Son’s BB game, he broke his collar bone & they came and got us out of a meeting to go to the hospital. I have forever and ever felt guilt over that and we never missed another game of his. I’m not sure he even remembers the incident but I STILL do. It’s a sign of a good parent, right? Only a bad parent wouldn’t feel guilt. Right?

    • Pamela says:

      You made him break his collarbone??? What kind of mother are you????



      I hate missing their stuff. But, I think we did the right thing.

      • Humph. Just for that? I’m saving up my $1s and $5s to go visit your daughter in support of her new career. For your sake, I hope she doesn’t ask for a pole… to practice in her BR. Break his collarbone indeed. Humph.

        • Pamela says:

          She bought a cowgirl belt for $72 — SEVENTY-TWO DOLLARS (she is 14.9 yoa) — of her own money. We live in a city. She has never ridden a horse. But she sports tha tbelt in her denim shorts and cowboy boots, let me tell you. She’s definitely working on her stage persona, LOL.

  9. You’re always good for a laugh! Poor Susanne, I guess that means you will have to go support her at the strip club and cheer her on there.

    You’re brave posting the crazy flu picture.

  10. Larry says:

    I really believe that Grandparents should aid in the prevention of grand children being in the vicinity of a pole, unless it is a fishing pole.


    • Pamela says:

      That’s a good one. Yes, I think enlisting the help of the grandparents is definitely in order, since Eric and I can’t seem to get it together to go to a church concert!

  11. Rene says:

    Pamela, I cracked up when I saw that photo of your flu hair! I’m so sorry that BOTH you and Eric have felt so bad. I can totally relate, but I”m hoping to avoid the flu this year — got my shot early! I thought it was VERY BOLD of you to post it! I too have sent “not so flattering photos” via e-mail, but mine are not seen by hundreds! Only a select few get to share in my not so stellar moments. We all have our moments! Hoping you’re feeling better soon! Thanks for being a brave and strong woman whom we all get to share in your screw-ups, your sadness and best of all your successes!

  12. Ally says:

    Oh, I hope you two are feeling better. But you have made me laugh, loudly, even in your sickened state. :)

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