My Kid Ditched Me For The First Time

mean girlsOne of my friend’s always professed that children are just for rent, meaning you don’t have them forever. I didn’t really understand this — that is until I found myself sitting alone in an animated children’s movie with 3D glasses on.

I had taken my daughter and her friend to a movie and, after I bought tickets and junk food, we walked into the theatre.

“We’re going to sit by ourselves,” my 9-year-old daughter’s friend announced.

I kind of expected my daughter to say, “Of course we’re not! We have to sit with my mommy, the greatest love of my life, the one who took us here and paid for everything!”

Yah, that didn’t happen.

My daughter happily took off with her friend to sit in the very back row of the theater, leaving me standing there, feeling like I was the only one who hadn’t been asked for the final dance of “Stairway to Heaven” at an overnight camp.

I suppose I could have said, “No, we’re all sitting together!” Or, “That hurts my feelings.” Or, “Are you embarrassed to be sitting with me?” But, of course, I wanted my daughter to have a fun playdate, and fun for a 9-year-old, it seems, is being allowed to sit without your not-so-cool mother. Oh the thrill!

I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come so soon. And I didn’t really expect my feelings to be so hurt. There was barely anyone in the movie theater so I wasn’t worried about my daughter or her friend’s safety. I could easily see them if I just looked back, and I could also HEAR them, because 9-year-old girls like to talk throughout movies.

My friend’s 9-year-old daughter recently told her that my friend had to wait in the car when she picked her up from school. Why? My friend was wearing her glasses that day because she had an eye infection and couldn’t wear contacts. Her daughter was mortified to be seen with her. When did this start happening?

I’m not sure what I found more depressing. The fact that it was the FIRST time my daughter didn’t want to be near me, or the fact that I, a middle age woman, was sitting at a five p.m. show of an animated children’s movie with 3D glasses on.

I know plenty of people see movies by themselves, but honestly, would I have chosen an animated children’s movie – Epic – to go see on my own? I don’t think so.

But I got over the fact that my daughter had ditched me without seeming to care about my feelings. Unlike me, she didn’t think, “OH MY GOD THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’RE NOT SITTING BESIDE EACH OTHER DURING A MOVIE!” Like the first time she managed to learn how to wave “bye-bye,” it was a milestone in her development. Not a good one, but a milestone that, as a parent, I will certainly remember.

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You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Emmali Lucia

    I almost fell out of the chair laughing at the “Is your mom drunk?” line.

    It’s good that she stood up for you though, I’d be fairly offended if a little kid accused me of being drunk.

    But, she’s officially a preteen now, welcome to war, would you like MakeUpForever Waterproof war paint or Urban Decay?

  • SDA

    My daughter isn’t even one yet, and I have already thought about the day when she won’t want me around! Hard to imagine since we are in the stage where if my mind even drifts to a picture of putting her down of a second to go to the bathroom, she loses it. But still….I think of my own mother, whom I love very much, and how I was just letting her know that we were too busy for a second visit in two weeks – eventually that will be the relationship with my daughter. She’ll love me dearly, but won’t need or want me around at all times. It is hard to think about now, but I’ll have to remind myself how nice it feels to be alone in the bathroom.

    It was 6th grade when I told my mom she had to sit separately in the theater. Poor mom, now I feel sad!! :)

  • Byron

    Aha, I see, you’re the kind of mom who is into the stuff your kid likes and actually participates, (even if you don’t really feel like in the begining, hehe) kudos! My mom was like that too, we played tabletop role playing games (the uber serious dice-rollding dungeon and dragons style ones) ever since I was like 5 and she’d get into it, being the dungeon master and giving me quests to do while also controlling all the monsters I would face.

    Now, a grown man, whenever I’m talking about this to people I do get this envious “I wish my mom was into cool stuff…” responses.

    Keep being cool, your kid may not wanna sit with you but she’ll still cherish the memories. :P

    • Frances Locke

      I’m that kind of mom too! Though I don’t pretend to like that stuff in the beginning, I am actively trying to get my 9-year-old daughter into D&D styles games because I love them. I played through 200+ hours of Final Fantasy when I was pregnant with my oldest kid I was hoping that kind of devotion would rub off on her. So far, no go :(

    • Byron

      Haha, awesome! Which one? My favorite Final Fantasy is VIII though I like them all. :D

      A good way to get her into fantasy and RP style stuff I think would be with the Dragon Quest series. If you have a DS, have her give a go at DQ9, it’s not quite as in-depth but it has a lot of interesting elements which appeal to everyone. In Japan it’s a mainstay for people’s homes as much as disney is here.

      Sadly, these kinds of activities still carry a modicrum of stigma for being “too geeky” or something (if it’s a videogame not starting with “call” and ending in “duty”, it’s still for nerds as far as a lot of people go), so it could very well be that she just finds then uncool…and if that’s the case only time would fix it. I wouldn’t give up hope, she may come around eventually.

  • Marian Dreaver

    She will come back again. In a few years, but I think we all do. (If we have good mums which you seem to be.)

  • Valeri Jones

    When my son was a little baby, like single-digits months-old, I remember telling my husband that I couldn’t wait until I told him, “Come to Mommy!” and he did. My husband said, “It won’t last long. Pretty soon you’ll be telling him that and he will take off running in the opposite direction.” Sure enough, my now one-and-a-half year old bolts in the other direction any time I tell him to come here. It’s cute to watch his little chubby self sprint down the hallway, but it’s also kinda heartbreaking at the same time. I am sure I will feel the same as you, Rebecca, when my son reaches the point that it’s no longer cool to be seen with Mom.

    And yes, I totally just agreed with (and liked!) your article. :)

  • brebay

    friend’s = something belonging to a friend. friends = plural of friend.

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