Schooled By My Daughter

Posted by mwallach on May 6, 2012 in My Kids |

Dear That’s Life,
Originally called “Bring Your Daughters to Work” Day the initiative began as a chance for girls to visit places of work held by their parents in an effort to introduce them to different careers and opportunities. The day was then renamed “Bring Your Children to Work” Day as it seemed, for the first time in history, boys were being left out of something and it hurt their feelings. (I do not remember men needing their own Equal Rights Amendment, but I digress.) Regardless, my eldest daughter sat beside me in the car as we headed into Manhattan and she accompanied me to work.

Once your eldest child has reached the legal age for sitting in the front seat, there are numerous realizations one has a parent. To begin with, you are getting old. Forget that she no longer has to sit in a rear facing car seat – now she’s riding shotgun. In addition, her being in the front seat reminds you that it is only a matter of time before she is behind the wheel as well. Most importantly, however, beyond all else this moment signifies when – for the first time – she tries to control the radio. It’s all over after that point.

Luckily, my children and I share the same taste in music, which is something I strategically planned for since their births. There was no Raffi played in my car or CDs titled “Kids Favorite Road Trip Songs.” Instead, I started them on the classics – Billy Joel, Green Day and Foo Fighters. Every once in a while, if a Michael Buble tune comes on the radio and they sing along, I know they must have been sitting on hold at my husband’s office. Luckily, on our way into Manhattan, I was confident that relinquishing radio control to my daughter would not invite lite music into my car. Even if she has a thing for swing, it’s better than other stuff to which we could be listening.

Playing with the different XM stations, she turned to the one she listens to the most. Between songs, the DJ made a shout out to parents taking their children to work in celebration of the day. He invited anyone taking advantage of the opportunity to call the station and play a quiz show. Only parents on their way into work with their child were eligible and my daughter, ever the adventurous one, desperately wanted to call. Despite my objections, we were quickly on the air.

Smart cookie that she is, when they asked her how old we were, she proudly gave her exact teen age but told them I was “in my thirties.” They took our names and explained how the game was played. We would be asked a series of questions – the contestant who was first to answer three correctly, won. Our names were our buzzers. As soon as one of us knew an answer, we had to shout our name into the speaker phone. While the prize being played for was good old-fashioned bragging rights, it was enough for us. We were pumped and ready to go.

Before I knew it, she was up 2-0, both questions involving boy bands. Filled with pity, I was then thrown a bone. “Here’s one for you, Mom,” said the announcer. “What is ‘fax’ short for?” I shouted my own name, and appreciating the chance to get on the board, gave them the correct answer. The score was 2-1. The next question was not only about television, but about a pre-teen show on the Disney network. “Selena Gomez,” said the voice, “is the star of what television show?” We both knew the answer, but somehow, I managed to use my “buzzer” before she did. “The Wizards of Waverly Place!” I screamed, only to add, “And I am not even embarrassed that I knew the answer to that question!” Everyone laughed, except for my daughter, because now the game was tied. With one question left, it was sudden death. Either way, one of us would win and one would lose on the next question asked unless somehow, neither one of us knew it. That was not the case.

“What is the name of Carly’s best friend on the show ‘iCarly’?” he asked. He had barely finished the question when she had already buzzed in. “SAM!” she screamed and with that, the bragging rights were all hers.

The game was over. She had won and smiled from ear to ear. Not knowing the answer to that last question did not bother me in the least bit. In fact, I was actually quite pleased. This was a question worth losing over. “Believe me when I tell you,” I said to the DJ, “that I am happier losing than admitting I knew any ‘iCarly’ trivia.” He laughed. “Okay, Mom,” he said, as if to make me feel better, “I’ll give you one just for you.” Then he began.

“What is Ross and Monica’s last name?” he asked me. Had I not been driving, I would have rolled my eyes at the question, almost insulted by its simplicity. “Geller,” I answered without needing to think about it at all. “And please,” I added, sarcastically, “do not insult me – do not waste my time.” We laughed, he thanked us for playing and we hung up.

As if beating me on the radio was not enough, my daughter needed to take a victory lap. “I also knew their last name was ‘Geller’,” she said, as I shot her a look, though I was silently proud. Good for her, I thought, happy we had both started our day on such a high note. If going to work could always be this much fun, I would take her with me every day.
MLW
As Seen in the South Shore Standard

Personal Note to Readers Regarding Last Week’s Column: I am truly touched by all of your emails, texts and phone calls. Feedback of any kind is always welcomed and appreciated – especially those that are supportive and heartfelt. After reading about my experience, one person asked me what I thought G-d was trying to tell me. I said I was not sure, but promised I was listening. A special shout out, however, goes to my friend and neighbor, Sharon Kagan, who found the perfect Hallmark card for the occasion. Who knew there really was a card out there for almost getting run over by a car? Life is good.

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