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Modern Day Parenting

by Jo Wilkie

But I’ve always wanted to be. Never, ever in my life- not even as a cheerleader in high school- was I popular or cool. I always wore the heavy sweater on the warm day and the tee shirt on the freezing day. My hair never looked quite right and my makeup? Forget about it. Too many zits.

Even as a young, urban, working girl, I was not cool. I tried. I got a nose ring at one point, but I was always playing with it, which meant my finger was up my nose all the time. I always hated loud music at bars- I wanted to actually talk to people. And, although I lived in Seattle when grunge was happening, I didn’t know who Kurt Cobain was until a few years after he died.

As luck would have it, I seem to have been freed from my longing for coolness, although I didn’t really realize it until this morning. Susanne decided that today was a good day to run, “like Pocahontas”, through the streets of Rome to get to her little scuola. I wholeheartedly agreed with this plan, because it is FUN to run around with my daughter and she LOVES it!

I noticed as we were running and laughing and jumping over imaginary caverns and tree stumps that the very cool, fashionable, hip, Italians that came across us looked, um, perturbed? Suspicious? Disgusted? Hard to say. It’s tough to read cool people, no?

In a previous life, this would have occupied my thoughts for days. “What is wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? I’m such an asshole American. Did I have a booger on my nose? May I should just put Susanne in a stroller and then I’ll blend in…” And on and on it would have gone.

However, much to my surprise, I actually felt a little pity for these beautiful, hip Italians, who often seem completely boxed in by their image. Here I am, running through this beautiful city, with my beautiful daughter, who, by the way, is shouting, “Buon Giorno” to everyone she passes- creating moments I will never forget. Moments Susanne may actually remember with delight as a grown up. To me, that is the coolest thing EVER.

And you could not have paid me to put my daughter in a stroller and “blend in”, not this morning, anyway. I have never been so happy to be uncool in my whole life. And I hope I never forget it.

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