By Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman
It started with the American Music Awards back in the fall.
Unlike my rockin’ husband and three music-loving children, I am, at best, “meh” on music. I prefer our local NPR station—in fact, so much so that my middle one jokes my favorite song is the opening music to the “Diane Rehm Show.” #nerd.
I was probably reading the Sunday newspaper and had the television on in the background, when they announced Justin Bieber’s upcoming performance. Justin Bieber—the guy who trashed a paintball place and got arrested for drag racing a rented vehicle. Everyone hates this dude. I didn’t even realize the guy was still—
What the what? The crowd on the TV is going crazy, swinging their light sticks, singing along: What do you mean … better make up your mind?
Didn’t everyone hate—whoa—That guy can move! Wow, this beat is kind of catchy—I love this guy! I hit ‘record’ quickly, knowing I will want to re-watch this.
Enter the husband.
“What are you watching?”
“Justin Bieber is killing it!” I exclaim. “You’ve got to see this. They’re going crazy for him.”
Mr. Coldplay/Beatles/Bono eyes me quizzically. His eyes say this dude’s a punk, but I can see he is curious about said punk.
“No, really hon, killing it,” I say.
“Yeah, he can move, I guess, “ he admits, throwing me a bone.
Within weeks they are playing every song from the Biebs’ new CD on the radio—every time “Sorry” comes on, I am cranking the radio, hitting the steering wheel, singing along. So much catchier than the Diane Rehm tune.
Enter the teenager.
“Oh my god, Mom, this is so embarrassing,” she mutters, threatening to turn the radio off.
“What do you mean?” I sing to her, mimicking the lyrics to my new hero’s song. I wonder if Tiger Beat has a poster of Justin I can put in my room. Probably time to take down the Rick Springfield one anyway.
I think her eyes are rolled so far back they are going to get stuck in the back of her head.
“Is it too late now to say sorry?” I croon, imitating my boy again.
“Really Mom, I mean it—this is really embarrassing.” I look around the car confirming there isn’t a gaggle of kids I had forgotten about.
“I know I let you down, is it too late to say sorry now?” She is trying to claw her way out of the car now.
I think back to her 5th birthday party, when she loudly asked me whether the entertainer was a boy or girl. And the time she “outed” me on some news I wasn’t ready to share, or even the time we walked into Starbucks and she announced this was not our “usual” coffee store—“this isn’t the coffee store!”—nope, none of that was embarrassing.
Even if my singing was embarrassing, doesn’t this count as payback? I couldn’t help but wonder if the tables were turning and I was finally getting a turn. Also, was embarrassing an upgrade from annoying? I have to admit that embarrassing seemed like a downgrade.
I had gotten so good at annoying, I wanted to master something new. Hey, if Justin Bieber could re-invent himself, couldn’t I?
Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.