Becoming the embarrassing aunt

I’ve failed on the embarrassing parent front. I realized this recently while swanning around the high school – supposedly working – and all of my Sassy Saint’s friends were flagging me down for hugs. I spotted Sass herself in her science lab, where she flailed like Kermit the Frog to get my attention while her classmates blew me kisses. Thank you, children. I feel loved.

The only person who sidled away and pretended not to know me was my nephew.

“Are you being good?” I asked him.

He smirked and shook his head. I knew this was a lie. He is a child with unusual levels of sass – not surprising, because I gained him through the Long Suffering Husband, and all the sass is on his side of the family – but he is a good kid.

I motioned for him to approach and give me a hug. He shook his head vehemently and skittered away.

“That was my nephew,” I told the other adults as he sprinted up the stairs to escape me.

I would have pointed him out, but the only things left in the hall were discarded homework pages, still fluttering and floating in his wake. The stairwell doors were just settling shut behind him. It had been roughly three seconds since we made eye contact.

I have found my new calling, y’all. I am That Embarrassing Aunt. I am going to embrace this, partially because I’m certain Embarrassing Aunt duties include imbibing at all family get-togethers and this can only improve family get-togethers. For me, anyway; the rest of you have to fend for yourselves.

Also, I think Embarrassing Aunts hug people a lot. Once I have some imbibing under my belt, this should not be a problem. I will hug nieces, nephews, telephone poles, it doesn’t matter. I will hug perfect strangers, should they stray into range.

I mean, I should have realized my children had become immune to my weirdness. They are exposed to it on a daily basis. They have become weird themselves through osmosis. The Little Professor loves Shakespeare and begs me to record political debates for him, because they extend past his bedtime, and the Sassy Saint adults better than I do – I think it’s her way of rebelling.

But my nieces and nephews don’t get a daily dose of the weirdness, so it is that much easier to embarrass them. I set out to immediately test my new theory on my sister’s two boys, the Heathenish and the Hellion. The Heathenish was celebrating a birthday, and my sister Foo-Dog and I took all the offspring to the movies.

I am an admitted movie crier. All those scenes cynically constructed to wrench your emotions hit me in the feels. I figured taking the children to the movies was a prime opportunity to sob all over them, thereby mortifying them.

I didn’t figure I’d laugh. The joke wasn’t even that funny. Foo started laughing, so I started laughing. She kept laughing because I was laughing, and I couldn’t stop laughing because she was laughing. We were wiping tears from our eyes. Our ribs hurt.

The Heathenish was not impressed.

“Stop it,” he hissed. “It’s not that funny.”

Mission accomplished.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)