My plan was to let my siblings do the work, and I would be the aunt. Not just any aunt, by any means. The cool aunt. The one that takes the kids out to cool places, eats at the cool restaurants, listens to cool music. The aunt that is cool enough to listen to the complaints about Mom and Dad as I nod sympathetically; my nieces, nephews, and I in our solitary bubble of coolness.
Then my baby girl came along. So I thought I would be a cool mom. I tried, really (and who am I kidding? I still do!). We discover diners, farmers’ markets, and hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants. We sing together in the car along with Ingrid, Adele, and the Ting-Tings. We hit up the coffee shop before school (chai for me, hot chocolate for her). We have dance parties in our kitchen (which our downstairs neighbor thankfully puts up with).
But the moment I start to think, “I might be a cool mom after all!” it happens. I sing too loudly, or make a cheesy joke, or pull a dance move that’s just a little too ridiculous (go listen to the Sleigh Bells album and see if you do better!). First comes the giggle. Then the sigh. Then the roll of the eyes. And then (how at 5 years old she’s mastered this already, I don’t know) the “Mo-o-o-o-o-om!” I’ve done it. I’ve embarrassed my kindergartener. I’m definitely not cool. To rub salt in further she adds, “Mommy, you’re acting too crazy,” as she shakes her head. Then she spins around and shows me how to really dance cool. Apparently, it involves lots of spinning and posing and hands thrown in the air. Preferably with pink sunglasses and a twirly skirt.
And that’s when I realize. I don’t care about being a cool mom. I’m her mom. And she’s cool enough for us both.