A friend of mine was enjoying the combined company of her ten year old daughter and a good bottle of wine when she was suddenly struck with the urge to sing. She cranked up the PS2, threw in a SingStar disc and belted out a Coldplay hit before reluctantly handing the mic to her daughter, giving herself time to un-reluctantly refill her glass.
“No thanks,” said her daughter, handing the mic back.
“Why not?” my friend asked.
“I don’t want to.”
Or you do but you’re worried about embarrassing yourself because I’m so good, thought my friend.
As parents I think we’ve all played that game where you don’t perform to the best of your abilities in order to let one of your kids win.
For example, I can’t remember the last game of Connect Four I’ve won as an adult, yet I was awesome at it when I was a kid.
It’s just the sort of thing we do as parents, isn’t it? To boost their confidence and give them a giggle at having defeated their folks.
“Sure you do,” my friend assured her daughter. “Singing is fun.” Then she wrung the last of the drop of wine from the bottle and wondered if there was another in the fridge or if she’d already polished that one off. “You’re just embarrassed. I tell you what, we’ll sing together.”
Now I have to say it’s the mark of an exceptional parent that even after the odd sip *cough* of alcohol my friend’s stellar mothering instincts still bubbled to the surface. So bubbly impressive was she, in fact, I’m surprised her wine didn’t morph into champagne.
“We sang three songs,” my friend told me, “and she won all of them because I sang slightly out of tune in order to let her win.”
It was a bit of fun for her daughter, who she hopes will be keener to grab the mic next time mummy gets the urge to
But although my friend was happy to have her 10 year old daughter believe she’d bested her mum at singing, her ego wasn’t about to stand for criticism from her 16 year old daughter the next morning.
“Mum, you sounded awful!” her older daughter complained. “You were so out of tune!”
“I was doing it on purpose,” she whispered, and explained the scenario.
“Oh, thank goodness,” said her daughter, laughing. “The Coldplay song was so bad I was going to come up and tell you to turn it off!”
My friend laughed too. Until a sobering thought struck her.
The Coldplay song wasn’t one of the three songs she’d sung with her younger daughter.
And while she’s happy to blame the wine, it turns out there’s not even a bottle left in the fridge to drown her sorrows with.
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