Metro-East Living

‘You have no idea what’s in style, Mom’

Michelle Meehan Schrader and her son Sam
Michelle Meehan Schrader and her son Sam

“Please, Sam, please lose the hipster glasses!” I tell my son as he, once again, covers up his beautiful face with Those Things. The boy I gave birth to has blue-green eyes. He also has cherubic cheeks, which he hides behind a beard. I have threatened to shave him in his sleep.

“It’s my choice,” my 20-year-old tells me.

He’s right. But those glasses? C’mon. They’re ginormous. I should tell you, my son has contact lenses. Boxes and boxes of them. And they sit in the drawer, while I beg. I have gone so far as to pay him to wear them. Just five bucks. It only worked once.

“Everybody tells me they like my glasses,” he says.

“That’s because they’re all they see when they look at your face.”

“You have no idea what’s in style, Mom.”

Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?

Uh-oh. I think those words came from me and were directed at my own long-suffering mother.

Her name was Mildred, and like me, she got emotional. I can remember her barring the door once when I tried to leave the house in a Lycra mini dress.

“Don’t do it, Shelly! Your reputation is at stake.”

When I asked, “What reputation?” she dropped to her knees, and I made my escape.

So here I stand having the same battle with my son. No, Sam isn’t into Lycra mini dresses — not that there’s anything wrong with that. But he is into developing his own unique style. It is a style that screams college student and makes me scream, too.

When my only child is away at school, I have no idea what he wears. But when he’s home for the summer, the gloves come off.

“Those ratty tennis shoes? Why don’t you wear your deck shoes instead?”

“That T-shirt needs ironing.”

“Please cut your hair! You’re breaking my heart!”

The “broken heart ploy” was one my late mother used to use. It didn’t work then. It doesn’t work now. But, hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. This year, as one of his Mother’s Day gifts to me, Sam got a haircut. I take my wins where I can get them. And I won’t look to my husband, Mark, for help.

In our home, there is a Good Cop/Bad Cop dynamic. I am the Bad Cop — the nagging, annoying cop who (sometimes) gets her way. Mark is the Good Cop — the one who actually agrees with the Bad Cop but doesn’t say. You see, if he criticized Sam, it might affect the little Mutual Admiration Society they founded together. Who am I to deny the father-son bond?

Plus, I like to nag.

“You, Mom, have a problem,” my son tells me.

“Oh, you’re not a problem, sweetie.” I say and smile.

“OK, that was good how you turned that around,” he admits.

“Thank you. Now, please go put in your contacts.”

And so the day begins.