My Parents Are Clowns – The Beginning.Posted: April 9, 2012
I’ve written of my parents before. If I’ve done them justice, I’ve given you the impression that they are a lively and inspiring pair who are revered by many. I’m fortunate to have landed with them.
There is something that I haven’t written of until now. I was raised by clowns. I mean that in its most literal sense – my parents became clowns. Yes, red nose, big shoe wearing parents.
Things were apparently normal before the conversion. We lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.. My dad was a Federal Agent. My mom kept the house running and ran a little cake decorating business. I was in high school, my brother was a few years back in middle school. Things were so normal.
Yeah, So Normal
The thing is, when she told me what was about to happen, my mom said it like things were still normal.
I’d come home after cross-country practice. She was cooking and we were having the “how was your day, what’s new” talk. “Dad and I aren’t going to be home for dinner. You guys eat without us. We’ll get something while we’re out.”
Normal. So normal.
I asked where they were going. “Clown school.” Normal. Mom was and still is a joker. But when I asked again, she confirmed it. I laughed and asked again. If I asked enough, she’d tell me what they were really doing. That’s what I thought.
But the answer never changed. She was serious, they were going to clown school.
The natural question in a situation like this is “why?” So that’s what I asked. My mother just kind of shrugged and smiled. She wasn’t mean about it, that was just the answer.
How Could I Have Missed It?
There was no warning. No signs of them researching the matter. No books strewn about. We hadn’t been to the circus since I was quite young. No strange phone messages from anyone named Sparkles. The evening before, we had dinner and talked about normal stuff. And yet they were serious about going to learn to be clowns.
I was sure I’d missed a sign. I’d worked so hard bringing them up. How could this happen?
Later, in the quiet of my room, I contemplated what my mother and father going to clown school meant to me. I reached a horrible conclusion, quickly. I was destined to live my entire life as a virgin.
As I write this, I am fifty years old. I have talks with my parents and ask about the things I didn’t understand when they happened:
- I never knew how they knew everything I did, even when they moved out of state. I now know the name of their spies.
- I know word for word what was said in one particularly volatile parent/teacher conference.
- I’ve heard the story of why I was given my name.
But even now, I still have no idea how or why my parents made this choice that to me, still seemed to have come out of nowhere. Not long ago, I told my mom that I still didn’t understand why they’d started clowning.
All she said was “ha ha ha, yeah.”