There’s a tradition in Texas, going back centuries and generations, years and years. It is a time-honored tradition, highly-revered and extremely important. You see, every spring, the rain comes. And after the rain, the fields and rolling hills are covered in bluebonnets.
Aren’t they lovely? Springtime in Texas really is gorgeous. The air smells sweet, the weather isn’t melt-your-face-off-are-you-freaking-kidding-me-hot yet, and bluebonnets blanket the ground.
Legend has it that over 300 years ago, a pioneer lady, upon seeing the bluebonnets for the first time, dressed her children up in their finest prairie clothes and had their portrait done in the field of flowers. This tradition is still upheld today. Each spring, mothers and fathers gather their children, dress them up in their prettiest spring clothing, and have take billions of pictures in the bluebonnets. It’s the price of being a Texas baby in the spring.
Fun fact: it is illegal to pick bluebonnets in Texas because bluebonnets are the state flower.
Less fun fact: It is NOT illegal to humiliate your daughters in the bluebonnets.
It should be. But it isn’t.
Dear Texas Lawmakers: Please get on that. ASAP.
Because if they don’t ban the humiliation of daughters in the bluebonnets? The following story could happen again and again. And more girls will be scarred for life.
Once upon a time, my mother always wanted a picture of her children in the bluebonnets. But then she procrastinated. And forgot. And then remembered after the bluebonnets had already died that year. And then she swore to herself she’d get pictures the next year but sadly, the next year her cycle of forgetting would repeat.
And then I turned 15. And that year she did NOT forget. Instead, she ruined my life.
(Forgive me. I might be harboring a bit of anger and teenage indignation. But you’ll see.)
One Sunday afternoon during my freshman year of high school, Mom walked into the living room and told her children to get in the car because we were going to go take pictures in the bluebonnets. She told us to put on jeans and white t-shirts and get ready to go. My brother did as he was told because he was 8 and didn’t know better. My sister (a senior) and I started to calmly whine. Mom wouldn’t budge, so we went to change our clothes, muttering to each other about our dumb mother and her dumb picture and really aren’t bluebonnets dumb blah blah RIGHTEOUS TEENAGE INDIGNATION.
We loaded into the car and Mom drove us out to a field on the side of one of the highways outside of our small town. It was lovely, the field covered with bluebonnets. Ceci and I relaxed, thinking it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
So we get out of the car and Mom pulls out a grocery bag containing BANDANAS and COWBOY HATS and MY LOST DIGNITY. Ceci and I looked at each other and our calm whining turned into frantic protests of humiliation because THINGS JUST GOT SERIOUS. Mom wouldn’t budge, y’all. She insisted we sit in the effin’ bluebonnets with our stupid effin’ cowboy hats and bandanas. And she was the Mom and the Mom is the boss and we had no choice. So we sat. And glared. And told ourselves to get through it and it would all be over soon.
As we were arranging ourselves (and our poor dalmatian Dottie) in the field of flowers, a truck drove by. A very familiar truck. A very familiar red truck with a very familiar black stripe, belonging to one very familiar boy. That boy was Alan Crotts and I just so happened to be in starstruck, 15-year-old freshman girl crushin’ on the junior, omigod-he’s-so-cute, love with him. (He also happened to be in love with my sister but that’s neither here nor there.)
I started to die a little inside. I pleaded with the gods of teenage love to let him not notice us, to just drive by and look the other way.
He slowed down.
I died a little more. And tried to hide behind the dog.
As he slowed his ride and drove by, he hollered, “Lookin’ good, ladies!! Yeehaw!”
I died forever.
That was the moment my mother became my arch nemesis. She thinks it was normal teenage girl angst that caused my sullen attitude and pseudo-goth phase of the next year. It was not. I would have been a sunshine-y Mary freaking Poppins throughout high school had it not been for this moment of sheer humiliation. Take that, MOM.
I had two choices. I could either react maturely, grin at the at-that-moment love of my life, and ham it up for the camera OR I could react like a normal teenage girl with a crush.
I chose the latter. And cried.
I wish I had these pictures to show you. But I’m just not one to post old pictures and humiliate myself on my blog.
Wait, what? Oh right. I do do that. Crap. Fine.
Please to notice the tears in my eyes and my tragic smile because Mom was yelling at me, “Alida Diane you WILL smile for this picture!” She middle-named me and I’ve never been much of a badass, so I had to listen.
Please also feel sorry for me right now. A lot. It was very emotionally difficult retelling this story, bringing up old feelings of shame and mortification. But it had to be retold. Because this can’t happen to other girls. So the state of Texas needs to put an age limit on bluebonnet pictures. Or at least require the signed consent of all involved.
Feel free to write my mother a letter in the comments, telling her that she is the worst. Because what the hell, Mom? I mean really. What the hell?