First, I cannot write a blog post about internet memes without a shout-out to my awesome friend and fellow writer, Rachel in the OC. She has been diligently educating the world on the proper pronunciation of the word “meme,” even going to great lengths and vodka-infused research on how it should be pronounced due to its Greek roots. I think the vodka might have extended the diligence and the research, but don’t tell her I said that.

So there we were, minding our own business at a cross country meet. Hundreds of high school girls with their hair in the requisite bouncy ponytails were lined up to run three miles on this really grueling, muddy, yucky course, our daughter included. Wait, I have to back up.

I have to tell you about last week’s cross country meet. Why yes, as a matter of fact, society screws over every single Saturday of your life when your child is good at sports. I digress. LAST WEEK, unbeknownst to us, our daughter stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle during the warm-up. Every time we saw her during the three-mile race, she was crying and on the brink of outright sobbing. Even for someone who was injured, it was a little bit embarrassing, mostly because we could feel the ugly stares from other parents and hear their whispers: “Those monsters shouldn’t make her do this, what kind of parents make a child cry???” Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, some of those ugly comments came from my own husband.

*IN MY DEFENSE: There were lots of girls crying during this race. Apparently, it’s just a thing they do. And none of them had seen that great baseball movie where the guy yells in her face, “There’s no crying in baseball!”

Back to yesterday’s race. I had prepared my daughter all week for the fact that it’s really not okay to cry while running, even if you’re injured. We worked out a strategy to hold back the tears: total bribery. If she made it through the race in good spirits and got close to her goal time, I would buy her these boots she’s wanted for weeks. Go ahead, judge me, then ask me if I care.

So the first time she passed us yesterday, she wasn’t exactly crying but she wasn’t looking like she was having fun. And despite the other people around us quietly applauding like this was a golf tournament, I began screaming, “BOOTS! BOOTS! BOOTS!” I’m sure the other parents thought I had entered Dora’s pet monkey in this race.

Our running child perked up a little bit when she saw us because how do you not crack a smile when a middle aged woman is screaming, “BOOOOOOOTS!” for no reason? Then I began screaming, “SMILE! You’ve got to SMILE! THIS IS FUN! WOOOOOOOOOO!” That brought on a full-fledged tooth smile for only one second before she recovered and said: (drum roll)

“I can’t smile, I’m Kristen Stewart!”

It was the proudest moment of my life. My twelve-year-old isn’t allowed to play on the internet and she’s never seen any movie starring Kristen Stewart (except for that kids’ movie she made about a board game that sent the whole family into outer space). But yet, somehow, she just knew.

Sadly, my daughter didn’t make her goal time but she did such an awesome job that I told her she could have the boots anyway. Then even more sadly, we went straight to the mall to get the boots she has dreamed about for two weeks, but they look like hooker boots and I had to tell her no. She’s getting a pair of jeans instead. Unless they look like hooker jeans.

The boots looked a lot like this. You’d better be able to run really fast if you think you can pull those off in public.

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