She was thrilled. They were thrilled.
They stopped at a roadhouse every night. She couldn’t pass a table of strangers without stopping to mug and to flirt. Nobody knew where she was going with that.
When she was older they often went to a Best Western with an indoor pool. Her parents used tricks and games to encourage her, until finally she dog-paddled across its width.
Even though her bike was little-girl pink, it bullied her. She balked every time her folks told her to get up and try again. Then one day she pedaled down the gravel alley on the side of the house.
When she passed her driver’s test she rewarded her father with a smile he had never seen before, and when she chose a freshman dormitory she and her mother hauled stuff up the service elevator.
Her parents had helped her all along the way.
Then one night the young woman stepped onto a stage as a standup comic — beginners were welcome, performers outnumbered the audience. She made a point of inviting her parents.
An alarming thought came to her as she was being introduced. Her parents hadn’t grown up with the bedroom and bathroom humor of cable TV. They might not be comfortable with the material her generation demanded.
She took the mic, looked at the two of them, and then she froze.
Since that night there has been an understanding that she might invite them back to see her perform again one day. It’s also possible she might not.