Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Moments… Embarrassing and Otherwise with Shawna Romkey

Today's post if from Shawna Romkey, author of Speak of the Devil and The Devil Made Me Do It. Click here for more information on Shawna and her books.

My most embarrassing holiday moment… I have two actually. One happened when I was 16 and since this is a YA blog, this story will be appropriate.

When I was 16 I used to babysit for a single mother. I was at her house babysitting and the two kids had gone to bed. It was around the holidays and a tree was up. And I did what a lot of 16-year-old babysitters did when the kids went to sleep. I had my boyfriend come over.

We turned out all the lights except for the ones on the tree, and… well made out.

I don’t think this story is going where you think it is. First bit of info I left out that may seem non-important is that I had braces. The second bit is that so did he.

It’s not an urban myth. You can get stuck when making out if you both have braces. And if and when that happens, it’s embarrassing as hell and difficult to not only extricate yourself from your boyfriend, but to extricate yourself from the embarrassment.

Luckily it didn’t last long, but the embarrassing memory has lasted almost thirty years. Geez, am I really that old???
My second embarrassing moment happened when I was teaching high school and the staff did a Secret Santa thing. I got one of the coaches at the high school. I didn’t think much of it. I was always busy and I rush everything just to get it done. I’d forget to wrap my Santa gifts, so I’d always take the bag from the stuff I got and stick the present for the coach in the same bag and send it off. I got great little daily presents all wrapped nicely. Mine were an afterthought, thrown into the re-gifted bag.

On the big finale day, I opened my present which was a University of Kansas sweatshirt (my alma mater) AND an autographed photo of KU basketball coach (at the time) Roy Williams. I’m a huge Jayhawk fan, so that was amazing and thoughtful and awesome! As I taught in mid-Missouri, Jayhawk fans were hard to come by and it was extremely thoughtful that my Secret Santa went to the trouble to do that.

I’d gotten my person a mix tin of flavored popcorn with the Coca-Cola logo and the bears on it. It cost like $4.99.

Guess who my Secret Santa was? The coach. And guess who he’d worked for 15 years before going into teaching? Pepsi.

I’m too self-absorbed to be a good secret Santa.

My last story isn’t an embarrassing one. It’s my most touching holiday memory. I mean I have the first Christmas with my husband and the first with my son and all that, but this one meant a lot to me.

About fifteen years ago, I got divorced from my first husband. He was my high school best friend turned sweetheart, and it was the most painful thing I’d ever gone through. It was final in early December. I was teaching high school still and my students had asked me about Christmas decorating and what I had planned. I told them I wasn’t doing anything that year. It was just me and I wasn’t feeling the whole Christmas cheer vibe that year. I just wanted to get the holidays over with.

That weekend while I was sitting around moping, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find three of my students with a bag of decorations. They came in, set up my tree and decorated my house for me because they didn’t want me to be alone and without Christmas in my home. I still tear up when I think of it.

I have many memories of Christmas from the embarrassing to the touching. But these three stand out for me, and I’ll never forget them.



  1. Very funny—not that I'm laughing at you. I'm laughing with you.

    Also, my husband is a huge Kansas Jayhawk fan!

  2. HAHA!! Oh gosh...the braces thing is straight out of a movie. Funny!

  3. AWESOME stories! Loved them all. :) But I am so glad I never had the moment of braces get stuck for myself!

  4. The braces thing makes for a good story... years and years later.

  5. Great stories, and I love that your students made sure you had Christmas. How wonderful!

  6. Funny (and heartwarming) stories! :)

  7. Love the story about the kids decorating for you! Students are amazing in that way; they surprise you with the little stuff. :)