This past Friday night was our local Father Daughter dance hosted by the Girl Scouts. For one evening, these dads get their daughters all to themselves, watching them spin and twirl and celebrate life as only little girls can. And, I imagine, they have the opportunity to hold them close for a dance or two, perhaps appreciating the fact that the lights of their lives are shining brightly – still far below eye level – still having to look up to Dad in more ways than one. I know this to be true because we are lucky enough to be neighbors with Pulitzer prize winning photographer, David Swanson, who captured this evening he spent with his daughter and many of my amazing neighbors in this video which makes my heart sing:
It was a lovely event all around – but only for a lucky few. I am relegated to watching it on video. You see I wasn’t invited. I never will be. And it’s kinda not fair.
Wait. What’s that you say? Of course I wasn’t invited because I am not a “father? ” Or that my children weren’t invited because they aren’t, um, “daughters?” Well…yes. I realize that. But I think you are missing the point, which I only discovered while coveting this particular community event. Did you ever notice that every parent /child relationship has a multitude of opportunities for bonding and connecting except one? MoB readers, allow me to present to you the world’s most misunderstood and persecuted familial relationship of all time:
Mother and Son.
Think about it. Mothers and daughters live in a world of opportunity to spend quality time together, if they so choose. There are organized events for sure, but also chances to bond around mutually enjoyed activities. I still love joining my Mom for shopping, mani-pedis, tea, and good ole girl talk. Be it good or bad, the mother/daughter relationship is an intense one and perhaps the most enduring.
On the flip side, fathers and sons tend to gravitate together for like-minded plans as well. Dave and the boys left me alone for the entire day on Saturday to go “paintballing” in the Poconos. They returned with matching welts all over their bodies which they say came from the paint pellets but I have sneaking suspicion it was some sort of male ritual. Needless to say, I was not invited. Also needless to say, I was glad. Boys will be boys. Happy together.
And then we have the father/daughter activities such as the girl scout dances, or Indian Princesses, or coaching their soccer/softball/basketball teams. Society looks on the father/daughter relationship as perhaps the most righteous and benevolent. We cheer for the women who still look up to their dads as their protectors, no matter how old they are. And it is certainly viewed as an appropriate rite of passage for any suitor to win over “the father” before marrying a daughter.
All of these relationships are heralded and cherished. But the mother/son relationship? Not so much. Imagine an older boy or (worse) a grown man who checks in with his mother on a daily basis? Would he be viewed favorably? How about the mother who is incredibly close with her son over the age of 12? Or one who needs to be “won over” by a potential wife? Can you say chick repellent?
The bond between mothers and sons is tolerated, but not really celebrated. Ever. There is a universal acceptance that little boys need their mothers for a finite number of years, but at some point that strong relationship becomes creepy. One moment you are tying their shoes and before you know it, there is this unspoken pressure to cut the apron strings despite the fact that as mothers, we feel forever tethered to our boys. This needs to change.
I think there is an opportunity to start at the very beginning, with more organized events for moms and sons, and go from there. The father daughter dance works because little girls love to dance and the dads who don’t can fake it. So we need to come up with an activity that boys love to do – and the mom’s who don’t can fake it. In a short time span, I have come up with:
Mother/Son Xbox Marathon with Mojitos and Dr. Peppers
Mother/Son Water Park Extravaganza with Pools Heated to 89 Degrees
Mother/Son Henna Tattoo Afternoon and Ice Cream Social
Mother/Son Fishing Trip and Sushi Dinner
Mother/Son Camping with Nearby Hotel Option (you know, in the event of in the event of rain..or bugs)
So… all you mothers and sons out there… any of these events sound appealing? Committees are now organizing, so sign up! And if none of these work for you, we can always host the first ever mother/son dance because while society frowns on us getting too close to our boys, it delights in us mortifying them. And I’ve got the moves like Jagger.
Who’s in? Noah and Chase are you with me? Boys? Anyone?