October 2017 archive

Dear Darling, I Need a Big Favor

Dear Dar­ling,

You are my only girl and it is my respon­si­bil­i­ty as your moth­er to talk to you about impor­tant things. From the time I was a lit­tle girl, I’ve dreamed of being a mom and hav­ing the­se con­ver­sa­tions. One day we’ll pine over Pin­ter­est Boards as we plan your dream wed­ding. I look for­ward to see­ing your face when you find the per­fect prom dress. I’m even train­ing myself to be pre­pared when you have your first peri­od, but let’s not get ahead of our­selves, here. I have big dreams for you, my beau­ti­ful girl. I want you to be strong and smart and hap­py. I want you to fight for what you believe in and nev­er let any­one tell you that you can’t do some­thing. I want you to wear the bright­est red lip­stick you can find and blow kiss­es at the haters. But right now more than any­thing, my dar­ling, I need you to fall in love with a boy band. And I need you to do it quick­ly so that I can start stash­ing away mem­o­ra­bil­ia for your midlife cri­sis.

If you’re any­thing like me, you’re going to have all kinds of cocka­mamie ideas through­out your ado­les­cence. You’ll have an inven­tion idea that you’ll want to send to Shark Tank. You’ll prob­a­bly have a self-image cri­sis and decide to have a throw back fash­ion iden­ti­ty and will hope I saved some­thing from the 90s. You are going to think that I am crazy and embar­rass­ing and the most uncool mom in the world. The­se things, I will prob­a­bly not love, but boy band obses­sion, this is one phase that I will get behind. You see, my dear, it is inevitable that you will fall down this par­tic­u­lar rab­bit hole. You come from a long lin­eage of wom­en who have fal­l­en in love with a musi­cian. I had my boy band, your grand­moth­er had The Beat­les and your great grand­moth­er had her ever­last­ing love, Lib­er­ace. Per­haps that last pick was a bit mis­guid­ed, but I digress. I promise, to give you my whole heart, and bank account, when you decide on the one that will be yours forever.

I solemn­ly swear to emo­tion­al­ly and finan­cial­ly sup­port this habit. I will donate my 401k for shirts, pins, but­tons and a Fat Head for your wall. I will buy all of the iTunes gift cards so that you can pre-order albums and instant­ly down­load sin­gles. I will even sub­scribe to the YouTube chan­nel so that you can watch the same videos over and over and over again. I com­mit to buy­ing mag­a­zi­nes, I’m not sure if they still make mag­a­zi­nes, but if they do, they’re yours. As time goes on you will begin plan­ning your wed­ding, com­ing up with baby names and decide whose fam­i­ly to spend Christ­mas with. The dev­as­ta­tion that will come when you see him on TMZ with his new gal pal will be pal­pa­ble. That day, we will cry togeth­er and eat crap­py food and talk about how much bet­ter you would be for him. Once our sob ses­sion is over, I will help you to erad­i­cate any mem­o­ry of that low life from your mind. Togeth­er we will pack up your col­lec­tion and ready it for trash day. But here’s where I am going to go rogue. I’m not real­ly going to throw away any­thing. Nope, I’m going to pack it in a box in the base­ment and hide it among Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and baby clothes that no else even know exist. Trust me, one day when you are yearn­ing for your youth and an escape from the pres­sures of adult­hood, you are going to want the­se things.

You see, my own life has recent­ly come full cir­cle and I’ve real­ized how impor­tant my mother’s sup­port of my fan girl dreams was. In 1989 I fell in love with five boys from Boston. It was more than just a crush, it was an obses­sion. The New Kids on the Block posters cov­ered my walls. My boom box con­stant­ly played their tapes-I’ll take you to the Smith­so­ni­an some­day and you’ll see what I’m talk­ing about. I wore t-shirts and giant but­tons and I was sure that one day I would mar­ry Don­nie Wahlberg and live hap­pi­ly ever after. Well, your father’s name isn’t Don­nie, your uncle isn’t Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch are nowhere to be found. I am not; how­ev­er, dis­ap­point­ed. The fact that I nev­er mar­ried a boy ban­der means that I can still hang on to a bit of my child­hood fan­ta­sy.

This past sum­mer, I pulled out my Hang­in’ Tough t-shirt, it still fits which says a whole lot about how we were wear­ing our clothes in the 80’s, and head­ed out to see NKOTB, their more mature moniker, in con­cert. I walked into a venue that seats 20,000 and saw that many wom­en who are exact­ly like me. The­se wom­an are the ones who are sud­den­ly find­ing chin hairs that pop up two inch­es long overnight. The­se same wom­en have given birth to babies and are won­der­ing how did we all get here and why is time mov­ing so fast? Long ago the­se wom­en had crimped hair and frost­ed eye shad­ow and sobbed uncon­trol­lably when five boys hit the stage. The­se wom­en are my peo­ple. We are all the same. We’ve hid­den our sev­en­th-grade year­book in hopes that our hus­bands will nev­er dis­cov­er the old us. We have worn breast pads that slipped and sprung a leak in the mid­dle of the gro­cery store. We have had bad job inter­views and ter­ri­ble rela­tion­ships. We have lived par­al­lel lives and grown up togeth­er, although most of us have nev­er met.

We gath­ered togeth­er, almost 30 years lat­er, and soaked up every min­ute. We didn’t want to hear new songs. We didn’t want to see new dances. We want­ed Step by Step with all five steps, all five boys and seam­less chore­og­ra­phy accom­pa­nied by pyrotech­nic mag­ic. And that’s just what we received. The­se guys know exact­ly what they are doing. Being able to watch 40-some­thing men sing the same songs and per­form the same moves three decades lat­er is noth­ing short of mag­ic. They came back just as their fans are com­ing of age. We are get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing kids and start­ing to feel old. We are dis­con­nect­ed from our youth and this has brought us back. If only for one night, we were those same cry­ing girls with black hats and over­alls that could take on the world.

And guess what? We did take on the world. We are moms and daugh­ters and friends and doc­tors and lawyers and CEOs and teach­ers and wait­ress­es and mechan­ics and what­ev­er else we ever want­ed to be. We all start­ed as young girls and have grown into wom­en stitched togeth­er by a com­mon thread. And I wouldn’t change one bit of that. I want that same kind of hap­pi­ness for you, my sweet girl. In 30 years, you will be liv­ing a grown up life filled with pres­sure and chal­lenge and frus­tra­tion and you will need an escape from real­i­ty, too. When the time comes, you will open the box that I have saved for all of those years and the mem­o­ries will flood back. You will feel a pit in your stom­ach for what was, but flut­ters in your heart in antic­i­pa­tion of the reunion tour. You will belt out your favorite tunes, dance the famil­iar moves and swoon at their old­er, yet, sex­ier bod­ies. It will be worth every one of the hun­dreds of dol­lars you paid for the tick­et. Trust me, if you allow your­self to get away from dia­pers and dead­li­nes and sleep depri­va­tion and you self­ish­ly indul­ge in one night with 20,000 wom­an in your tribe, you’ve got the right stuff!