Every year my gang and I head off to an annual summer picnic complete with BBQ and games. All the family favorites are there: three-legged race, egg toss, mother-daughter/father-son relay. There’s even a swim meet. It’s a great day out and everybody has a blast. But as I watched my three sons battle out to be paired with their dad for the father-son final, it occurred to me that while there are many parental pairings, the one you rarely see outside of Pride Week is mother-son. I’ve often wondered why not.
Mostly, I understand the gender divide. My mom and I have an annual trip to Miami where we lounge in the sun, eat, shop and talk. My man has an annual golf trip with his buddies where they golf in the sun, eat, drink and don’t talk. He can’t wait for our boys to get older so he can take them on a boys’ weekend camping trip. I can’t wait for them to get older so when they do go camping, I can hang with my girlfriends. I get it.
But what I don’t get is that while father-daughter bonding is accepted, and even promoted, the mother-son combo is seen in a whole different and much darker light. Did Oedipus ruin it for the rest of us?
Go to a wedding and more often than not, the father gives away the bride. Then hit the reception and look out for the father-daughter dance. Where’s the mom? There’s an old saying, ”A son is a son ’til he takes him a wife, a daughter’s a daughter for life.” But I don’t buy it. What about the years before said son moves out? Should I just ignore him? Or feed him, hand him over to his dad and be a spectator?
”Daddy’s Girls” are sweet and special. ”Mommy’s Girls” are cool and strong. But ”Mama’s Boys?” They’re considered sucky. But I say find a man that’s good to his mother and you’ll find a guy who’ll be good to you.
Boys and girls need to bond with their dads, but they need to bond with their moms too. And not just as babies. I took my oldest son on a trip to New York when he was six years old. It was just the two of us, and we had a blast. People marveled that we were on a mother-son trip, thought it was something so special because it was.
I’m already planning the same trip with my second son, getting those mother-son moments in there now so they become the norm. I appreciate that while we try to be an equal-opportunity household, my sons may not grown up wanting to get pedicures with their mothers. Then again, a girl can dream. But by the time my guys figure out that hanging with their parents is dorky, it’ll be both mom and pop who are uncool. And when they come back from the brink of hormonal hell, we’ll both be there. Oedipus be damned.
(Photo: George Doyle)