My boys like to have certain activities with me, often not inviting each other so it is just time for me with one or the other as well as the times when they reluctantly agree to let the other one join.
I treasure time with my kids for I understand it is fleeting - before long, they will be just like we all were, teenagers with their own plans and then on to college morphing into planned visits. So I will watch some crazy movie with superheroes and pick my favorite ones, Batman and Iron Man of course (hot guys with billions who want to save the world .. duh), and partake in the debates that follow about who would beat whom. I have played paddle ball at the beach more times than I can remember, swam and played tag in the ocean even at 49 and generally can be persuaded into their games except for video games. I hung up my video games when it no longer required either quarters or playing tennis with a square ball was the bomb when it came out. My skills though quite impressive were in the realm of Pac-Man, QBert and Centipede/Space Invaders/Tetris not these realistic things that they play. I have no patience to match my lack of skill on this front. However, a good board game and I am in.
One of the things we do is we find series to watch together. It started when they were little and we watched a lot of Backyardigans, Jack's Big Music Show, Noddy, Calliou (which I found strange), Little Bear and Kipper. They were not Thomas the Tank fans. These were all cute and bearable. We moved on to Scooby Doo (the newer ones) and enjoyed the mystery, all 3 of us. It was hard to find the next thing though we kept trying. I either gave up or they did. These days my younger son seems enthralled with some of the tamer Brit detective stories like Death in Paradise so we watch those together. My older son was partial to Luther and is trying to make a case for the Wire, think he should be at least 14 for that one so we have a couple of years to go.
We just found a new show on Netflix - Stranger Things. Now it appeals to me because it is 1984, ahh such a good year, details are awesome. It takes me back and the soundtrack is great. It is a good mystery and the child actors are truly outstanding. Matthew Modine and Wynona Rider - seriously traveled back in time right there. It appeals to the kids because it is creepy and has a sci fi undertone.
In a recent episode there were a few scenes about that first real (not the one you held hands with and kissed only at spin the bottle parties) boyfriend, you know especially for the girl who isn't the most popular but just popular enough. There was that first kiss, slightly awkward and tenative until it wasn't (ok that happens with every first kiss even later and if you are lucky with some people every time you get to kiss them - wowza, sigh you know what I mean).
There were the moments where no one but like your closest friend knew you made out, once ok twice ok ok three times. Where you debated how far to let him go each time, the horror of people finding out and being their usual mean judgmental selves battling with wanting people to know the super cute boy picked you. There was the moment when you were kissing and you could literally feel how much he wanted to go further and you just weren't ready or weren't sure what to be ready for (bathroom talk, movies, some ed in school and of course everyone told you but it still was all fable for you). You knew you liked it but was that good or bad as a girl? The pressures even in 1984 were to like it but not enough that he thought you really liked it. Oh for fuck's sake it was all so complicated and delicious. That thrill when you saw him and the kissing, man that could go on for hours. That first time you took off your shirt, shyly getting a little bolder, your bra in 1984 was either pink, beige or more likely white, cotton not a thing of beauty I might add. Yet there you were wondering if you should make eye contact or if his eyes were going to lift to make eye contact. That first time when you felt his hesitation and then the power that touch had on both of you. It was amazing those firsts - probably many times better, from what I know and hear, than the first time for sex (which was often fast, uncomfortable and frankly while you may have been thinking about what you should be enjoying it was done and he had that goofy grin on -- what was all the hoopla about is what most of us thought). Those other firsts are great memories, I can see the growing facial hair of the boy(s) that these moments happened with and I was thrilled because mostly I was funny and boys liked me but many liked me only as a friend.
So in my things I share with my boys I am sharing this show and it is leading to some good conversations on a variety of topics with my boys. The older son is also wondering as he heads into that first zone about so many things I think we all wondered about, I did not talk to my mom as openly, and his curiosity reminds me of why I started watching these shows with them to begin with. It is to have the time together, to talk, to make memories and to be there for them before they go on to adventures that I hope are amazing as their "firsts".