Tag Archives: parenting

It’s As If I Don’t Recall

Is fandom dead?

Well, maybe not dead…but different from when I was a kid? Last night, as I was cooking dinner, I skipped around the channels on the television, looking for something to…well, completely distract me from the task at hand. (I still hate cooking) As I scrolled along, I saw that Breaking Dawn, Part 1 & 2 were on Freeform channel.

Now, while you chuckle at that disastrous movie series, for me, they bring back memories of trading Twilight books with my oldest, talking and giggling over Edward and Bella, Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, and going to see the movies on the first night of their release. These were the books my oldest grew up with (she wasn’t a huge Harry Potter fan), and she came upon them right around the same age I was when I found Duran Duran.

I can remember the first time Heather asked me if she could read Twilight. I was skeptical because the content seemed a bit mature for her, but agreed, as long as I read the books first. She didn’t love that she’d have to wait for me to read and absorb the content before I passed them on to her, but luckily for Heather – I was a super quick reader, finishing the first book in a matter of hours, not days. Sure, it was a little mature, but I was able to use the subject matter as a way to broach issues that I knew would be eventually on the horizon. Say what you will about the content, the writing, or even the implications of controlling relationships as described in the novels – for us, Twilight was a bonding experience that I will always appreciate.

For one, I understood what it meant to be a fan. Lifelong Duranie, right? I not only understood, but encouraged Heather to enjoy the ride. I jumped on the merchandise train, buying her posters, t-shirts, books, and anything else that seemed worthy. Her bedroom started to look a little like mine had in the 80s, sans the big, bold colors and Nick Rhodes eyeliner. For another, it was the last chance I really had to bond with Heather before the teen years began in earnest. Those moments mattered.

I remember going to see the first movie on opening night. We stood in line with a gaggle of other girls her age, parents in tow. The other moms peered at one another over the heads of the excited throng of pre-teens, commiserating and smiling ruefully as we listened to their chatter. Once we were seated in the crowded theater, a security guard actually came down to the front, and stood on the small stage in front of the screen, while he explained to the kids that they absolutely needed to stay in their seats, and there was to be no screaming.

Let me reiterate: the kids weren’t supposed to scream…in delight, mind you…at a screen. It wasn’t even as though the actual celebrities were in our theater. No, kids were screaming at a movie screen as though they were at a rock concert. I was thoroughly amused.

Sadly, it all ended as quickly as it began. By the time Breaking Dawn part 2 was out, Heather hardly seemed interested in going. I talked her into it purely because it was the final movie – the others had turned out so dismal that she said it was difficult be excited. I understood the disappointment, but told her we owed it to ourselves to see it through anyway. Not long after the movie, Heather took down her posters and grew out of her t-shirts. We didn’t talk too much about Twilight after that, until last night when I turned to her and suggested watching.

To my utter disappointment, Heather wasn’t interested. “Nahh….” she said, as she headed into the office with her boyfriend.

“What? Really??” I marveled out loud. “You don’t want to watch with me? Oh, come on…it’d be like old times!”

Heather laughed. “No thanks, Mom. Those movies were the worst!” She walked into the office, sliding the door shut behind her. I sighed heavily. Out of sympathy, my husband decided to sit with me and watch. Not quite the same, but better than being alone!

We watched both parts to Breaking Dawn on my own, enjoying each one despite marveling at how awful the acting and special effects were (Part 2 is still the best one out of all the Twilight movies, though). I also reflected back on how, for a very short time, I saw how much fun fandom could be for a young pre-teen. That period of parenting was a gift for me, softening me for some tougher times ahead.

Reflecting a bit more today, I can’t help but wonder if fandom is just different now altogether. None of my kids ever got into something with the same sort of gusto I did with Duran Duran, and definitely not music. Both of my girls have had their favorite book series, and Gavin was a huge Starcraft II fan (and player) for quite a while, but nothing like the lifelong, hardcore fandom I have in Duran Duran.

I think they missed out, actually!

-R

Before We Write the End: New Territory

Today, I am charting new territory. It is the first full day I’m here at home with only one child. I won’t lie, there have been various moments over the years that I’ve fantasized about how it would be with just one. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that it has been 19 years since I have only had one child, since my kids are so far apart in age. The first two are only 2 and a half years apart, but the youngest came along about nine years later. Yes, I’m aware that had we stopped at two, I’d be an empty nester right now. I’m so glad we didn’t. I’m not ready.

I recognize that this has nothing to do with Duran Duran as far as you’re concerned. The funny thing is that for me, it does. When we first began writing about Paper Gods, I was moving my oldest to college. I distinctly remember that the day we moved Heather to the dorms. It was a very hard day for me, I remember driving home alone, and crying in the car on the way. I knew my life as a mom would change after that, and it did. I’m still learning where the line is drawn, so to speak. It is very hard to be unceremoniously made redundant, which is kind of what happens when your children leave the nest. I will forever equate the release of Paper Gods with that moment in time.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to pack Gavin up for his move to UC Riverside, right as the Paper Gods tour has wound to a close. I half-paid attention to the band’s last dates in Japan, getting confused as to where they were and when.  Sunday morning arrived here, and I saw a tweet from Dom saying he was back home in London. The finality of it all hit me, particularly since yesterday was our move-in day. We packed up the bins that we’d used for Gavin’s things, and drove him out to his new home away from home.

His move was FAR easier than Heather’s. We were done with his room in less than an hour, and none of us felt like we were going to collapse from heat exhaustion. (props to the air conditioning in the dorms at UCR!)  Unlike my oldest, after he dutifully went to lunch with us and we came back to his room, he was ready for us to go. No tears, no anxiety. He hugged us all and sent us on our way, with no mention of how he wouldn’t see us again until November at the earliest. Gavin was never much for socializing, but not hearing movement upstairs from him is strange, and late November feels like a very long time from now.

We piled into the truck and headed for home. I thought about how weird it is that now I’ll probably always remember that the Paper Gods era ended with Gavin’s move to college. I also thought about how I really hoped I prepared my son for this new territory, and how once again, I’m also in uncharted land myself.

My house is quiet. I can’t hear Gavin in his bedroom. I don’t hear the clicks from his typing on the mechanical keyboard he loves so much. I don’t hear him talking on the professional microphone he uses for his video streams, and I don’t hear his chair banging into his desk. I also don’t see his dishes piled in my kitchen sink or his clothes waiting to be washed this morning. I have one child at home now, who is both looking forward to being the only child for a while, and missing her brother and sister. It’s all new territory for her, too.

The internet is quiet too. The band is probably readjusting back into whatever lives they lead when they’re not rockstars on stage. I don’t know when we’ll hear from them again, although there’s plenty of “real life” going on to fill my twitter timeline, that is for sure. Even so, there’s that feeling of uncertainty that comes with the end of the tour and album cycle. I know they’ve got some sort of idea of where they’re headed, but it will be months, if not years, before the fans have any sort of clue. It’s new territory for all of us.

-R