Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mom: the Anti-adventure

I have heard mothers more than once inveigh against fairy ( faerie?) tales because, inter alia, there are no mothers in them.

Satya's watching Finding Nemo this afternoon and (guess what?) Nemo's mother is killed in the first minute of the film. Is it time to join "mothers-against-mother-less-faerie-tales" (MAMLeFT).

I realized while drafting the MAMLeFT charter, that there is a very, very good reason Moms are out of the picture in stories like Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Nemo and even Star Wars. If Hansel and Gretel's mom were around, their little jaunts into the woods everyday while Dad was away would have been HISTORY! They would have been sitting at home learning their lessons and getting some discipline (as well as a well rounded lunch!). The same goes for Snow White, Nemo and Luke!

That's not to say we moms don't have adventure in our blood. But we know that trekking off on pirate ships, hunting down witches and playing games of Truth or Dare must wait until after homework and chores.

In fact, nearly all of my childhood adventures occurred away from the maternal lair. The one exception: a spontaneous trip I took with my mom to Graceland when I was a teenager. But that's different. Elvis loved his momma and my mom loved Elvis. It was her adventure. Her mom wasn't there, and I had just come along for the ride . . . and the pink Cadillac key chain. Elvis bought that pink Cadillac for his Momma, so I guess even she needed an escape.

Turn the idea of motherless faerie tales on its head and I like it even more. Mothers have to be out of the picture because we are ultimately stabilizing, safe and reliable. We are ever the calm and nurturing harbor, the nightmare conquerors, perhaps even the wizards with the age-old answers. We are not companions forging the wilds. We are the soft embrace of home. Wow, it all sounds so conservative and old fashioned! How about primordial?

How about it's 1 in the morning and stable, safe and cozy sounds much more appealing than pirate adventures in a pink Caddy.

photo credit William Eckerslike

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