I recently asked my fourteen year old daughter what her favorite fandom was. After much agonizing, she finally blurted out “Transformers!” I’m pretty proud to say that I introduced her to that one. My brother sent me the first movie several years ago, because we had watched the cartoon together when we were little. Family bonding at its finest.
What I expected her to say was “Sherlock” or “Supernatural.” Those are her big ones, lately. I love to give her grief about Sherlock. Every time I ask her if she’s sure that Sherlock and Watson don’t have a thing for each other, she rolls her eyes at me. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the love is just one sided. I’m fairly certain that Watson is head over heels in love with Sherlock. If BBC ever gets around to making more episodes, we’ll find out for sure.
I have no shame in saying that I’ve used my daughter’s intense love for her fandoms as bonding moments. We had a rough patch there, for awhile, as most mothers of teen girls can attest to. The ages between twelve and fourteen are rough on a teenage girl, and her mother, too. It makes for lots of arguing, button pushing, and boundary exploring. It’s how it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t make it any easier on either of us.
She’s been talking about Sherlock for as long as I can remember. I think it was the first show she ever binge watched on Netflix. When BBC aired the completed seasons over several weeks awhile back, she asked me to watch with her. Without hesitation, I said yes. It gave me some insight into something that she loved, and that helped me to form a much needed bond with her. My teasing about the (unverified) ‘ship between Sherlock and Watson gives us a bit of a laugh.
Recently, she’s asked me to start watching Supernatural with her. It’s been a pretty busy time lately, but I’m anxious for cold winter weekends when all the chores are done and we have time to sit down and watch a few episodes together. It will be a time for us to hang out, together, with no siblings, no phones, and no interruptions. Just some time for us, and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it.
So what do you do when your teen is obsessed with a TV show, comic book, or movie series? Roll with it. Seriously. Did you ever geek out about something? I watched all of the Star Wars movies. I even had the commemorative ticket for Return of the Jedi. I love them dearly, even those awful prequels. My husband has watched every Star Trek ever made, and can quote from episodes by name. It’s no surprise to us that our kids ended up with passionate feelings for their own fandoms. We were geeks, too.
So today, we relish the fandoms, even if they’re new to us. My daughter went through a phase where she loved anime. I had never even read manga until she asked for some for Christmas. I read the entire Twilight series, because my oldest enjoyed it, and I introduced her to Anne Rice’s real vampires when she got a little older. I still remember my oldest son’s excitement at seeing his first Star Wars movie in the theatre. He was so excited he couldn’t contain himself. He carried a lightsaber everywhere, and even had a Jedi mullet there for awhile. Hey. He was four. Back off. Today, he’s more into cars than Star Wars, but I have great memories of reading the opening crawl from every Star Wars movie to him every time he watched one.
These fandoms have given me insight and a way to connect with my children. Even if I end up not really liking Supernatural, I’ll watch every episode simply for the opportunity to hang out with my daughter. Being involved in your kid’s fandoms isn’t about the fandom, although it’s great if you love it to. It’s about participating in something your kid loves, just so you have the chance to have a few more moments with them.
I know how precious this time is. My oldest daughter is grown and married. My oldest son graduates this year and plans to move halfway across the country. I have a few more years left with my Transformers-loving daughter, and if I get to spend them watching Supernatural with her, I’ll consider it time well spent. Just give me some time to read the Wiki first, so I don’t look like an idiot when we talk about it together!