I'm not a fan of TV. I watch exactly two shows with regularity. A cable news program and DWTS. Occasionally the Big Bang Theory, but that's sort of like a look into my life with different geeky friends. ;-) The kids occasionally watch The Amazing Race. That's it. We don't watch TV in this house with any regularity. No time. No need.
I'm not the biggest loyalist in the family to DWTS, either, despite my love of ballroom dancing. I'd never choose to watch a TV show over doing just about anything else. I'm not even sure why I have more than one TV! It's my youngest son who looks forward to the show and nags me until I join him on the couch! Then my older son appears and inches closer to us until he is somehow touching me, if not sitting practically in my lap, vying for attention and yes, maybe even affection!
Every Monday and Tuesday evening for the past several weeks, we have returned to our piling onto the couch to watch the two DWTS shows. It's like we used to do what seems like so long ago. It's not as much about the entertainment for me as it is about the opportunity to share snuggle time with my boys. At times, they sandwich me on the couch. Yes. They touch me. Their mother! They sit RIGHT NEXT TO ME! They laugh and giggle and tickle and poke. They steal my blanket. Signs of affection in that 'too old to blatantly express my affection for you but still need it can't admit it' sort of teen boy way from my eldest. My youngest still snuggles and proclaims his love frequently. :-)
It's made me realize how much I miss how we used to have this time. It got lost the past few years with the busy-ness of school and soccer and simply not making the time to spend time together. As much as I hate to use TV as a way to bring a family together (dinners, games, activities are preferable) this one show has been able to bring us back to roots in a way. It's helped to bridge a gap. It fosters communication, silliness and laughter. The spoof political ads were hysterical tonight. The actual political ads were good conversation starters. They were engaged. With me. Their mother! Can you imagine?!
It's given me hope that my 14 year old is still in there. Under the teen angst, volatile emotional outbursts and general defiance and attitude is my sweet, loving and funny boy. Yes, a boy. I see him, at least on DWTS nights. A boy who still needs and wants his mama's affection but is unsure how to get it without losing his 'cool' status. Yeah, I realize the sexy and provocative female costumes are also a likely draw for him. For my younger son, it's probably the sexy guys... Still, for this mama, I'm thrilled to have my boys have an interest in being with and sharing things with me.
It has helped me to realize how important finding a uniting 'cause' is. It doesn't need to be a TV program, but it does provide so many opportunities for teachable moments and quality family time. Something to draw us together, we can all enjoy. It's not about something for me they have to do or about them that I have to do. It's about something we can do together. Seizing those opportunities is a different story, but it's there for the taking. They are driving the cause. I'm all for it.
Really, it's the little things. To have my 14 year old son voluntarily put his head on my knee, even for a second, almost made me cry. Or the head bumps on my shoulders, which is close to a hug as he gets these days. He's grown up so fast. He's not my sweet little tow-headed boy anymore. He's a young man and will soon prefer to put his head in some other woman's lap (La la la la la la, I can't hear you). I want them to always be open and affectionate with me. I want them to share. I wasn't sure how to cultivate that. It reminds me of how we used to snuggle all up together for story time when they were much younger or watch PBS shows together.
Maybe, just maybe, family TV night is the way to go. Thanks, Tom Bergeron and DWTS. You've brought us back together in a way. Helped us to re-connect as a family.
Paying for basic cable is worth it after all.