I'm learning that 'watching TV' is a love language for my kids.
I get this because I grew up with a brother who felt just the same way: Experience this with me.
Back in the day before DVR, one had to watch the clock and be ready with drinks and snacks before the opening credits. And I remember Rob saying, "Seinfeld begins in 3 minutes. Be on the couch when it starts. It starts in 2 minutes. Come on! If you're not here at the beginning, then you'll miss the whole point. Sit down - hurry!"
It's about the experience. Shared.
The boys and I have started watching The Voice together. "Mommy, are you going to read? You mean, you're going to sit here with us? Right here with us? You're going to watch??"
I'm going to watch. And I see now how much it matters to you when I close my book and engage in your world.
It's a rare privilege to watch Prime Time TV with my kids, and there's only one glitch: commercials. When we're watching live, I keep the 'previous' button on the remote prepped to switch to Nickelodeon at a second's notice, as soon as we see a glimpse of TV previews involving gunfire, wildfire, or people with little clothes on.
When it's recorded, then usually I'm golden. Except for just once.
I was fastforwarding to the next set, and somehow I paused at a most awkward spot: a woman's torso spread across our screen, in her bra and lacy underthings. Thank you, Victoria's Secret.
I decided to be silly about it, since they hadn't asked to see it and I didn't want to linger, and nobody deserved a lecture in this moment. In my silly cartoonish voice (that you'll likely never hear), I said, "Woah! What's this! Put those away!"
My son smiled at my silliness, because it always makes him smile, and then he said, "Mommy, she signed up for it. It's okay if we look at it. She doesn't mind."
Oh, my love. My heart groaned.
Next lessons on the list: just because she's giving it away doesn't mean it's free. And, some women didn't make the choice to give it away; someone larger, stronger, and richer made the decision for her.
The dignity is still yours to give. And keep. And own and claim. And take with you to sleep at night.