I love Disneyland. I just went on Saturday and I had so much fun. I love when the fireworks show begins and we see Tinkerbell flying through the sky full of grace, poise, and beauty. Tinkerbell has gotten pretty popular in recent years. It must be her sexy look and her feisty attitude. Somehow Wendy doesn’t have the same draw. She was mother of the Lost Boys. If you recall Peter also refers to her as his mother. And this got me thinking.
I went to lunch yesterday with some dear sweet women. All of whom were dumped by their husbands. All (including me) because their husbands decided they had found their Neverland. Something that called them away from real life. Something that made them believe they could fly. “Good thoughts” as Peter said.
Wendy went along with it for a while remember? She flew off to Neverland with Peter. But she never belonged there. No women do really. She kept trying to get those Lost Boys to be responsible and nice and to do the right thing. And it just kind of hit me that we as women often do that for and to our men. They act like boys and we take on the role of mother and tell them what they should be doing instead. And many times they are grateful for the direction because it relieves them from having to think about and be responsible for themselves. But many men begin to resent it.
Wendy eventually grew up. She became a real mother and when Peter returned he felt betrayed. He wanted her to want to stay right where he was. But she couldn’t. So he left her. She tries to convince him to grow up himself but in the book there is a line where Peter says,
“Keep back, lady, no one is going to catch me and make me a man.”
It’s not a mystery. We women get it. Many guys don’t want to grow up. They want to have fun. They are drawn to the Mermaids, but end up marrying the Wendys of this world and then when they find themselves in houses with mortgages, working in offices after having put on a few pounds they remember the Mermaids and wonder why they didn’t choose that more exciting route. When life gets challenging, dull, or otherwise difficult, they go looking for Neverland again. And blame the women they are with for making them what they are.
Maybe we women try to rescue our men from bad decisions too often. It starts when they are boys. I’m trying not to do it with my son. I’m trying to allow him to suffer consequences from his decisions now as a child (16) so he can learn from them instead of me swooping in to save the day and him thinking everything he is doing he’s doing to please me instead of himself.
I almost know for a fact that is what my husband did. We got married on my prompting. We went to church on my prompting. We did most things because I wanted us to “do the right thing.” But it appears the resentment did build in my ex’s heart and he did wake up and wonder what he missed out on and who he really was. So now at 41 and 25 lbs overweight he’s trying to fly around and find himself. He lost his job after being warned of his inappropriate relationship with the woman he supervised. He lost his home. He lost his family in one sense. He is a Lost Boy.
Peter returns every year to Wendy so she could do his spring cleaning for him, then her daughter Jane, then her daughter Margaret. But it’s the women who remember the stories. Peter forgets them. The women keep going year after year because “he needs a mother.” But maybe they just should have let him do his own cleaning.
The trick is to find someone who understands what it means to be a man without losing his childlike spirit. I don’t want to be anyone else’s mother than my own two children. I want to be a wife, a partner, an equal. And I want to respect the person I am with not rescue him. What about you?