I fret often as a mother. I’ve been at this gig for a decade and thankfully nobody in a suit has come knocking on our door. I agonize over little things, like why hasn’t she mastered the waffle iron yet, and does she know our phone number in case something happens? I wish I could remember what I knew at her age, and gauge if she’s on track, or perhaps if I was a bit behind growing up.
I knew long ago she’d set herself apart from the herd. You won’t hear Taylor Swift or Iggy Azthma, or whoever the hell she is, on our radio. She may well be the only girl in her class to have seen Rush live, and to tell apart everybody in Led Zeppelin. She doesn’t watch TV, and when she does it’s Love It or List It or The Property Brothers or My Little Pony and anime. She loves to read and play video games and can make her own sandwiches, and still I wonder if that’s enough.
I’m at the point in my life where I could care less what other people think of my interests, but she’s about to enter the prime Mean Girl Period where peers pick you apart for every little thing. I suffered plenty in parochial school, and such bull get amplified thanks to social media. Had Facebook and Twitter existed thirty years ago, I’m sure I’d have received nasty messages and such, simply for existing. I want to her to enjoy what she enjoys without having some insecure twerp shame her for it. People ribbed me in high school for listening to the Beatles, while they were into metal, which always struck me as odd because many of their favorite groups evolved because of the Beatles.
She doesn’t need that. Nothing’s happened yet, but I’ll always worry, and study the work of George Hayduke in the event I need to exact some justice on some nasty tweens.
Back on topic, she likes a variety of fandoms. Her room is a trove of Monster High, Wimpy Kid, and My Little Pony paraphernalia. The ponies take precedent now, so much that she’d begged me to take her to a fan con. I conceded to a recent MLP convention on the stipulation that she make honor roll, and she held up her end of the deal. For my part I drove a total of sixteen hours to and from New York, and froze my ass off on a train to get her there. Dedication.
Once at the venue, her eyes lit up. We saw people of all ages – many in costume, more in T-shirts – lots of us huddled in line awaiting our lanyards. I’ve been to a number of general SFF cons, but this was my first one that concentrated on a specific fandom. I knew to expect “Bronies” and older fans, but I also saw boys and girls my daughter’s age connecting over favorite characters and cartoon episodes. We attended a Q&A for a voice actress, participated in trivia, and mainly people/pony watched.
My daughter and I share things in common with My Little Pony. John De Lancie voices a character, and I’ve been a fan of his since Days of Our Lives (he wasn’t in attendance, though, maybe next time). Weird Al Yankovic voiced a pony once (big fan) and his character was well repped. There’s some Doctor Who crossover with the fandom, too, and I think she takes advantage of that when she wants me to buy her something.
I think what I liked best about this convention was the overall tone of the community – an outsider might glance and find it odd to see a guy in rainbow tresses and wings, but you know what – he’s a nice guy. He could be a doctor for all I know, or maybe he lives in his parents’ basement and codes for a living. It doesn’t matter; he seemed law-abiding to me.
We met many nice people here, and it refreshing to be surrounded by such positive vibes in a world where we tend to run into jerks more often. I don’t excuse myself here. I’ve figuratively shown my tush on plenty of occasions. Lessons from a cartoon might help me to check myself on days I want to rage.
I don’t know if we’ll get to another MLP-centric con, but we don’t say never. We will certainly look into attending general comic and culture events. The cosplay bug her bit hard, and thankfully I know people who can advise us there.
If there’s a way to parlay her interest in My Little Pony into a Ph.D. and a lucrative career in something, I’m all for it, too.
Photo by JM.