Remember that old riddle about a boy and his father who get into a car accident. The boy is rushed to the hospital in great need of an operation but the doctor who attends him says, “I can’t operate on this boy; He’s my son!”
But how can that be?!?
I posed this riddle to my kids last week, secure in the knowledge that we’ve come a long way baby. And surely THIS generation would be able to spot the clear answer!
Sissy: Uh…blink blink, blink blink….uh…Hey! I’ve got it!! It was the boy’s STEPFATHER, right??
Sonny: Uh….blink blink, blink blink…uh…Hey! How about the boy was adopted and the real father was the doctor??!
Ok. Let’s pause right here. You know the answer to the riddle, right? I even hinted at it above (point, point). The doctor is the boy’s MOTHER!!! D’oh!
Let’s pause further while I state that I’m ALLLLLL about girl power (surprised much?). And I’ve taught my children to be allllll about girl power. And I’ve even told my husband that he’s all about girl power and he agrees he is. (He does everything I tell him to do except for take out the garbage. He makes me nag him until he does THAT. Ahhhhh – the joys of girl power!).
So why – oh, WHY – in this day and age – did my children NOT make the connection that the doctor was the boy’s MOTHER?!? Why were they so willing to come up with a dozen cockamamie answers about the FATHER?!?
I have been puzzled by it ever since. Their pediatrician is a woman, MY doctor is a woman, we have women FRIENDS who are doctors, their AUNT is a doctor (no…not THAT kind of doctor…but still…), my daughter even wants to BE a doctor (an animal one, but that counts). WHAT. IS. THE DISCONNECT???
Plus??! All their lives I’ve been telling both my kids that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. (Here’s where girl power morphs into self-fulfillment power. Just go with it.) You don’t have to be limited by some gender-licious, societal-norm definition of what you can be. You wanna be a motorcycle guy who sings opera and has an iron claw?!? Go for it! You wanna be a mother AND a vet? Rock on!
You wanna be an unemployed blogger with an MBA?!? Boo-ya! ‘Cause, honey?! You are my Shining Star! Don’t you go away! (No-ho-ho-ho, Baby!) Wanna be right here where you are. ‘Til my dyin’ day*.
*Double Boo-ya: Manhattans, Shining Star, released 1980…and the “80’s song for every moment in life” theory rears its glorious head yet again.