Opinion: I feel the need … for Top Gun mothering


Commentary by Danielle Wilson

In honor of Hollywood awards season, I bring you another installment of “When Movies Meet Mothering,” my new series where I cleverly insert classic lines from some of my favorite films. Today’s homage is to my teenage crush Tom Cruise and the 1986 flick I saw six times in the theater, “Top Gun” (you’re welcome, SJ!).

One of the ongoing dogfights here at Chez Wilson involves our children not working to their potential. Our oldest, in particular, has caused many a liquor store fly-bys as Doo and I struggle to understand how someone with a pretty good head on his shoulders can make such poor decisions when it comes to homework and studying. It’s almost as if he’s purposely buzzing the tower of unacceptable grades just to see if he can spill someone’s coffee.

We keep telling him that as a senior in high school, if he doesn’t want to end up selling rubber dog poop out of Hong Kong, he’s going to need to apply himself. He’s going to need to do it right like his old man and not settle for the second-place plaque in the Ladies Room.

Luckily, of late, our Maverick has been doing better. He’s stayed above the approved academic hard deck for several months now and has only been inverted once. But we still see him occasionally pulled into the danger zone, unable to resist the siren’s call of Netflix and video games and hanging with his wingmen. And that’s the hard part for us, keeping our helicopter instincts grounded while he serenades potential disaster. We don’t want his ego to start writing checks his report card can’t cash, especially now that college is looming like a great ball of fire, but we also don’t want to always be up in his grill.

I suppose this is just a normal part of parenting teenagers, learning to trust your child to pilot his own F-14 through swarms of MiG-28’s  and hoping that if he does need to pull the ejector handle, he stays clear of the canopy (yah, I went there).

Peace out.