The Perfect Fan

I tolerated the bumper-to-bumper traffic, using the car-time to figure out what I was going to write about today. As the miles slowly disappeared behind me however, my mind remained totally blank. Frustration gradually set in.

Needing a break, I turned on the radio. Inspiration immediately came as I heard the Backstreet Boys singing their 1999 tune, “The Perfect Fan.“ I burst into tears.

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The Backstreet Boys, a popular boys band that rose to stardom in the nineties, was morning carpool favorites when I drove my kids to elementary school. We knew every single song and enjoyed singing them boisterously on our daily drives. But their song “The Perfect Fan” was one I didn’t want to listen to. I had to change the station every time it came on. Simply put, it made me cry [and still does!] and the kids teased me.

The Perfect Fan

It takes a lot to know what is love.

It’s not the big things, but the little things

That can mean enough.

A lot of prayers to get me through

And there is never a day that passes by

I don’t think of you.

You were always there for me.

Pushing me and guiding me

Always to succeed.


You showed me,

When I was young just how to grow.

You showed me,

Everything that I should know.

You showed me,

Just how to walk without your hands.

‘Cause mom you always were

The perfect fan

You showed me how to love.

You showed me how to care.

And you showed me that you would always be there.

I wanna thank you for that time

And I’m proud to say you’re mine


‘Cause mom you always were,

Mom you always were

Mom you always were,

You know you always were.

‘Cause mom you always were… the perfect fan.

I love you Mom.

Somehow the song hit a nerve. I was a loving, involved and engaged mother. Even though my son was only ten years old at the time, I couldn’t help but wonder… Would he ever understand how much I love him and why I push him like I do? Would he grow up, look back, and value the special bond we have? Would he appreciate all that went into giving him the opportunities and advantages that he has? Would he eventually comprehend that, know matter how crazy and exhausted he makes me, I am so awed by and proud of him? Does he know that I regularly pray for his safety, health and happiness? When he goes off and starts his “new” life with a wife, will there be any place for me in it? Will he love me all the same?

*     *     *

A few months ago, my son called with a wedding-related question. “Mom,” he started, “you and I need to pick a song to dance to for the mother-son dance at my wedding. You and I have always shared two favorite songs; the Backstreet Boys’ ‘The Perfect Fan’ or Rascal Flatts’ ‘My Wish’ (2006). How about one of those?” I hesitated. He knows that both of those songs make me cry. “Whichever one you want is fine, Sweetie.”

*     *     *

As I sat down to write this evening, the phone rang. “Is it lame that, when I want to kill time and have no one to talk to, I call my mom.” I smiled at hearing my son’s voice. “No, it’s not lame. It’s great. Thank you for calling. Promise you’ll still call me after you’re married?

Maybe I have nothing to worry about after all.