What’s it been like to be a mom? Especially as a I have a son heading off to college in the fall, it’s a time of reflection, joy and a bit of fear rolled into one. I wrote this a few months ago for another purpose, but this seems a perfect time to bring it to life on the blog. Let me know what you think.
When my first son was born, I knew I would learn more about boys than I could imagine. Even though I have a younger brother, our age difference turned me more into his babysitter and occasional tormentor than someone from whom to unlock the secret of Guys.
My initiation as a mom of Guys started out slowly, with the lessons of “Whatever you do, keep that thing covered at all times- it could go off at any minute!” and moved on to realizing gadget facility is inborn, when James, at age 2, reflexively grabbed the mouse away from his Grandma to show her how to use it. “Me Do It” became a big theme in our house. Then there were lessons about the convenience of having “outdoor plumbing” and the joys of potty training, and how guys really can, in a pinch, stop anywhere- not an option for most of us women. By the time the second son was added to the mix, I thought I was really getting the hang of things.
Alongside the fart noises and blowing snot bubbles with their noses, and a general viewpoint that handwashing was for girls only, I came to understand what makes boys, and eventually men, special. I occasionally do feel like I’m the only thing standing between them and total feral living, and that Dave Barry was right in his Guide to Guys, that women exist for the purpose of setting standards. While I often feel like Miss Manners trying to establish order in a rowdy fraternity party, the truth under it all, is that I love it.
I love being the one that gets to turn a bit of a blind eye and feign disapproval as they create a duct tape harness to raise themselves up and down between the first and second floor with a pulley, while secretly wanting to jump in and help. I love it when they are washing the car and decide to spray me, too, just like I’m one of the guys, even if I protest at that time. I secretly enjoy when they come up to me, give me a hug, even when it’s only to gauge whether they are taller than me yet. I love seeing them have that sense of pride once they are taller and get things down for me from the high shelf, while giggling that I should put everything lower because I’m so short, and I laugh and say I’m now living in a forest of boys.
I’ve felt a great responsibility to any future girlfriends/daughters in law as well as to my kids, to raise men that would have all the characteristics we would want in the perfect man. A sense of adventure, humor and playfulness. Kindness and caring. Manners and civility. A dash of home skills to make them both self-sufficient and good partners. I’ve tried my best, and it’s getting to the time where, whether I’m ready or not, they’re launching into the real world, and my cautions to be careful or “wear a jacket, please, it’s 20 degrees outside!” will only be dull echos they hear in their head.
While I tease my husband he will never have to worry about me leaving him for another man, but a nice, quiet, pink and ruffly cottage at the beach might be a serious concern, he knows I’m kidding. I’ll take any moment they’ll give me, to spend time with the dirty socks, cooking meals and taking that dance around the kitchen in the arms of my babies, who are now the men I’ve always known they would become, from the moment I held them in my arms for the very first time.