RAISING BOYS..........and coming out alive
They're coming to take me away....aha!
Maybe things are different in this era of the highly enlightened. The generation brought forth by we Baby Boomers would have us believe they have single-handedly advanced eons from our prehistoric ways of parenting. I feel shamed into silence. They're smarter. But you need to know that I only make this concession because I've been worn down to a frazzle. I haven't the strength to argue. I'm just so grateful to have survived.
How could we possibly have known? Back in the day, the vast majority of us had children because......well because we got married and children were the next thing on the list.
Forty-two years ago we didn't have sonograms as part of our prenatal care. We were compelled to reserve both a boy's name and a girl's, stay clear of blue or pink and opt for yellow. We were given a bottle of vitamins and some pamphlets to read. If there was any discussion of weight gain, I know I for one, didn't listen.
What Dad didn't secretly hope for a BOY? A "mini-me," athlete and sparring partner.....heir to the throne. Yes Your Highness, I present you with a Prince. The world was suddenly perfect.
Apparently I thought I had done so well with the prototype, I chose to continue on with gusto. Forty-two years and four sons later, I'm still not sure what exactly was in those vitamins.
Let's face it. Babies are simply wonderful. From the moment they arrive, they consume us with such an overpowering surge of love and happiness, we're dizzy with pride. Initially I was sure the dizziness would subside. Silly me.
It's not until a few years later that we learn the first 3 or 4 years of our child's life, are a gauge exclusively for cuteness, cuddling and of course, genius. Period. What awaits you for the remaining 16 to 20 years is one of life's best kept surprises. Whatever you're thinking, snap out of it......there's no turning back. Hang on tightly Mom, you asked for 'em...you got 'em
At this point, I'm sure I need to make something crystal clear. My sons have always been my world.....my life.....my central purpose in being. As many times through the years I have fantasized what my life may have been without them........I've come to terms with the fact that Marilyn Monroe beat me to it.
Now, please don't judge me and think of all the many ways you might criticize my June Cleaver existence. I do not see myself as just a MOM, a one-purpose woman, a loving robot attached to a laundry basket & first-aid kit. Hell no! I'll have you bunch of snobby advanced female executives know, I have made it.........all the way to doting Grandmother!
BOYS..........what was I thinking?
Putting all unisex subject matter aside, boys and girls are different. Sons and daughters are worlds apart, despite anything you may hear, imagine or read, written by childless experts. Since I never gave birth to a female child, how would I know? Please, oh ye of the short sighted. After all, I am a female child with a female sibling. I have friends with girls and I pay close attention. However I admit, I cannot speak from the pink & frilly experience of parenting a girl.
In place of the pink & frilly, let's go with the brown & smelly. Above all else, boys are dirt magnets.....all types and forms of dirt, mud, gunk and various kinds of mysterious blots of stain. Boys remind you that you should have tried harder in Science class, especially Biology Lab, where bugs were examined and frogs were sliced open. It was disgusting then and some things just don't change. Worms, snakes and spiders remain on my Least Favorite Things list but by son #3, I had at least learned not to upset the neighborhood with my blood-curdling screams.
Please, I'm begging..........clean your room.
Yeah, that'll happen. In all fairness, two of my sons are pretty much the neat, clean, organized kind of guys ( I won't embarrass them by identifying them). As for the other two...OK,..Mothers of boys.....back me up on this.
It takes a bit of bravery and a haz-mat suit to enter a teen-age boy's bedroom. a.k.a... his Man Cave.....the-great-outdoors-brought-indoors, the 10 by 12 storage facility. I'll cut to the chase. Once when I reached under my son's bed, I retrieved a half-empty, greasy bag of popcorn from the Drive-in Theater. That was one day in January. We live in western New York. You do the math.
SPORTS, Go Team............. and the score went up another notch, Toot Toot!
If you don't happen to be into all forms of athletics, I don't mean to be judgemental, but you have no business having male children. In my case, having been somewhat of a Tom-boy/Daddy's girl, I wasn't totally dumb......(the key word here being "totally." ) You'll learn quickly....or at least by the time they marry and move out.
Really smart Moms know what to do. Keep the car filled with gas ( & running in the driveway) and all schedules for all games for every sport, taped to the dashboard. Dress in school colors, bring your camera, a banner & horn. Do NOT, under any circumstances, call out to your son, wave or smile in their direction. Not only will they ignore you, they'll hate you.
My best advice is, stand, applaud and cheer when the Dads and students do. They actually know what's going on. Trust me. Don't make an ass of yourself by asking anyone, "What just happened? Is it good or bad for our team?" Please, be a cool parent or stay home!
DATING.........Go ahead, call me an annoying braggart. Names will never hurt me. My sons are handsome, intelligent, talented and their mother is obnoxious. Have a problem with this? The few tiny faults they may have, are none of your business.
The girls were gaga for them. It's that simple. What is not so simple for a mother of sons, is trying to determine if any particular female makes the grade to earn attention from her son....."His Majesty." Through all the girls and date nights, proms & young lover's ups and downs, I kept my distance, like a smart Mom should, but my senses were keenly tuned in. Mostly, we Moms of sons have to prepare to be brown-nosed ad nauseum and spoken to in high squeaky voices about total devotion to our sons.
I was always tempted to tell these young starlets, "Look, I remember the game well, he's your dream boy, your soul mate ....and you love him to pieces. You're already practicing writing his name after yours and imagining your home with the white picket fence. I can also tell you I know of no teen-ages boy thinking any such thing. Relax honey, if it's meant to be, it will be. Until then, read my lips,, I'm too young to be a grandmother.
COLLEGE.......The first child going off to places unknown is as traumatic as can be. After that, you start packing their things at the beginning of their Senior year of High School.
College is a huge step in your son's life. He must learn which basket his dirty clothes go into, so he brings the right one home to you. Then again, if he's able to persuade the same girl who does his term papers, to also do his laundry, you're off the hook. Collect calls (before the birth of cell phones) C.A.R.E. packages, their own credit card, plus the extra spending money, will make you question why it costs so much for them to speak so few words.... "Hey, Mom, I'm fine. Everything is great. Miss you and love you. Please send money....& more socks and underwear." Mothers of sons know, that last request is because they do not know if the socks and underwear on the dorm room floor are theirs or their room mate's.....so they throw them out. Male children never allow the little things to confuse them.
When the OTHER woman takes him away.
I love my daughters-in-law. No, I mean I ADORE them. Each of these lovely ladies is absolutely perfect for the son they married. I am at such peace, knowing how loving and special they are. Best of all is being certain my boys are happy and have proven themselves amazing husbands and awesome Dads. There's no way to describe my pride.
On their Wedding day, I floated on a cloud. I admit I may have embarrassed my sons just a tad. Give me a break. It's such an emotional and moving moment in their lives. I couldn't help myself. O.K., so maybe I was a little too loud & excited when I hugged the new bride and begged....."Please honey, promise you'll KEEP him!!"