I never really thought about having a son. I was born to be someone’s mother, but I spent my whole life preparing for a daughter. I mean, I used to BE a little lady myself, so I was excited when we found out the gender of our first child. I was ready! I wouldn’t pink her over and cover her in princess tales, but I wouldn’t force her into tomboy pants either. I was ready for discussions about periods (to the tune of Clair Huxtable’s Woman’s Day), the birds and the bees (The Man will break anyone who tries to touch her), and friendships (my traveling pants are ready for wear). I was ready to tell her all the things that were and were not said to me. I was ready to teach her that smart is more important than sexy, that healthy is more important than skinny, and that kindness is more important than popularity. I was ready to let her know that no matter how many doors were slammed, calls were unanswered, or miles separated us, my eyes, ears, and heart would always be open to her. Bring on the girl!
Then, we found out number two was going to be a boy. I was lost.
A boy? What?
I don’t know the first thing about having a son. I’ve never been a little boy (shocker), and I spent most of my youth avoiding them (cooties and all). Now, I was going to be responsible for one…forever. The questions swirled…
How do you clean a penis?
Do I let him play with it?
What does a normal, little boy penis look like?
How do you teach peeing in a potty?
Yes, many of my questions were penis-centered. Those things are confusing! There were other questions too, though.
How do I do his hair?
In what style do I dress him?
What are the “boy” books, toys, shows, or games I should know about?
How do I keep the hoes back?
How much hugging and kissing is enough? How much is too much?
And then he arrived! Oh, the moment when my amazing boy was placed on my chest and IMMEDIATELY hugged me is etched in my heart for always. I had never, ever felt a love so rich and true and instant and deep before him. Sons really love their mothers. Lesson one learned.
But as he grew and we spent more time together, I only had more questions…
Why does he love to try to kill himself?
How many heart attacks will I almost have before a real one hits?
How strong is my furniture?
How do you get stains out of everything?
Will he ever calm down?
Are his ears broken?
These were questions I never had when raising the girl. It was very different with her. I remember the first time I yelled at her. It was after she was already three, and I was so upset that I yelled that I had to call my best friend to calm down. As for the boy, I’m not sure he even knows what my regular voice sounds like. He’s not one for sitting, but he does love to read. He’s not big on crafts, but he will gladly get messy. He can look you right in the eyes with so much care that you’d think he was reading your soul. He will also disregard you completely if he feels like it. His tantrums are epic, but his love is immeasurable. He might be the funniest person I’ve ever met. He’s definitely the most difficult person I’ve ever met. He’s a walking, talking complex puzzle of perpetual motion that always smells like sweat, spit, and dirt…even right out of the bathtub! He’s such a boy. All boy! And all mine to figure out.
With the girl, I would doubt myself at the end of the day. Did I do it right? Did I do enough? With the boy, I question myself every hour. I am always unsure of what I am doing and always wondering if someone could do better by him. He’s such a tricky fella that we’ve had him tested, evaluated, and looked over many a time. The diagnosis? A tricky fella. In layman’s terms that means he is a boy, just a particularly difficult one. Music to my ears…loud, out of tune music.
But boys will be boys, right? Isn’t that the completely useless saying for a lady prone to worry who lives in fear of failing the little people she keeps making? I continue not to understand him, and I am equally clueless as to how I can have such a remarkable love for him. We always say he has two levels: incredible and terrible. There is no middle for this middle child. If he was a boyfriend, I would have dumped him. If he was a brother, I would have ignored him. If he was a colleague, I would have avoided him. He’s the most adorable ticking time bomb whose explosions have brought me to my knees, begging God to please, please guide me in understanding how to mother him. Yeah. That happened.
I wouldn’t trade him for anything (that’s a lie). I wouldn’t change a hair on his head (yes I would). I would take a hundred more of him (no I absolutely would not). I can’t remember a life before him (if I really try I can still hear the quiet). I can’t imagine a life without him (that one is true).
Because THAT comes with raising a boy.
That love that he showed me the moment we came face to face? He has never denied me that unbelievable love. He shows it in his happy times and in his harder times. Whether he’s stomping off to tip over the garbage can (again) or he’s charging at me for a bear hug (and slobbery kisses), he always adores me. He always gives me his full heart. He always wants me, needs me, asks for me, and chooses me.
Boys have to love their mothers that strongly…otherwise their mothers would never put up with them.
So I’ll stick it out. Get him through his childhood in one piece, and hope that when he grows up he remembers all we went through together and loves me just as strongly then as I love him now. Always.
I bet he will. Always.
As long as I get the answer to how to keep the hoes back.