Today’s post is supposed to be about birthfathers – it says so right there on the blog calendar. The way they’re ever present even through the longest absences, the questions that linger, how the struggle is more challenging for T-man…
But I’m sitting here, pen in hand, utterly unable to string together a series of coherent thoughts today. Looks like we’re going with stringing plain old regular thoughts.
Our boys are such a gift. Seeing the world with new eyes each day. Laughing riotously, about everything, anything, and nothing at all. Full of big dreams and even bigger imaginations.
But in many ways, we fail our boys, too.
We don’t do enough to encourage their sensitivity. Middle school students mock boys for crying, and there are still too many parents who reinforce that message at home. I don’t want my son falling apart over a paper cut (my daughter either!), but our boys need to know that it’s okay to cry. That sometimes, sitting through the really hard stuff and letting it out is the only way to move forward.
Because in concept raising boys is a wonderful thing…in reality, sometimes it means getting down to the nitty gritty if you want to send decent men out into the world someday.
“There is a list making its way around Facebook about 25 Rules for Mothers of Sons. Have you seen it?
It’s a very pleasant, feel good, vanilla-flavored list with lots of cute little things like ‘teach your son to do laundry,’ ‘learn how to throw a football,’ ‘let him get dirty,’ and that sort of thing. I am not going to attack this woman or her list. (I learned my lesson the last time I did that.) I think the list is fine – for her. It’s just not my cup of tea.
Instead I decided to pay homage to her and make my own list. Here goes:
1. Teach him what a skank is so he’ll never bring one home.”
Some folks go for the big, flashy stuff. Skywriting on their anniversary. Dancing flash mob proposals. Billboards declaring eternal love and undying loyalty.
Kids can fall into the big and flashy trap, too. Planning enormous breakfasts in bed for Mother’s Day or wanting to buy expensive presents at Christmas. They forget the little things like macaroni necklaces and hugs are just as special, even more so when they show up at that moment when life feels especially hard.
Sometimes it’s the little things that knock you off your feet.
Our T-man is twelve today. Twelve. Or, as he so sensitively put it yesterday, “One year and one day away from being thirteen.”
I don’t know whether to laugh or weep.
I look at this photo and see pure love and joy. I hear the silly giggles he and BrightSide shared. I wonder what he thought after he licked his daddy’s head. I remember the feeling of his pudgy arms and legs wrapped around me, snuggled up tight for hugs.
I see the smart, funny, handsome young man he is now and think of the years to come. First loves and friends, schoolwork and licenses, high school and college and life.
But then I slow down and remember.
This sweet young fella turns twelve today. It’s time for a new chapter to begin.
Last week’s Forever Family post gave me a lot to think about. A lot. T-man’s interview was filled with little pings, things that hit me at the time so I made a mental note to sit with his words for a bit.
It’s taken about a week, but here are some of my thoughts on things I learned from my son over frozen yogurt.
* Middle School nerves.
T-man says he’s anxious about changing to a new school after spending six years in one place, and as a navy brat I can certainly understand that sentiment. But I also believe moving on to middle school may be the best thing that could happen to him. He’s such an independent kid – he’s dying to get out there and spread his wings a little – and middle school will give him that opportunity. Plus it will expose him to a much larger group of kids.
Last week’s interview with T-man was a real eye opener for several reasons.
He was surprisingly relaxed and natural, joking around with me on some of the easy questions. I really ought to spend more time with that kid one-on-one; he’s kind of a hoot.
He was remarkably open, sometimes needing a minute to compose his thoughts about tough questions but always giving honest answers. He didn’t balk at a single query, just soldiered on and did his best to share his truth.
And some of his truth was not what I expected. (Which goes to show you I should really be asking more questions around here.) I gained some surprising insight into how T-man’s mind works – how he processes our life together and the different ways we see the same thing.
Tomorrow’s Forever Family is my chance to look at the answers that have been running around in my brain for the last week. Give it a read and share your own perspective…I’d love to have some more input on these!