Thursday, January 30, 2014

On boys

Last week I was in walmart (big shock, yes?) and I was second in line. The cashier was very pregnant, and the woman in front of me started questioning her about her baby, the way women will do...when are you due?, how many kids do you have?, etc. The cashier said she had three girls and was pregnant with her first boy. She said she was scared to have a boy, because she had no experience with them. And the woman in front of me started on a tirade about much easier girls were, and that she should have stopped with the three girls. Can you imagine? Who the hell says that to a pregnant woman? Can you picture my restraint, back there by the beef jerky, resisting the urge to ram her with my grocery cart just to get her out of earshot of the poor momma? And it was having an effect, you could see the cashiers face drop, and she looked like she was going to cry. I am not an outgoing person, really. I am not a "chat it up with random strangers" person. Just not in my comfort zone. I kinda suck at it. But when it was my turn to check out, I just blurted it out..."You should ignore all of that." And she looked at me, all confused like, so I stammered some more, remembering why I don't talk to people,,,no eloquence in real life, me. "That woman. Just ignore all of that. I have three girls. And two boys. And brothers. And a husband that loves his momma. You will be glad you had that boy. Boys are very different than girls. But they are so much fun, and so sweet. And they love their mommas so much." And I don't know if it made any difference to her at all. She still looked kinda freaked out by the whole thing. I wish I had time to really tell her how it is. Because I love my girls. I really do. Girls have their own kind of loveliness, in tutus and scented markers and baby doll strollers, and later in teaching them how to be young women. That sounds really hallmark-y, but really, there's a *lot* to teach our girls, and it is beautiful, to teach them, both expressly and through example, how to navigate growing up.

But boys...they have a loveliness of their own (don't tell them).

They are intense and grubby, sweet and sweaty, throw themselves madly into everything they do.

You dress them and scrunch up their curls around their ears and brush their teeth in the mornings, and at the end of the day you scrub all that intensity of living their day off of them...

washing sweaty, matted hair, cleaning dirt out of their ears, food off their faces.

They fight each other for pure sport, in a way that would destroy the sensitivity of most girls, rolling on the ground and calling names and teasing and wrestling.

They destroy and they build, sometimes all in the same day.

They hide rocks in their pockets and collect bugs in old lunch meat containers, not to take care of the "baby bugs" the way girls do, but just to collect them and forget them until you find the smelly containers in the laundry room weeks later, forgotten.

And they love their Mommas in a pure and carefree way that girls cannot. Because our girls are learning from us, picking and choosing what they like and don't like in the examples we present, and this is necessary for them to do, and by the end of it all they will likely be surprised by how much they like after all, once they have lived long enough to get some perspective. But it's a long and painful process in the meantime.

But boys don't have that same baggage. They just love their mommas.

I guess she'll have to figure all that out on her own.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! You are so right. I have 5 boys and they are all that you mentioned.


Cameron Von St James said...

Hi there! My name is Cameron and I had a quick question about your blog and was wondering if you could email me. Thanks so much, I greatly appreciate it. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh! - you made me cry! This is so true!
Angela M.

Christine said...

Beautiful reflections. My kids are still young, so I haven't seen this fully lived out yet. I've always expected I will feel more "connected" with any daughters I might have than with sons....but it's good to hear about those sweet boy-specific traits, and the special relationship they can have with their mothers.

Meredith Henning said...

You are so right!! Having one girl and then three boys after sure gives you a whole new perspective ;-) Have a blessed Lent Melanie!