I remember when both of them were born.
Soft coos. Gummy baby smiles. One of them could wail louder than any human I’ve ever heard – and he did so much that when news of his baby brother’s conception was discovered when he was a mere six months old, I sat down on our stairs and sobbed. I couldn’t imagine doing it again.
If I can be candid, I must admit I wanted that third baby to be a girl. Oh, yes. I did.
As soon as I received the news during the ultrasound appointment this was not to be the plan, I wasn’t upset but disappointed? Yes.
Luckily, I trust God for this kind of stuff. There had to be a reason this woman, who was often confused by the opposite gender, was blessed with a lone daughter and two boys just fifteen months apart.
And for a while, it was really, really hard. I’m not going to lie.
And for the record, I wouldn’t say it’s easy now.
I can’t imagine our family being any other way.
On the other hand, Sarah still wants a sister but I’m too old to have more babies. Not biologically, but mentally.
And while I love my children the same amount, it’s true that I love them all differently.
There’s so much I love and cherish about having a daughter. I’m so very thankful God has blessed me with a little girl.
But those boys? Oh, those boys.
They worm their way into your heart with their slobbery baby grins and continue to woo you with their dirt-streaked faces and poison-ivy covered limbs. The smell of their heads gives way from the precious baby-head smell to that of sweat and maybe a little leftover lunch, and still . . . it’s the best smell around.
They’re more curious than George.
They like to stir their sister’s pot because she lets them.
They show-off in front of girls and they’re only five and six years old.
They live life with an intensity I myself long to have.
They aren’t afraid to take the world by a storm.
Last week, as my husband was coaching our oldest son during flag football, I realized a metamorphosis was happening right before my eyes.
My sons are going from boys to men.
And yes, as a matter of fact, I did bust into the whole Boys II Men song under my breath on the sidelines.
I see them smack each other on the posterior as a congratulations for a well-done play.
I hear the brusqueness of the coaches’ instructions; a toughness that makes me want to stand up from my folding chair and say “But they’re only six!”
For the record, I don’t because I’m absolutely certain I would not only embarrass my son but his father as well. So I use self-control but try to communicate it telepathically to my husband. So far, he’s either ignoring it or not picking up my vibe.
“You would raise our boys to be complete wimps,” he likes to jokingly accuse, wearing his own impish grin that probably had the same effect on his own mother.
But the reality is . . . he’s probably right.
I’m not really in any hurry to toughen them up but I know it’s right about now when the process starts.
Yet I still hold-on to molding sensitivity within their hearts. I still tell them it’s OK to cry no matter how old they are. And I still stand-by my number one goal for them:
They will one day make very good husbands.
And while Jason does the toughening part, I will hold-fast to the softer side and I won’t shrink back just because they’re becoming young men.
I will continue to chase them and pin them down to the ground for snuggles and kisses.
I will continue to speak to their hearts, to not dismiss feelings because “they’re boys and they should be tough.”
I will continue to love them softly with the right measure of tough – a mixture of salty and sweet: kind yet courageous, sensitive yet tough, and funny yet serious when the timing requires.
These boys . . . they move a mountain in my soul. They have forced me to grow from a girl to a woman.
A woman who doesn’t really ever want to let them go. But then, that’s the whole point of this parenting gig.
We’re supposed to hold them loosely, trust in the story He’s telling through them, and understand they were never “given” to us.
We are entrusted.
For a very short time.
What about you? Do you find your children growing up too fast these days?
Just wait Natalie, until that “sweat and leftover lunch” smell turned into full on MAN stink when the poor precious babes are only like 9 years old. It is unbelievable and completely uncalled for at such a young age. Enjoy those snuggles while you can still do it without a clothespin on your nose!!! :) xoxo Lisa
Oh, awesome, Lisa. I can’t wait. HA!
Not biologically but mentally…hahahaha! Love it.
Yes. No way mentally, sister. No stinkin’ way.
Oh my goodness, do I ever??? My oldest is my daughter, who is a Sr. this year and 17. She has joined the Navy and is in the delayed entry program . She ships out July 9. My next one is my oldest son, 6 years old and in 1st grade now, and the way he’s grown and matured this summer is mind blowing and scary. I am in awe and sad at the same time because I know my snuggle time with him is getting shorter and shorter. And then there’s my little guy, 4 yo and in Kindergarten. Yes, he’s young but he’s right there with the other kids and growing by leaps and bounds. He’s the youngest and I see him staying my little snuggle bug a little longer than he probably should, but then, don’t all the “babies of the family” have that issue? I am a single mom and I struggle with how to balance toughening them up with teaching them compassion and vulnerability. I pray I help to teach them not only how to be men but to always be considerate and loving towards each other and the rest of the world, even when they don’t want to. I don’t want this time to end, but I know it has to. I’m right there with you on the sidelines wondering if the flag football coach has to be so brusque, but then I remind myself, he needs to learn that. Thanks for continuing to share. :)
You aren’t alone, Diane! Thank you for sharing your heart and being so real.
Yes, our boys do need to learn that but . . . I have a hard time watching the lessons unfold. I want them to learn it when I’m not around. HA!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Diane!
I have 2 little boys that are 11 months apart (they are now 8 & 9) and I totally feel your “pain”! I just let my 8 year old go on his very first sleep over the other day and I cried the whole night. I told my husband that I wanted to go get him and he said, “he’s probably sleeping, leave him alone.” Of course, I would never have gone to get him but I wanted to. It makes me sad to think that one day, they won’t be my little boys anymore. They’ll be husbands and fathers. But at the same time, hopefully one day, (about 30 years from now), that I’ll be blessed with a house full of grandbabies. :)
The part where your husband is coaching your boys and you try to telepathically tell him to be nicer? Yeah, I completely understand!
HA! Glad I’m not alone in this one, Megan. Our men sound frighteningly similar…
From a college guy whose mom raised him to value compassion, honesty, and communication, know that your efforts to “hold on to molding sensitivity within their hearts” are going to be supremely impactful as your young boys grow up. In a world that tells them that manliness is defined by how often they want to beat someone up, it is immeasurably valuable that they understand God calls men to be bold and courageous, but also loving and selfless. They will always be thankful they were entrusted to you.
Also, it’s totally okay to embarrass them every now and then :)
Brad, your comment encourages me so much – thank you for taking the time write it! I clicked over to your blog and you are a Camp T counselor. I remember the fabulous post you wrote about it – we looooove Camp T. Perhaps you will one day be a counselor to one of my boys? Wouldn’t that be a fun turn of events.
Anyway, thank you for reading and commenting – and of course, I will keep on embarrassing because at the end of the day, they will ALWAYS be my babies. :) Just like you are still your mama’s baby no matter how old YOU are…:)
I know she is very proud of you, Brad.