BY KAREN COOPER
When you were young, how did you imagine your grown-up family life would be? Did you want to be a mother? If so, did you dream of princess parties, big hair bows, and baby dolls, or did your mind lean more toward ride-on tractors, fireman costumes, and backyard baseball games? Do you have a soft spot for glitter and tutu skirts, or are you more a fan of Nerf guns and football helmets? Don’t get me wrong; I know that not all girls and boys fit these stereotypes and I respect and admire that! We should celebrate everyone’s uniqueness.
The best-laid plans…
In my early years, dreaming about a handsome husband and smiling, well-behaved children, I always imagined myself with girls. I was an only daughter of doting parents and did not have close friends who were boys. In fact, I spent a lot of time by myself. I didn’t know or understand boys…so I dreamed about having little girls. What would their names be? How would I fix their hair? Visions of smocked, monogrammed dresses danced in my head. Fast forward a decade or so and I found myself completely in love with my two remarkably fast-running, LOUD yelling, tantrum throwing, house wrecking, snuggly, Mama loving little boys. It was absolute bliss (some of the time). Boy oh, boy…who knew?
And just as the boys learned lessons every day, I learned along with them, often even from them! Learned about life, learned about myself. Motherhood is an amazing humbler, an amazing teacher. We don’t always know what’s best for us. As I’ve gained more life experience, I’ve learned that I am a much better mother to boys than I would have been to girls.
Enjoy every moment, or at least every other moment!
Still, how much arm wrestling and couch fighting can one person take? The answer is possibly the equivalent of a few years of your life if you don’t intervene, although I’ve never done the math. As all of us with children know, there is this ache somewhere inside of us that we’re not paying enough attention, we’re not enjoying it all enough…because someday it will be over. One day the roughhousing, the broken lamps, and the fear of someone going to urgent care will be gone…don’t think we haven’t already worn out our welcome there! The truth is, as the boys have grown up together, they have become best friends. Play fighting is really just their love language and knowing that makes watching them grow up and away a little easier to bear.
Boys are wonderfully strange. When they become teenagers that multiplies by 1,000. But for all the dirty socks, the wet towels on the floor, the bizarre smells, the flexing their muscles and six-pack abs again and again, the sticky messes in the kitchen…. for all these things there are also the deep voices saying, “I love you” and there are the long hugs with their impossibly strong arms where they don’t let go first. The day comes where you look up at them where once they looked up at you. You grow accustomed to the strangeness of boys.
Testosterone overload… and how to cope!
Living in a house with a wonderful but somewhat alpha husband, two teenage sons, and even a male dog (a beautiful Australian shepherd named Sawyer) …sometimes it can feel like there is so much testosterone in the house that I need to burn a bundle of pink unicorns and glitter and cleanse the house just to find some sort of balance. Whenever it gets to be too much, I have a girl’s lunch, binge watch chick flicks, go shoe shopping, buy more pretty throw pillows or hang pink garland and pink ornaments on my Christmas tree. I remind myself how to be girly.
“Mother of sons,” that’s what a friend called me once, and it struck a chord down deep inside me. It was always my destiny to be surrounded by boys (now almost men). I never would have guessed it, but it suits me just right. Daughters are wonderful and amazing! I am one. I know many and love spending time with daughters of friends, admiring the things that daughters love…but when all is said and done, I know whatever force of nature made me a “mother of sons” knew exactly what they were doing!