Thursday, February 2, 2017
Yesterday as I stepped out of the house and checked to see where the kids were playing I couldn't see the boys. I heard their voices, shrieking and laughing at each other but I had to double take as to where they were coming from. The voices were coming from about 15 feet in the air near to top of our big fir trees in the yard. I was a bit shocked at how high they had climbed, then a bit scared when I realized Max the 5 year-old had climbed the highest and seemed perfectly happy about it.
It got me thinking about being a mom to a bunch of boys. Three boys in a row, separated by all of 3 years. It can sometimes feel like parenting a small gang, until you realize that they have three starkly different personalities.
One is strongly opinionated and willful, competitive, smart, but not one for emotional outbursts or displays of affection. The next is everyone's best friend, caring, generous, able to figure anything out on his own given five minutes, and prone to emotional ups and downs and cuddles. The third is quiet, deeply observant, hard to satisfy, and determined. They're all uniquely themselves and not quantifiable simply as "boys".
They are extremely active to varying degrees. One prefers to be moving when doing reading and spelling lessons. They all enjoy weapons. They love Legos. But they also love books and music.
Sometimes I feel like they don't seem to be so different from my girls and other days I can't even begin to understand why they do the things they do.
And sometimes I feel like boys are so much easier than girls. They're straightforward and headstrong but don't hold a grudge. They forgive me most of the time for my mistakes. Sometimes I just feel like there's less to worry about with the makeup of boys than girls even though I know that's not how it works.
I think it really all comes back to the fact that we don't parent ourselves. It doesn't matter if they're boys or girls; they're foreign individuals whom we don't completely understand even though we desperately want to at times. I think this is both challenging and a gift. I'm glad that the things that bother me don't bother them, I'm glad they don't have the same struggles I do, I'm happy to see the world through their fresh eyes.
It's a weirdly human experience to grow up and know our parents don't understand us, then to become parents and realize we don't completely understand our children. It's really not a bad thing. It opens us to the reality that we can know more through being in relationship with others and not just living for and within ourselves. It's a gift that gives us new discoveries through other people, it expands our minds and hearts, it's exactly how we become more human and less only ourselves -- alone.
I love sneaking in little hugs and kisses when the boys are moving so quickly and don't want to stop for mom. I love knowing that these wild, unique, can't-hold-back boys are part of me.
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