The Beauty of Boyhood

flip-out-2“Mom, we’re gonna go jump on the trampoline.”

“But it’s raining.”
“That’s why we’re going.”
The three thirteen year old boys thundered out the door in tee shirts and basketball shorts.

I made a fresh cup of coffee. When I heard Aries, our German Sheppard, barking, I looked out the window. She was on the trampoline with the boys in the rain. They were all laughing and she barked deliriously.

I opened the door. “Hey, get the dog off. She’s got claws and will shred the mat.”

Two of the boys said “yes ma’am” as they all coaxed the dog off the trampoline. But she jumped back up with them instantly, refusing to be cut out of the fun. Drops of water flew from the trampoline mat and off their soggy heads, every time they jumped.
I called the dog and told her to go under the porch.

For almost an hour the three boys wrestled and bounced in the rain. They peeled off their wet tee-shirts and threw them into the grass.

The tallest boy is a redheaded football player. He loves to tell us extraordinary facts about “gingers”. He’s very proud of his hair. The muscular boy with dark hair is a musician and vice president of the 8th grade Beta club. The smallest of the boys has bright blond hair. He’s very quiet but he’s the daredevil of the three.

They start playing a complicated game called Dead Man. It involves a blindfold, counting and body slams.

Listening to them laugh and talk trash, I realize this moment is Boyhood’s Last Stand. This is the golden moment and will be gone very soon.

Right now, in the rain, they do not have a single dark thought or worry. Two of the boys have girlfriends. They hold hands and hug on the middle school play ground. The boys sneak up behind the girls and pick them up, an act of affection and a show of strength.
The girls laugh and squeal and demand the boys put them down.

The boys do the same thing to each other, but there are choke holds and punching too.

Soon, very soon, there will be kissing and holding on desperately. There will be emotions, passion, love, anger, joy and frustration. They will still

have fun but will not play as much. And thoughtless joy will fade.

I should tell them to come inside and dry off. There is thunder in the distance. But I can’t do it. It will end too quickly on its own.


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Controlling, Meddling, Pushy Moms….Yeah, That’s Me

pushy mary momWhile unloading the dishwasher just moments ago I had a breakthrough realization. I suddenly understood something I’ve known all along about moms.

The truth is whether our child is 14 or 24,we are desperate for them to be happy. In fact, our own happiness depends on our children being happy. Most mothers find it almost impossible to be joyful if their children aren’t happy.

We also know part of being happy comes from choosing the right boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or partner. If you, my beautiful daughter fall for a selfish mean spirited toad , things will not go well  for either of us. If you, my remarkable, handsome son decide to devote yourself to  a stupid and immature girl, we’ll both be unhappy.

Children, we want to help you pick a good one, a winner. We see your finest qualities and want someone who is just as smart,adorable and witty. We want you to have someone in your life who recognizes how amazing you are. And we can spot a good match for you, really we can.

But here’s the problem. You don’t want our help. For fifteen or twenty five years we’ve been picking out your clothes, your first car, your sports and your food. This time, you want to do it on your own cause your old enough to do that.

You think we’ve been controlling your life. We think we’ve been raising you and taking care of you. You think we are manipulative and meddling. We think we are being loving. We’re both right.

Moms, I’m speaking from experience with four kids.  If your daughter is talking to and leaning towards a wonderful A+ guy,  that’s 100 percent perfect for your girl you have to shut up or you will wreck it. If you suddenly start  campaigning for this great guy, if you try to push her into falling for Mr. Magnificent ,who’s obviously crazy for her……YOU WILL SINK YOUR OWN BOAT.

Your kid will suddenly slam on the brakes and pull back….. because he feels like you are trying to control his world again. He wants to make this decision on his own.  Your motivation doesn’t matter. If you push, you’re child will pull back.

SO STOP IT!  You can express your opinion one time, but that’s it, unless your son or daughter asks.

We love our children so much we accidently ruin their shot at happiness. I’ve done it to Jack, Mary and Lexie. Sandor is only 12 so I’ve still got time, but I’m sure I’ll screw something up. Seriously, I fight the urge every week with one of my kids. I always want to tell them, 1. “You can do better”(not recently, I promise) or 2. “Oh my Lord, this person is perfect for you.”

Moms of the world, if love is meant to be, love will grow on it’s own, naturally, without our constant weeding, pruning, fertilizing and watering. And the sooner you back off the faster love will grow.

Sometimes Moms, we have to sit down, shut up and have a little faith if we really want to help our kids. It’s so dumb and painful….but it’s true. Maybe we just need to figure out a way to be sneakier?