I remember the day you were both born like it was yesterday. I remember the feeling of overwhelming joy colliding with fear all at once. I remember the sound of your first cry and the feeling of your skin against mine for the first time, and thinking I am now a mother.
I was once the mother of babies who squirmed to be out of my arms and let down, who then grew into children who would wiggle free of my hands impatient to run in the park, and then zoomed into teens who began taking phones into their rooms to talk privately.
You cried when we had some trees removed because you were worried the birds would lose their homes. You want to pet every dog you meet. Maybe you were a golden retriever in another life. It would explain a lot!
I grew up in a household where sex was not discussed. I learned everything I know about sex on the mean streets of Dry Ridge, Kentucky. I wanted it to be different for my children. My son, however, did not.
I pointed to a bottle with red and green sparkles that reminded me of Christmas and another one with silver sparkles that seemed a good choice for New Year's Eve. "No. This one," he said, sidestepping my choices and picking the sparkly pink. I threw it in my cart.
As mommy to young kids, there were so many particulars that needed tending to simply get through a day responsibly and with the least amount of tantrums -- "Not the blue bowl!!! The red!" But now that we're a bit older, a lot of these peculiarities have faded away.
It would be awfully nice if Grandma didn't have to ask for a towel before she dared sit down on a seat, and if I didn't have to worry about burning my legs on the exposed seat-warmer wires. But then I think about all of the things I would have to give up if I got a new car.
Your gender does not define you. Neither does your job or car or bank account. Be kind and brave, be a good friend and a hard worker and treat everyone with respect -- those are the qualities that will define you.
Our culture is vigilant about documenting faces with photographs before they grow and change. But their voices? Those seem to disappear into time and history like a curling spiral of smoke rising up into the sky. Just like that -- poof -- and the voices are gone.
My oldest boy is turning 5 soon. My youngest boy just turned 1. Between them I am sure that I could solve the energy crisis, if only I could capture the intense amount of vigor that zings and swirls around them all day (and night) long.
As my boys approach adulthood and start relationships of their own with women outside our house, I'm more keenly aware of what they learn both here and outside these walls. And sadly, it's not as simple as letting them choose the pink shirt over the blue one.
In my vision, there were tea parties and tutus. There were hours spent quietly reading on the couch together. There were braids and pigtails. There was shopping and giggling. There was peace and love and joy and... and... peace. Then, I had boys.
At times, I had relied on their division somewhat to keep from doing things I didn't want to do. Alone they were a single, sometimes whiny voice, but united they were a force, their powers tripled. If they really started working together, they would be unstoppable!
I wanted to protect him, but the more I focused on him, the more he fought it off. It was like he already had a shield of armor around his heart, which pretty much broke mine. I thought I had sealed his fate and he was punishing me.
"Mommy! Get that ball!" My 5-year old calls out as I'm walking out the door holding a coffee in one hand, a water bottle under my arm, my 40-pound pocketbook over my shoulder, two camp knapsacks over the other arm and a bag of dirty clothes for the dry cleaner.