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.
When I used to work with kids on their writing, my favorites were always the eighth grade boys. They didn't even pretend to like to write. 'I'm a terrible writer,' each would say. Even though that was rarely ever true.
My middle son is the Recorder. He records unusual sightings, like a bear peeing or a running cantaloupe (turned out to be an antelope.) He's responsible for writing down shopping lists, fast food orders and game scores. His creative abbreviations like J.C. (just ketchup) keep us laughing.
My Women's Studies classes were rearing up with a vengeance in my head, but all I managed to get out was that the human body is beautiful, it shouldn't always be shared with the world and that if he ever had any questions about anything he saw that he should come to me or his dad.
I think my husband is doing a great job of teaching them what it means to be a man. My sons learn from him that men are strong, smart, silly and creative. But what am I teaching our sons about what it means to be a woman? My sons learn from me that women are strong, smart, silly and creative.
The thing I am most proud of is nurturing my son's sense of romance. I like to think that his kindness toward others, curiosity about people, respect for differences, creativity in his work and play and confidence about what is possible for himself and others evolved from this perspective.
It is cool for girls to like Spider Man. It is trendy for them to wear blue. Parents love watching girls try out for traditionally male sports. But, while I don't think it is right, there seems to be a short list of activities for my boys that, as yet, are not so socially acceptable.
How can I explain this to my boys? My boys who have no problem prancing around in princess dresses? Who would rather be "bunnies" for Halloween than superheroes? How can I break it to them that they might get made fun of, teased to tears if they wear shoes with pink hearts of them?
I remember bursting with excitement to get a break from boring homework, cranky teachers, chaotic classrooms and sticky cafeteria floors. Those were glorious days because I was a kid. Now that I'm an adult, spring break looks a whole lot different.
This isn't for me, I don't care if he's cool. I'll love every cell of him forever, endlessly, every second, regardless of what he chooses to do with his life. But there are times when it's just easier to be a cool guy.
Will he remember falling off his new bike in the first five minutes that he tried it? Will he remember that I cajoled him back on the bike and helped him gain his confidence back until he could do it by himself? The reality is that he might not. But I will.