Now, if you are privy to my dating history, you may be saying, “Duh.” But I’m not talking men here. I’m talking men in the making. Boys. I love listening to them talk. I love hearing them belly laughing down the hall and plotting and planning and scheming.
This surprises me more than anyone. And, as you know, after dealing with the news that my 40-year-old husband had terminal cancer, there is no longer much that surprises me.
I gave birth to two boys, whom I adore. As you may recall, I refer to them as Harold and Charles. They have one older sister. I adore her, as well. In fact, she was the first object of my maternal affection, and I was thrilled to have given birth to a creature I could clothe in cute little things. My mother bought her French pajamas in the finest and most delicate of cottons. She was a girl! Sugar and spice and everything nice.
When I was pregnant the second time, Ophelia was 2 years old, and certain that she was going to get a little sister. She had me convinced of this. Low and behold, she was apparently not blessed with psychic capabilities, because the child that came out of my body had a penis. And as they handed me this new, pink, squirmy bundle of joy, I cried. Not because I was disappointed, but because I could not believe the feeling of joy that overcame me. I recall lying there, cradling my new baby boy, gushing, “I just never thought I’d be so happy to have a boy!”
Then, it happened again, two years and 10 months later. Another bungled prediction. Another boy.
To say that Boy No. 1 was physically challenging would be an understatement. Upon mastering the art of walking, he would routinely attempt to climb out second-story bedroom windows, (“Hello, Mrs. Amorello? Do you know your son is trying to climb out onto your roof?”), scale idyllic picket fences, and once disappeared at dusk, eliciting a full-on, four police-car search of the neighborhood.
To say that Boy No. 2 was mentally challenging would also be an understatement. Outwitting me, outsmarting me, out-debating me and generally and relentlessly pushing my buttons until I want to strangle him. Do not call DHHS. I haven’t laid a hand on him. Although I have fantasized about it upon occasion.
Boys are a lot of work, but I am finally reaping the benefits, as I watch them becoming fully formed human beings, not just Lego-building, Tonka-truck-smashing creatures with their hands constantly in their training pants.
These are the days I treasure, because I know so well they will not last forever. Do you know what one of my favorite things is? I can’t believe it myself. Really. I love to drive a car full of boys somewhere. Anywhere. I sit there quietly and just listen. I listen to their stories and their teasing and their goofy jokes and their laughter. I listen to them as they attempt to correct and impress one another. And strut their stuff.
Sometimes I get goose bumps. And I’m not sure why. I just find it so wonderful. Every car ride is like that movie, “Stand by Me.”
So when they want to go skateboarding an hour from home with a few friends, and they plead, “Mom, will you drive us?” I almost always say “yes.” And their friend’s mothers often think I have lost my mind. But I tell them I love to drive them. It’s like being in a car with a bunch of funny, adorable aliens.
I find them magical. Maybe it’s because they’re foreign territory. My daughter is magical, and mothers and daughters share a bond that goes beyond the word magical. But I know how that bond works. I am a daughter. I have a mother. But this mother-son thing is all new to me.
So, yes, although I’m sure I would have loved three girls, I’m happy beyond measure that we were blessed with a few extra Y-chromosomes. Even if every once in a while I trip over a snake, snail or puppy-dog tail.