Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Pueri, pueri, pueri

(~Boys, boys, boys)

You gotta love them, or you'll hate them. Or at least be driven absolutely batty by them. (And by the way, I forbid my children to use the word 'hate', but I will here use it only with the acknowledgement that 'hate' is NOT the opposite of 'love'.)

I have four sons. I have five brothers. I've had two husbands. Many, many boyfriends(but before the husbands, of course). Six uncles. One dad, a sort-of step-dad, and all kinds of brothers or boyfriends-in-law. I know all about BOYS! Today, I must give a shout-out to the four boys who call me 'mom'. Good grief, they're going to kill me.

When the boys were young, they were so easy to brainwash. They would (mostly) think exactly the way I wanted them to. Now I see remnants of that Pollyanna-ish influence I tried to submerge them in, but with all these other fragments of individuality jutting out all over the place and poking me in the eye. For this, I'm grateful, but sometimes only secretly.

Let's take one son. He shall remain nameless, but his Sunday School teacher sure knew his name when she came to complain to first me and then his dad about his behavior in class. She is a little tiny, 60-something Filippina lady with a thick accent and not much of a sense of humor. Pretty literal in the language barrier. Apparently, she was trying to teach a class of 11-year old boys about the law of circumcision in the Old Testament. I don't know why. But this son squirmed. He knows all about circumcision from talks at home, but I think it caught him off guard at church. Understandably. So, when the "lesson" began, he sat bolt upright and blurted out, "Yo, this just isn't cool." At least he didn't say 'ain't', but though I wasn't proud of him, per se, I did chuckle. When I confronted him about it and told him he needed to not be silly in class, he said, "I'm sorry, Mom. That's just who I am." He apologized to poor Sister Filippina. His journal entry (which yes, as the mother here, I have license to read on occasion) is really, really funny.

Let's take a pair of sons, who walking through the airport stopped someone and said, "Spell 'I CUP' and add 'ness' to the end". This was less funny to me. As are the burping, passing gas, and poop jokes that I am on constant vigil to keep out of my house. Oi. Please tell me I have not failed as a mother.

How about another son, who took that delightful green slime stuff (that surely another BOY invented) and threw it up into the ceiling fans in not one, not two, but THREE different rooms. Now let's talk about how he scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed the walls, fans, and ceilings. Then this same son ripped open a down comforter and threw every single feather into the air in some sort of imaginary surprise birthday fantasy. Fifteen months later I am STILL finding down in that room.

Then there was the time this collection of boys put "squishies" in the toilet of the girls' bathroom. For those uninformed, a 'squishy' is a packet of ketchup, or taco sauce, or mustard, or whatever other contraband the boys can steal from the cafeteria's condiment counter, carefully positioned under the toilet seat, so that when someone sits down, the pressure explodes this packet and sends it flying all over the legs and bottom of the one sitting down. And on the walls. Don't get me started on the practical jokes going on around here. They've watched "Cheaper by the Dozen" one too many times.

But there is this undeniable thing about boys too. Moms of boys know just what I mean. They sure do love their mamas. My oldest son always comes around and opens my car door for me. Without fail. I'm not even sure where he learned this. He was also present when his youngest brother was born, here at home, filled with emotion and cheering me on through pushes. They are all tender and sweet with babies, which I just love. All of my boys, when asked to do something, will always respond, "Yes, Mom." It may not be in the happiest tone of voice, but it's there. All of them have been loyal and loving and sympathetic to me. My occasional tears bring them to their knees. They are open with me and will confide in me, which I absolutely cherish. And they think I'm pretty.

Boys are on my mind today because this morning when I went to drive them to school, I found a dent in the hood of the car and these weird rubbery smears and when I inquired about the possible cause of them, it was confessed that one of them was climbing on the hood of the car last night, and oh, if the back windshield wiper is broken that would be his fault too, because he was hanging on it. Not broken, thank his lucky stars. But then, after I got one little sweet son down for his nap, I decided to tackle a drawer of old papers and I came across a water color painting only a mother could love (and keep). On the back, it says:

"Dear mom,

I want to let you know that You are the best mom

EVER. I couldn't ask for a better one cause.

There isn't.

love Dylan"

See what I mean? So, something's going right I guess. I catch myself getting caught in the trap of "you used to be so sweet!" But boys will be boys, and there will come a day when all that sweetness returns and a future wife thanks me for raising a really great man. Who still loves his mom.


Luisa Perkins said...

Darling, those boys are blessed to have you.

Abby said...

You give me hope, Jenna.

And please, you're not pretty. You're freaking hot. I can say this because you're my sister and we kinda look alike..except you're a classier version of me. Hahaha

Anonymous said...

jenna: i totally enjoyed this. and i laughed out loud (really) at the ketchup/mustard stuff (never heard of that before). really sweet how you talk about them. you give me hope for my kids too, kathleen :)