Tuesday, July 30, 2013
ON RAISING A BOY
I wanted a son. I shamelessly willed this child into being a boy. I desperately wished for him. I feel called to be a "boy mom." I can't wait for soccer games and lizards and rocks in his pockets when I do laundry, and digging for worms on a rainy day, and all manner of boy things.
And yet, there's a sensitivity I'm excited to teach him that I think a lot of parents might not consider when they raise a boy. I'm excited for the first time he comes to me and is sad but doesn't know why. I'll explain that sometimes, we just need to cry and have our cuddle-cup filled while we stay up past bedtime and share Cheez-Its (a ritual my own mother shared with me). I'm excited for the day we bring home baby number two and we teach him how to be tender to babies and always be gentle. I'm excited to get him toy trucks for Christmas, or a dolly, if that's what he asks for. I'm excited to nurture his talents, be they "boyish" in nature (sports, video games, etc.) or not (ballroom dancing, sewing, singing, etc.). After all, what's wrong with a boy who likes to ballroom dance? If I remember correctly, he's the one the girls all want to dance with.
I'm excited to teach him gentlemanly ways. Always open the door for people, even other men, but especially for elderly people, pregnant women, or people who have children with them. Kindness is not overrated. I'm excited to recruit his help in the kitchen. Maybe let him stir the cookie dough. Maybe pretend not to see him steal a fistful of it.
I, being a willful and intense child, always seemed to learn by making mistakes firsthand. Will he be that way? If so, I'm well equipped. If he's anything short of the handful I was, I'm almost certain I'll be able to handle everything he throws my way.