Raising boys

I remember so clearly the warm summer morning that I laid on the exam table, buzzing with excitement and anticipation as the ultrasound tech exclaimed, “It’s a boy!” A boy. My eyes stung with happy tears that day, and many that followed, as I contemplated what it would be like to raise a boy. A year after that ultrasound we were thrilled to learn that we would also be able to adopt our foster son. In an instant I became the mother of not one but two boys, just seven months apart in age. 

These baby boys of mine all too quickly lost their chub and gained their voices, with some vivacious personalities to boot. I started laughing at potty humor and learned the hard way that certain—ahem—male body parts must be directed into the toilet in order to avoid getting sprayed. I began learning more about trucks and dinosaurs than I ever really wanted to know. Our grocery bill skyrocketed and our yard now teems with soccer balls. The noise level in our house stays just a few decibels above what the average human ear can endure, but you could never accuse my boys of being boring or unimaginative. 

Our house has been effectively baby-proofed, but I don’t think it can ever be fully boy-proofed. There is always a piece of furniture to climb, a chair to jump off, a wall to scribble on. Our couch (which used to be beige, I think) will never be the same. I’ve come to accept that no matter how many painstakingly chosen toys we own, my boys will always prefer digging outside in the dirt with their bare hands. While I may have had no idea how genuinely committed my boys would be to making a mess, I also didn’t know how deeply I would treasure the mother-son connection. I didn’t know that when your son grasps your face with his little hands and announces, “I love you soooo much,” it doesn’t matter if the house is burning down around you. 

I love raising boys more than I ever thought I would. I love their exuberance, their curiosity, their sense of humor. I love how quickly my boys forgive each other (and me). I love how they are shouting at the top of their lungs one minute, then quietly asking for a snuggle the next. I love how funny they think it is to whip off their diapers and wiggle their bare buns for all they’re worth. I love being the person they run to when they’re hurt or scared, or just when they want to show someone the “tall tall tower” they constructed out of Magnatiles. 

What I didn’t fully comprehend that day on the exam table was just how much my motherhood journey would be marked by having sons. Because we’re not just raising boys, are we? We’re raising men. Kind, brave, loving men. Men who aren’t afraid of their emotions, who know that growing in love is more important than growing in power, and who (maybe, hopefully) still tell their mamas, “I love you soooo much.” Cheers to that.

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Cheers!”.

2 responses to “Raising boys”

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