My best friend raised girls. Her house was pretty calm except for the occasional sisterly spat. She could go to the grocery on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, she’d still have food in the house. She didn’t spend a lot of time in the emergency room. Most of her beautiful home and furnishings stayed intact and things didn’t get broken constantly.
Then there was our house.
At our house, everyone was always starving. One year I had made about 30 extra loaves of pumpkin bread at Thanksgiving. I froze the extras so that I could give them to neighbors and friends a few weeks later at Christmas. When I went to get the loaves out to thaw, there were only a few left and then I learned that my older son had eaten a loaf for breakfast every morning since Thanksgiving. A whole loaf! Every morning! *Sigh*
We visited the hospital often enough to get a wing named in our honor. There were broken arms and broken feet and broken Matchbox car parts shoved up noses. There were explosions that burned the hair off the left side of their body and whiffle bats to the face. Then there were all the things that should have required a trip to the hospital, but unbelievably didn’t. Like trying to ride a bike down the slide. Or jumping out of the second story of the garage onto the trampoline.
Our house was full of bad ideas. First, there was the time the older son tried to start a fire by friction in his bedroom. (I couldn’t figure out what smelled like it was burning until he casually mentioned that he had been practicing his fire crafting skills. On the CARPET. In his ROOM.) Or the time when the same kid figured out how to make a catapult that would launch a bowling ball onto the next street. Really? Yes, really. And there were so many stupid things that started with this little phrase: “I betcha can’t…….(fill in the blank).”
They broke EVERYTHING. Doors seemed to be a particular favorite, mostly because they were chasing each other through the house. They broke the frosted glass out of the 100 year old bathroom door. They broke the brand new wooden door jamb on the upstairs bathroom. They broke a full length mirror hanging on the bathroom door downstairs. It’s literally a miracle that they didn’t end up in the emergency room over one of these incidents.
And I can’t forget the mountains of dirty laundry that smelled like a small animal died in them. Oh, and the ticks I found crawling out of their backpacks after Boy Scout campouts. Or the socks that found a home under their beds never to be seen again until they moved out as adults. That old rhyme about girls being made of sugar and spice and boys being made out of snips and snails and puppy dog tails—that’s not a joke. The greatest day in a boy mom’s life is the day they become interested in girls. From then on, they shower daily without complaint. They brush their teeth without being reminded. They use deodorant without fail. It’s the payoff for all the years of doing the sniff test after bath time to see if they actually used soap.
I’ll tell you this, though. I think I was made to be a boy mom. When I watch girl moms cringe and hold their breath as a little boy jumps from the top step or run across the top of the monkey bars, I know that God gave me the extra dose of chill that it takes to raise boys. And I also think having a tea party with my granddaughter is the prize for keeping them alive long enough to have children of their own.