I have had boys on the brain lately. For one thing, I spend my days with them, my home is overrun with them and my activities center around them. I spend a lot of time with moms of boys. And we talk about, you guessed it, raising boys. My book club is reading The Wonder of Boys. Our friends just found out they are having their 3rd boy. Everywhere I am, it seems the noise of boys surrounds me.
When I was pregnant with Lilly, everyone felt it was their duty, obligation, command from God, to comment on the baby in my belly. The comments always went something like this, "oh, I bet you're hoping for a girl this time." Or, especially if they saw me with the boys, "so you are trying to get that girl, huh?"
After a while, it got kind of annoying. I mean, the boys were standing right there. Did people think I didn't want another boy because it was so awful to have 2? Actually, I was fully anticipating having 3 rough and tumble, loud and rowdy boys. And yes, Lilly was a lovely, lovely, surprise, but upon her arrival I didn't think, "thank goodness you're not another boy!" No one ever said to me, not once, "wow, I bet you're hoping for that 3rd boy." I think that's a bit sad. Because, 1, 2 or 3, I love boys.
Here are some reasons why:
They are perpetual motion
The pleasure they derive from being brave, strong and tough
The more boys there are, the crazier it gets
Always dirty faces, finger nails, hands and feet
The excitement they feel, over and over again, at seeing tractors, dump trucks, fire trucks, trains, jets, motorcycles...
The hilarity of being able to pee in the toilet at the same time as another boy, brother (or daddy)
How much they love to play with trucks, cars, trains...
How much they love to wrestle
How tender they can be
That, because of them, I can tell the difference between a grader and a scraper
That they can't walk, but must jump, run, skip, hop or somehow move loudly and quickly
The excitement they feel about doing things daddy does
How cute they look shirtless
How much they love to climb trees
How much they love to climb anything
How much they love to play in the mud
That they make truck noises even when they are babies
The intensity of their love
That they turn everything into guns, even when you never let them play with guns
That, because of them, I know what a coal tender is
That one day they will be grow into men, but will still always have a bit of little boy left in them
I so grateful God gave me the job of raising 2 boys. Sometimes it feels like I am spending my days with aliens, because I don't understand them at all. I have to remind myself that the things about them that drive me crazy are the things that make them boys and so much fun.
I once saw an interview with a woman who ran an orphanage in Africa. She had a lot of boys. They were boys who had no fathers, uncles or grandpas to teach them how to be husbands, fathers, providers and all the other things men are called to be. She had to do it herself. Her goal, she said, was to raise these boys to grow up into good men, and if she did that, she would be doing one of the most important jobs in the world. Amen.