Mother of Boys

297017_10150979370842484_509040353_nI knew I was going to have daughters.  Until I didn’t.

In 1992 I gave birth to a delightful baby boy, which was a tad shocking because I knew that I was having a girl.  No, no one told me I was having a girl but I just knew; the way a mother intuitively knows these things.  When we visited my ninety year old Eastern European grandmother, she whispered to me in her heavily accented English, “You did the right thing having a boy.” as if it was in my control the whole time.  But, I knew I would have more chances to have my girl.  I was young.  I was arrogant.  I was foolish.

Then life happened.  We had unexplained secondary infertility, several miscarriages, a fetal heartbeat that was there one minute and gone the next and maternity clothes so recently pulled out that needed to be folded and put away.  Beloved friends of ours suffered the neonatal death of a son and a few years later a dear friend called in tears to tell me that she would be delivering a full term still born son the next day.  I heard what life was telling me. I ended up with two more sons, two more fabulous, wonderful sons.   And, life taught me to be grateful, very, very grateful. For a while we told people we had three children, “two boys and a boy.”  “Oh” they said, as if a bit disappointed for us and I bristled.

I love my boys and they love me.  It’s true.  Ask anyone.  But, I’m not going to sugar coat it, my house seethes with testosterone and I get lonely here sometimes.  When “A” was about three I was at the town pool with a group of moms and their kids.   “A” had a pail and was mindlessly scooping pool water into it and dumping it out of the pool.  One of his female playmates was chattering to him while he did this.   At some point she became agitated and started yelling at him,  “I’m talking to you. Talk to me!  Talk to me!”   “A” looked completely befuddled as we moms laughed and commented that relations between the genders never change.

And, that’s the world I live in; largely silent, except for sudden outbreaks of violence between two of the inhabitants.  Have you ever watched National Geographic shows about primates?  It’s eerily similar to what goes on in my house.  The primates here mill around until suddenly and seemingly without warning they are in a heap on the floor apparently vying for some type of alpha supremacy.  As long as there is no bloodletting, I let them be.  Grunting often passes for communication and phone calls last no longer then it takes to get the job done.  Nothing extraneous please.

It’s not the hair, the nails or the make up or even the pretty clothes.  I’m not that kind of girl anyway but sometimes when all four of them (husband included) look at me like I’m speaking Girlish, I long for an ally, someone who also speaks Girlish or at least understands it.

I knew that I was going to have daughters.  Until I didn’t. It should be the worst thing that ever happens to me.

18 thoughts on “Mother of Boys

  1. Helene, for obvious reasons, I love this posting! Just wait – before long, you will have the perfect daughter-in-law. When you call to check in on the couple, after the 30 second mumbled update from your son, you’ll say, “Nice talking to you, honey. Now, can you please put _______ on the phone so I can find out what’s really going on?” Having 3 boys is a joy, and when you add a girl to the mix, it just gets better.

  2. It’s funny, I never felt that desire for a daughter. (I also have three boys, the first of whom was born in 1992). In fact when I was pregnant with my third, and everyone around me was saying “Oh, are you trying for a girl?” My reply was always: “Certainly, not. I have this truck and train thing down pat. The last thing I need now is to start dealing with Barbie Dolls.” And when things get too rowdy, just think of what it would be like to have three hormonal daughters. (Don’t they always say that cycles sync up? 🙂 )

    Enjoying your writing. Keep it u.

  3. I can relate. There’s a psychic out there somewhere, insisting a girl is waiting to come into my life. LOL. Maybe a daughter in law

  4. The only Barbie we ever got was Nibbles the horse – and all of his accessories. My daughter wore boy’s clothes from second grade until high school. And when she got her period, I used to throw a chocolate bar at her and close the door to her room. We called the awkward years, “Between Lipgloss and Legos.” But yes, she does speak “Girlish,” which you correctly understand has nothing to do with nails, hair or clothes. And as my boy starts turning into a man, I really don’t know what to expect.

  5. Hi Helene — Do you remember that we went to college with someone who planned to time her pregnancy so that she could avoid being in her third term in the heat of the summer? Oh to be young and blissfully naive about how brutal reality can be. — Wendy

  6. Two sons…and even my dog is a male! My mom used to say I was the “Queen” of the house. Queen of what, I wondered? Wouldn’t change my boys for any daughter anywhere!

  7. This was great, Helene. Love the “I have two boys…and a boy” part. Too funny. We get what we get, don’t we? And when they emerge into the world, it never matters.

    I hear you though about the sudden outbreaks of testosterone-induced violence. I’ve got some grunting going on around my house as well LOL.

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