I perched on the metal bleacher shielding my eyes from the sun, my gaze fixed out on the field. I listened to the random chatter of parents and children around me. It was a typical spring night and I was watching an…exciting…. or should I say… amusing… game of T-Ball.
However, it was the tall. good looking, lean man I watched prowling the field actively talking to the small creatures at his knees.
It wasn’t my son I was watching play ball, but my grandson, and my son was the Coach.
I got lost in thought wondering where time had gone and wasn’t it only yesterday I was the mom at the games with Goldfish crackers and juice boxes, with my other children running around with me ?
Actually, I was quite comfy being there in my “grandmother” role. It was nice to not have to juggle children, sloppy juice boxes or deal with crying babies. It is true what they say about being a grandparent… it is fun in a very different way 😉
However, before I got to be a grandmother, I had to do my duties as a mom.
I was blessed, privileged and I guess special, to be able to have not one boy, but three.
By the time the third came along, I felt like a total pro with the whole boy thing. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to raise a girl ( side note, we did get some later from foster care, but that is for another post)
Anyway, son number one was a quiet, easy going, laid back kid. He just rolled with everything. He knew how to play and was easy to entertain. He was creative and smart. He wasn’t complicated or difficult. He was my little buddy for 3 1/2 years before son number 2 came along.
Why aren’t parents told this secret.. this dark truth…. ???
Perhaps if they knew families would only have one child.
What is it you may be wondering ?
Well when you’re inexperienced you have this weird, but unspoken idea, the next child you create will be, well, like the first.
It somehow, never crosses your mind that the next one will be different.
Vastly. Different. Earth shakingly different.
When my second son didn’t waste any time getting into this world, I joked that he arrived with an attitude that was like…
“WHERE’S THE PARTY??!”
High octane, high energy, always with a thought or opinion, head strong, stubborn, driven to be successful, not settling for something when he knows he can do better. Social and out going, he doesn’t meet a stranger. The two of us went through the fire and back many times as he grew up. I think because we are wired so much alike has something to do with it. He is my male counterpart. There were tears and angst and some sleepless nights as we grew up. (he is the one who is the Coach)
He was as different from my first as oil is from water.
He was the shopping cart in the store you had to always keep a firm hand on or it would go wildly careening off to the left into a display of Twinkies.
My parenting game just got challenged.
When we decided to plan our third and last child it was with the idea it was the last one regardless of what we were given. Since I was old school and like surprises, we never knew what we were having till they were born.
When our third entered the world, I realized I was now mom of three boys. He was the exact image of his dad, my smallest baby, and adored by all of us. As the third in line, I guess he just adapted to life and learned to just roll along with whatever was going on. He was quiet, but engaging. He loved books ( I read to all of my boys) I’d often find him in his room, with his fav books, “reading” which was more like telling the story he remembered from the pictures. He too, was fairly easy going but I’m not sure if child three just learns to be like that to keep up with everyone else.
Raising boys, in some ways, is a fairly easy task.
At a point, they refuse to let you put them in cute little clothes and opt for just jeans and t shirts. They typically don’t turn their nose up at what you might bring home, and they don’t have any sense of a fashion style.
They are simply, dressed.
Well, they are dressed most of the time. Hopefully, when they are outside they have clothes on, although at times, that was sketchy
There were those times… thank goodness we live in the country and didn’t have neighbors to really worry about 😛
As we moved through the early years of childhood, which seem now, to have been very, very simple times, we approached the teenage years.. it wasn’t all bad… but there were times that were definitely a bit on the heart stopping edge.
I think what I loved about the teen years is the friends they brought home. Some came and went, others, I would often tease and ask if we were adopting them and were their papers in the mail yet ? Some literally moved in for periods of time.
They all knew how to eat 😉
My cookies never seemed to last long and dinner would need to be doubled up on.
They came in all types of dress and attire. When my oldest joined a band, I had more black leather, metal, chains, make up and boots in my house than a Hot Topic store.
My son taught me through that experience to never judge a book by it’s cover. Under those make up, leather and chain clad young men, were fun, entertaining and sweet souls. Maybe that’s why today I’m attracted to, and enjoy people who are obviously different and push the envelope from the norm.
Raising boys not only meant plenty of food and treats, but experimenting in different sports along the way.
All three toyed in them. Only one I believe had a deep passion for it. My oldest ( in the band) leaned more into arts and didn’t just play music but was also a clever and creative artist.
We let them pursue what they found interesting, and hopefully find themselves in it.
We went through seasons of sports, skateboarding, all types of music, all styles of dressing as they matured, band concerts, game days etc…
Yet, in the mix of ball games, school, activities, friends, and daily life my sons grew up.
Sometimes I find myself marveling when they walk in a room… like…
“I made those beautiful creatures!”
As grown men now, I find myself in the same role, but different as well. I’m still mom. Still the one that will call them out on things or offer up my advice.
But I enjoy the friendships with them too. The talks over the table after dinner, the silliness they still deliver up or at times, the random off beat things they can say that make me laugh, the stories that are revealed to me from childhood ( you know…stuff that you don’t want your mom to know at that time? but now that you’re an adult you can share with her? )
Oh…some of that stuff that has been revealed… has chilled my blood… and I’ve had to remind myself that they are sitting there with me, safe.
Or things that they know among themselves but in some way, sought to protect me from.
Having sons means you have all of these “protectors”. Which isn’t a bad thing.. and is often a sweet gesture.
Or when they come in and hug me… I’m tall… but they are a lot taller… there is something precious about those huge man hugs that I get now.
So I sit at times, lost in thought at the T Ball game, reflecting on life and raising boys and pondering how time seems to have moved oh so swiftly through those years. I sit and watch, amused, often giggling at the antics of the kids on the field who are there to just have fun and enjoy life. They aren’t hung up on winning yet or overly competitive, they are mostly there for fun. They run and jump and play. They have to be directed in what to do. My grandson is often happily skipping to the next base.
They all look forward to the treats that will come at the end of the game. They come flying into the dugout area, with their sweaty little faces eagerly looking up at the appointed mom who delivers them for the game. Treats in hand, they go scampering off to eat, run, and play with their friends.
Even with all the up’s and down’s that can come with raising boys, the trials and difficulties, laughter and tears, joys and frustrations, there is a beauty in all of it.
The beauty now of watching my grown son, with his son, and all of these pint sized creatures following him around as he works with them is priceless.
So I sit and I watch. I laugh and smile.
And I think…
I think how blessed I am to have been given such precious gifts in my sons and how fortunate I am to be able to watch my grandson… even if he is skipping and chasing butterflies out on the field as he heads to the next base.