I am a Mom of boys. This suits me just fine, as I have little patience for female histrionics, melodrama and backbiting whether it be from girls or grown women. But I cried when it was revealed that my oldest child was a boy. As a 20 yr old female, I felt completely at ease with the thought of mothering girl children, but I was gripped by the fear that I would be woefully inept at raising a boy.
That fear evaporated of course, the moment he was laid on my breast, tiny and squalling. I would learn. Years later it's funny to reflect on that. I can't imagine life with girls. We do pretty well my men and me. But because of gender differences, it's hard to see myself in my boy children and sometimes it makes me feel a little sad. I would have liked a girl to remind myself of me. I would have loved to hear people say that she is the spitting and image of me, as they say about my youngest son and my husband. Or that she is a little Mommy like I was at that age. Or that she can't keep her nose out of a book. For that reason, I really miss the girl child that I will never have.
Late the other night as I sat in front of the computer bleary eyed; really too tired to write, but determined to take advantage of the rare moment of absolute peace and quiet, my oldest son stole down the steps and timidly called out to me. "Mom?"I was annoyed at having my solitude disrupted. With ill-concealed impatience, I snapped at him. "WHAT??"
There was a moment of silence, during which I assume, he was contemplating whether it was prudent to continue. "Ummmm, Mom, I can't sleep. Can I come down and talk to you?" I softened a little. I've been an insomniac for years and I can relate to the torture of lying in bed unable to sleep; body willing, but mind awhirl. "Come on down and tell me about it." I called.
He traipsed down the stairs and appeared before me squinting in the lamplight, blonde hair sticking up in riotous disarrary. I pulled him onto my lap, ignoring the fact that at 11 yrs old he is almost as tall as I am and his legs dangled nearly to the floor. Since we were alone, his dignity was not affronted and he did not resist, but settled against me with satisfying bonelessness.
"What is it Drew?" I asked as I tried to smooth the peaks and whorls in his hair. He sighed heavily, and replied, "Well...I've been thinking about my story...."He's been working dilligently for weeks on a very detailed story chronicling the adventures of a valiant Knight and his evil nemesis. "I keep thinking of things I want to write and I'm afraid I won't remember them in the morning. I feel like I want to write them down right now. I'll never be able to sleep if I don't."
In that moment, I saw myself in my son. I felt connected to him. I saw that some part of me would live on. I imagined a nameless faceless young descendant far in the future, earnestly scribbling his or her first story, being told..."You know...your great great grandmother Erin always wanted to be a writer." I hugged him hard enough to make him grunt, and said, "Go work on your story. You have 30 minutes."
He grinned and scampered off, mindful of every second. And when I tucked him in thirty minutes later, his eyes drifted quickly shut, his mind at ease; divested of the words that burgeon within him unbidden.
That's my boy.