In Defense of (My) Boys

Sometimes I feel like a movie star in my own home. And it has nothing to do with those movie star glasses. Which I don’t own, by the way. I also don’t drink out of a champagne glass, juice or otherwise. It isn’t my thing. My movie star status is simpler. It’s because I’m the only one of my kind. In a home that houses many of the other kind.

And, also, because let’s face it, everyone in my home, including our little boy dog, likes me best.

I am not alone in living in a house full of foreigners. Most of my closest friends do, too. And together, we bash boys like no one’s business. We own that right. Because we have a statistical sampling. And although the differences are great, the similarities are greater. And although the bashing is fun, the praising is much more satisfying.

And, so, I give you, 8 reasons to love (my) boys:

1. Spontaneous Pool Tricks. As I sit, not sipping my champagne, eyeglass-less, squinting into the sun, I am occasionally blessed with a spectacle like none other. Suddenly and without warning, interrupting my peaceful sun worshipping, comes a screaming pack of wildness. They front flip, back flip, flip over pyramids of friends. They chicken fight, capture flags, dunk basketballs. These fetes are for the pleasure of the participants. They don’t care who watches. But I get to, anyway.

2. Football Sunday. This consists of four solid hours, sometimes more, when no one asks about mealtime plans or locations of sneakers. No one wants help with homework or Pop Tarts toasted. There is no fighting or bickering or teasing. All screaming is done directly at the TV. Food is delivered to the door, by a friendly guy in a Dominos shirt. I slip in and out of the house, unnoticed, on secret shopping trips, where I buy nothing that isn’t for me. When I’m not shopping, I am reading. Uninterrupted.

3. Rose-colored Mom Glasses. No one notices when I don’t get a haircut or, more importantly, a hair coloring. Sometimes I have a big patch of gray hair, right down the middle of my head. No comments. At all. Except sometimes I am told that my hair is very, very soft. They tell me this for no other reason than because, to them, it is.

4. Loud Dinners. Yes, there is a lot of burping at the dinner table. That happens. And the poop talk. That too. Conversations are interrupt-driven. And most take place while carefully balancing chairs on two legs. But it’s never quiet. There is lots of laughter. Off color jokes and sexist remarks abound. I’ve learned interesting slang during dinner. Too interesting to repeat. And watched my share of Youtube videos. Ones that cannot wait until after the table is cleared. I will remember these dinners, these loud and messy dinners, when they are no longer.

5. Arm Wrestles and Other Contests of Strength. I have not won an arm wrestle in quite some time.  I still enjoy them. I like the build up, the excitement, the knowledge that regardless of how long I stay in that neutral position, eventually, my arm will be slammed down on the table and victory will be declared. My boys arm wrestle me even though they’ve won before we begin. It’s different when they wrestle dad. That’s a match-up with subtexts of dominance and power. With me, its just fun. Besides, I win most of the battles in our home. I can give them the arm wrestles. Also, it is the closest thing I get to holding their hands.

6. Disorganization. My days of sweet talking a janitor to get into a locked school building are numbered. Soon, I will no longer be needed to locate lost test material in over-stuffed lockers or hunt through the Lost and Found for expensive sweatshirts. I won’t trip over a backpack, labeled in my handwriting, while walking the dog blocks from our home. Or find socks in the pool shed and shirts in the flower beds. There will come a time when they can find their own stuff. All of the time. And it will be in a house that is not mine, but theirs. And I will be perfectly organized, but also a little lonely.

7. Video Game Wars. My sons have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of enemies in our basement. They’ve also won Super Bowls, scored hat tricks, mined for gold, and pillaged large cities. I play no part in their video lives. I know little of what goes on at the bottom of those stairs. But I do hear the way they work together to achieve an otherwise meaningless objective. If it takes a little electronic death and destruction to get some real-life brotherly love, so be it. Game on.

8. Bed Time. I do not know what it is like to put a daughter to bed. My fantasy includes some hair braiding and a pink night gown. The rest of it, I don’t know. But honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of tucking in at our house these days. I’m usually in bed before they are; I value a good night’s rest. Often, just before sleep arrives, I’ll hear a crash, a slam, really heavy feet pounding up the stairs. One of them will throw open the door and proclaim something. What he did. Who he saw. Which team won. How much fun. Whichever boy is standing at my bedside will be smelly, sweaty, and not wearing pink. But he will most certainly be mine. That’s good enough.

And, except for the inability to replace a roll of toilet paper, they are not a bad lot.

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