On the Art of Raising Boys
Tucking Junior Ranger into bed it’s finally sinking in. He has officially switched over to Team Dad. The little man who used to ask me for ‘just one more’ hug no longer feels the need for any. The little man who believed every word I told him, now questions and corrects me every chance he can. I didn’t know this is what i signed on for when raising boys.
“No mom, I can do it” he says as I try to help him reach the cup that is clearly out of his reach.
“Mom, it’s not like this. It’s like this”, as the crayon is snatched out of my hand so he can show me how it is really done.
The annoyance in his voice is clear as I try to joke playfully with him.
Our relationship has seemed to take a turn over night. The boy who used to think I was always right is now rolling his eyes and turning his back to me.
I have never been the ‘I’m so sad my baby is growing up’ mom. I consider it an absolute blessing to see your child reach 1 month old, to see them crawl, and start to walk, and cheer them on in each endeavor they take on. There are so many parents out there who have only one wish, and it is to see their children reach and leap ahead of these moments we choose to feel sad about. Seeing my babies get older and grow up has never been bittersweet. But if I am honest with myself I will tell you that seeing Junior Ranger switch over to team dad knocks the breath out of me. I’ve always known we’d probably reach a time where he didn’t want to cuddle any more, and where he needed space. But I never really thought I would feel such distance between us. I have been his world, and he mine, for 5 incredible years.
The manual for raising boys is pretty vague. In fact I’m convinced it’s more of an art form than anything. But if you follow a few key principles you should do alright.
They like the dirt: let them play in it.
They like danger: let them take risks.
They love you: trust this.
And that’s what I’m doing. When he looks at me like I’m some type of extra terrestrial, when he throws me an attitude, when he corrects me when he thinks I am wrong… I simply smile at him. Battling with a 5 year old isn’t something i enjoy. I’m not going to force him to think that I am always right (for how will he ever stand up for what he believes?). Or convince him that I really am human (who’s to say we are alone in this universe?). Or tell him that he should at least pretend to like me again (fake friendships will get him only heartache in life). He is growing and I should be happy! I should be thrilled that he is confident enough in himself to feel secure in the decisions he is making without his mommy holding his hand. That was my goal while raising boys.
Then just when you think he’s completely turned from the little boy you’ve known… he wakes you up holding a bright red pipe cleaner that he has bent in the shape of a distorted heart and hands it to you. No words needed, just a simple token to let mom know that she still holds his heart and always will.