April in Glenwood: Boys will be boys
I love that old wive’s tale that says if a mother gives birth to three boys, she automatically goes to heaven. I’ve known some families with three boys over the years.
In my experience, mom’s worthy of sainthood.
I suppose the same can be said about mothers with three daughters. Especially those who experience puberty simultaneously, or within close proximity to each other. It’s hard to imagine what three of high school-me would be like to raise. Especially when I first learned about a little form of irony called sarcasm.
I’m sure that was charming for my mother.
One of the families I grew up with that had three boys was especially blessed with a trio of football players. Not only were they football players, they were also linemen. And heavyweight wrestlers. Meaning food was integral, especially in those growth-spurting high school years. The gallons of milk and pounds of meat and cheese consumed reached epic levels when all three boys, born just a few years apart, were in their teens. I once saw my good friend Wally, the middle of the three, eat an entire pint of cottage cheese in one sitting after school.
A growing lineman needs his dairy.
Another family with three boys I know have some great stories about their childhoods in the ’70s and ’80s. They spent as much time as they could playing outside. And since boys will be boys — not in the Donald Trump way, but rather the adventurous and curious kind — they liked to see what fun they could get into in the woods. I think they may have been playing an old pre-politically correct game popular with our generation that I’ll skip naming.
Let’s just say I still can’t believe we still have a football team called the Washington Redskins.
Anyway, the youngest of the three boys ended up being tied to the tree as part of this particular pre-PC game. All in childhood jest, of course. The boys were called in for dinner, and their mother was busy finishing up in the kitchen, likely distracted. As the family was ready to sit down to eat, she noticed Boy #3 was suspiciously missing.
“Where’s Waldo?*” she asked.
(*name changed to protect identity)
“Haven’t seen him,” a brother answered.
But we all know Mom knows best. She was on to the shenanigans, looking out the window to see Brother #3 still outside, tied to the tree. I imagine some chores were in order for the older brothers as punishment. That story makes me chuckle because it’s like something straight out of one of my favorite movies, “A Christmas Story.” Like schoolyard kids double-dog daring their classmate to lick the flagpole in the wintertime.
Everyone knows you can’t turn down a double-dog dare.
At this point in my life, I don’t have many plans for being the mother of three boys. I’m close enough, though. I’m surrounded by two boys and their father in our household, so maybe heaven is more of an option than I thought. I just need to follow in the footsteps of those mothers of boys who have come before me. They’ve shown me the patience and tenderness it takes to raise boys who show politeness and respect for others, especially women. They grow used to all that boys bring to life, including extra mud and dirt, found in all kinds of places.
Although I was known to bake my share of mud pies when I was 6.
If boys will be boys, in that they might be more rambunctious by holding wrestling matches in the living room or eating entire pints of cottage cheese in one sitting, I say bring it on. I might know more about society’s assigned female gender-specific issues, like how hot curlers work or what shoes go with what outfit. But I really love the idea that being the mother of boys means I can teach them so much more of what I know about being a woman. Like how words are powerful, particularly when exchanged between the two genders in the home and workplace. That their actions, especially directed at women, speak louder than words.
And that Mom knows best.
April E. Allford will miss one of the best mothers she’s ever known, Emily Espich. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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