They are still little boys.
If I didn’t have two of my own, I wouldn’t think the word “little” could describe boys getting ready for middle school. I never would have thought that 11-year-olds would still play with stuffed animals and think bunnies are cute, or consider it a treat to sleep with Mom. “Bears are still hibernating, right Mom?”
Along with thinking about bears and bunnies, they like to skip stones and feed ducks.
What was I thinking? I guess a bunch of stuff that was wrong. How much of the rest of what I think about is wrong?
Is it wrong to be surprised that when I bring cardboard boxes home, they still want to climb inside and turn them into snack bars?
I’ll never know the difference between raising girls and raising boys, but I know it never occurs to me to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, or agonize with them over what to wear to school in the morning. Jake and Eli just take something out of the drawer and put it on, hopefully not the same shirt they wore yesterday. Is “maturity” gender-dependent, or something entirely different for boys and girls? I don’t know. Here is Eli decorating Jake’s DJ lights with stuffed reindeer.
Our boys, at age 11, are not so different than the little boys we’ve always known. Hamsters, cupcakes, and bike rides are still enough to spark joy and brighten up an afternoon. We listen to a lot of music and they like the timeless classics, like “Tequila” by the Champs, “Jump” by David Lee Roth, anything by U2 or the Beatles.
Other songs we listen to these days are “Happier” by Marshmello, “Waiting for Love” by Avicci, “Hello” by Nico Santos, and “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. The hedgehog likes music too.
We limit screen time, although these days No Screen Time means tying each other up in the bedroom and timing how long it takes to break free.
My eleven year old boys are surprisingly sweet. They come to check on me when I’m sick, and like to take baths every day. We watch Anne of Green Gables together (the old version), and the Great British Baking Show. For my birthday they made me a birthday cake, all by themselves.
During sleepovers we hear them share stories with their friends about the cute things their pets do. They talk to us at dinner about their teachers, and what happens in the cafeteria at school (Alejandro put a potato in my water glass!). They still have an irresistible urge to do somersaults on my freshly made bed, and shoot me with nerf bullets during yoga. Death Star Waffles appear at breakfast.
I keep thinking I won’t be able to call them my Little Boys much longer, but I don’t think we’re there just yet.
It’s weird how kids change you. It’s also weird how kids don’t change you.
I wonder about the version of myself that I know as a Mom of Boys. Half of my life is spent at work, and the other half is spent immersed in a pre-teen boy world of minecraft, action movies, and sports on the weekends. There are no nail salons, shopping trips, or Saturday afternoons braiding hair. All the experiences of motherhood I have are filtered through being a Mom of Boys. What is a Mom in her 40’s, anyway?
I guess just someone who’s lucky enough to maintain her own sense of Self just a little, and appreciate that this version of ourselves is the right one, because it’s the only version we’ll ever know.
The Certainty. The random details, colliding into a music note again.
This time the music note is being a Mom of Boys, and was obviously meant to be Our Song.