Boys will be…Men.

Two decades ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. A rainbow baby, forced to arrive into this world, and a full 8 pounds, with complications throughout his delivery, I was smitten from the get go. I worked hard for this miracle child’s safe arrival, and knew that he would leave an imprint on my heart. What I didn’t know at the time, but continue to learn more and more each day, is that he is FULL of heart, and, much to his dismay, much like his mom in so many ways.
He has had more than his share of challenges, having been a severely allergic child, to numerous things, and reliant on epinephrine which he has carried on his person for almost as long as I can imagine. This was often met with resistance from many people surrounding him, from a lack of play dates, to legally advocating for being allowed to carry epi pens and ride the school bus. Responsibility came early to this little boy, who was required to carry his epis (auto injectors) with him from about 19 months old, in his little duck backpack, until he began carrying them in assorted waist packs that changed sizes and styles throughout his growing years.
He spent years working on his allergy challenges and self esteem, not to mention his music, and is an accomplished flautist because of it. Listening to him play, is like nothing I have ever heard or could even imagine that one day, that small child, carrying his school back pack, wearing his waist pack, and toting along that flute to school, would sound like…truly beautiful. He has been a section leader, taught music to others, and became a lifeguard, head lifeguard, and water safety instructor at earlier ages than others might. I listened in awe at his college auditions from outside audition rooms, as the music swelled, as those auditioning him engaged him in conversation, and shared exchanges. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but he always left with a handshake, a smile, and a kudos to his mom in the hallway, many moments longer than other candidates remained amongst the evaluators. However, the ultimate goal that I had for him, early on, was to not only be a contributing person to society, but to do it lovingly, and with care to others, and to treat them with the ultimate respect. I joked, early on, that I was raising the perfect spouse. But, I really wasn’t joking, and one day, someone will enjoy the fruit of my labors!
I’ve noticed much growth in him as of late, both spiritually, and emotionally. Along with adjustment and finding your niche, comes great potential. I never doubted the intelligence of my son; he has always been intelligent, but, he didn’t have to work as hard at it as others, as logic came easily, and he therefore didn’t often study or prepare ahead of time for things, and found it quite difficult when he had no choice but to change his ways. The conversations are changing, the sharing has increased, the defenses are lowering, and he reaches out sporadically to check on his mom. The moments of tenderness are increasing, and it touches my heart. He reminds me often that he is not a kid, and he’s not, but like any mother will tell you, he will always be my kid.
I’m reminded of a few things over the last couple of weeks… Early on, I kept an ongoing communication journal, if you will, between him and myself, in a marble composition book. It was an idea I stole from his preschool teacher who required a daily journal entry, just to get my, 3, 4, and then 5 year old writing. I did the same thing at home, but, instead, wrote to him, and left it under his pillow, just to keep the lines of communication open between us, allowing him to respond to me, as I have always worked crazy hours, and I know that it’s much easier to write as they get older, than talk, face to face. Eventually this fell by the wayside, but then, years later, when I got an iPad, he left me notes, which he challenged me to find, and conveniently, this was after those sleep away camp letters arrived less often, and then ceased. I would have my iPad charging somewhere accessible, and, every now and then, there’d be a note to respond to. Next, came texting… I was left in the dust at first, as I didn’t have a texting plan, but then I caught on. Texting now, gets a bum rap, but, it’s been a lifeline for us during times when talking by phone just won’t do. He’s not as far away geographically as his older college sibling, but the distance feels similar. We’ve always talked openly about everything, and for that I am grateful, but, I think, as a parent, those seeds must be planted early on. When he was home on break, I took him out, just us, to a deli for matzoh ball soup, which we sporadically did as a mother/son date night when he was little and thereafter. He didn’t recall having done that, but put down the phone on his own, and easily slipped into conversation with me in the comfort of his surroundings. We both love matzoh ball soup, sushi, and Broadway musicals, as well as many other things that he probably never thought we had in common. And, I know, as well, that we have our differences. But, I’m finding now that it’s a wonderful thing to see that not only will boys be boys, but boys will be men. And I do hope, that my man will be the man I hoped he would be, because it already looks like he’s well on his way.


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