It’s not easy living in a house full of men.
I have often said (and those of you who know me can attest to this) that I was glad that I had boys. “I’m not the right kind of mom for girls,” I’d proclaim. “I’m not a pink ribbon, ballet dancing, fingernail painting kind of mom. I don’t like to shop, I’ve never liked Barbie (OK, maybe for a brief year or two when I used to play Barbies with Maureen Murtha on the front patio but that was only because that’s what Maureen wanted to do and I was just being gracious) and makeup is definitely not my thing.
Boys are simpler. Boys play with cars and trucks and legos. They climb trees and catch frogs and throw a baseball. They’re straight-forward, say what they mean kind of creatures who are satisfied with simple things like fresh air, rocks and shooting baskets in the driveway.
Yes, boys are simpler. Until you want to talk to them.
Actually, this is a fairly recent phenomenon. Up until a couple of years ago, my kids were rather chatty. There were times, and I remember them distinctly, that they would talk my ear off. It usually happened when we were in the car. While driving to the grocery store, one of them would launch into a discussion about whether dogs had eyebrows, or if there had ever been an ambidextrous Major League pitcher or whether it was possible to have a penguin as a pet and keep it in the refrigerator and I remember thinking, in one of those Van Gogh moments, that I should really enjoy this because it isn’t going to last forever. And sure enough, I was right.
Sometime in the last few years we entered the world of four letter words.
Take tonight for instance. I arrive home from the university after a long day. I have not seen the family since the wee hours of the morning. Between then and now, lots of things have happened. School, work, practice, life…. I mean, it’s been hours.
“Hey, how are you?” I say cheerfully, full of anticipation.
OK. So that was a set up. What did I expect? (“Great Mom. I’m a little tired. It’s been a long day. How are you?”) Right. What am I, on drugs?
“How was practice?”
“Did you do anything interesting?”
OK. That was informative. Next subject.
“Do you have any homework?”
OK. This is not working. Let’s move on.
“Are you hungry? What do you want to eat for dinner?”
I kid you not. This is an actual conversation.
Did I miss a memo? Is there something I’m not grasping here? Is it really that difficult to string two or three words together? How about a sentence? Does every conversation have to feel like the Spanish Inquisition?
I ran into a friend the other day. Her daughter is away at college for the first time. “She calls every day,” she tells me. “In fact, she calls so much that sometimes I can’t think of anything to talk to her about.”
And I wanted boys.
Be careful what you wish for.