(Wow, this is probably really boring! Maybe I'll skip telling you about when I learned how to embed Internet links in my posts--it was thrilling for me to be able to add this new techno-skill to my blogging repertoire, but I doubt you would find that story at all scintillating.)
I must admit that adding a "life with boys" tag to some of my posts was inspired in part by reading Rachel Balducci's awesome book Raising Boys is a Full Contact Sport. My husband and I both read it, actually, and we both felt like she could have been talking about us! Like us, she and her husband were blessed with five sons in a row--although they did go on to add a daughter to their family, which we did not. Her description of life around her house with five loud, lively, competitive, sports-crazy, exasperating and at the same time ineffably sweet boys, pretty much mirrors what ours was like for many years, before the nest got emptied out. (Was she hiding in our house or something? If not, then how else would she have known about calling seriously overgrown toenails, a hallmark of life with hygiene-wary young lads, "talons"? Well, in the Pearl household when they got that long and gross we called them "raptor talons," because we REALLY like dinosaurs; but still...)
Over the two years I've been working on this blog, I've often written about the weirdly wonderful experience of being a mother to all male children; it's such a part of who I am, and some of my favorite posts have been the ones where I try to describe how uniquely blessed I feel. Surely, there should be an easy way for a reader to find those posts so near and dear to my heart, I thought. (You're welcome, by the way.)
I feel a kinship to Rachel Balducci. When she was out with her crew, strangers would come up to her and ask if she was going to try for her girl; I got that question all the time, too, along with pitying cries of, "Five boys! Oh, better you than me!" Her boys have every one of the Calvin and Hobbes books; so did ours, and they devoured them all. The similarities between the Balducci household and the Pearl household are significant, let me tell you. The competitiveness. The tussles. The need to win every contest. The interest little boys have in bodily functions, but the disinterest they have in the hygienic practices needed for the upkeep of said body...I could go on, but I won't.
I love all the funny stuff in this book, and I can so relate to all of it! But it's the poignant way Balducci speaks of the privilege (yes, the privilege!) of having all sons that really tugs at my heart, because she so perfectly expresses how I feel about my guys. She writes, "I am almost acutely aware of the honor and privilege it is to be raising my sons. These boys in my care are tomorrow's men, and like parents the world over Paul and I will have a direct impact on the future through the way we raise our children."
Boys are very sweet to their mothers. When my boys were young pups who were pinging off the walls at times, my husband would assure me that one day I would have tall, strapping lads walking on either side of me, protecting me and treating me like a queen--fine men who would go out in the world and make it a better place. And that day has come. I love this quote from Balducci's book, because this is it, in a nutshell--this is the way I feel about my relationship with my sons: "It is certainly a mutual admiration society, even on the days when child rearing is grungier and louder than I would have imagined. These boys are the jewels in my very rustic crown, a crown I wear with a complicated mixture of pride and humility."
I love, love, love this book! When I was younger I read Jean Kerr's Please Don't Eat the Daisies, another great book for mothers of boys, and it too was funny and touching. But Raising Boys is a Full Contact Sport is even better. It's sharp, witty, and skillfully written. And even though it speaks to me in a special way, I don't believe you have to be a mother of all boys to enjoy it.
All that being said, having three granddaughters is so delightful! And I wouldn't want you to miss seeing pictures of my little sweethearts, so I added a "grandchildren" tag to some of my posts, too, so that pictures like this one wouldn't be too hard to find in my mega-category called "family."