Saturday Morning at 7:47am


This summer I have spent a lot of time with the boy child. He’s not in Hawaii, or Costa Rica, or Australia. I am not in China, or India, or New York. He’s on the sofa a lot. I’m on the sofa a lot. We sit together. I have heard his thoughts on great novels of the past 25 years, why he likes reality TV, and the interpretation of Pokemon. I have seen him drive cars, wander around the house in boxers, buy new shoes. All is not one giant swell of mother love, however. I bought him new soap. The Axe began to overwhelm me. Anyone who has spent time with teenage boys lately knows whereof I speak.

I have such empathy for boys. I see how hard it is for some to grow up and become a man. I remember talking once to my brother the psychologist. Explaining how even women highly competent in their jobs often want a man who will kill metaphorical monsters. How when you have children you are suddenly felled by lack of sleep, and nursing babies, and the enormous realization that you do not in any way know what you are doing. And were a monster to show up, you’d be in trouble. Even those of us who fought like hell in our careers take one look at that soft baby in our arms and another look at the charging monster and say to our partners, “You go kill it. You go kill it.” My brilliant brother said that when he sees monsters his brain tells him not to go near them. I sympathize.

To my great delight, the boy child has started to sing this summer. He sits in his room playing keyboard and I hear him singing other people’s songs. He calls me in to listen. Sometimes it sounds so beautiful I want to cry. Once I did. I don’t think he noticed. Not that his voice is perfect. I am realistic. He is not the next Andrea Bocelli. But he has something, a tone, something lovely and human beyond the joy I feel hearing my child do just about anything. I might be wrong about this. It’s as true as I can make it.

Yesterday he came out of his room. I was sitting on the sofa. “Mom,” he said, “Do you want to come hear my first song?”

Every mother reading this will now start to laugh so hard they fall off their sofas. In fact, everyone might fall off those sofas. Do I want to hear my son’s first song? Do I want to hear my son’s first song? Uh, yeah.

The song was good. Better than I expected. I felt the guilty pleasure every mother does when their child is good at something. I didn’t cry. I was happy.

It is different now that he is 19 than when he was 8, playing piano. I understand that. Or 5, strewing origami creatures across the dining room table. Those things I got to show off. I know, bad mom. Sorry. But it’s true. Now the stakes are higher. This is also true. I can’t let drop in casual conversation, “Oh, my son wrote his first song the other day.” It’s not my achievement. It’s his. He is not that soft baby in my arms, and I have known this for some time. It makes me cry only now and again.

Game on. Boy child 1. Monsters unknown.

25 Comments

  • 08/29/09
    10:19 am

    Reply

    Maureen@IslandRoar said...

    Maybe you can't let it drop in casual conversation, but you can write a lovely blog post on it for us to read.
    Boys, gotta love 'em.

  • 08/29/09
    11:31 am

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    materfamilias said...

    I remember realizing once, walking with my then 10-year old son and his 13-year old sister in a small town we were visiting, that even though he was small for his age, even though she and I were taller and stronger and capable and more experienced, his shoulders tightened perceptibly when the yahoos honked and yelled as they drove by — we talked about it a bit later and he admitted that he felt the male responsibility to protect us, even though his dad and I tried to do the gender-neutral thing as much as possible. The monsters were his to deal with.
    Now he's 24 and my oldest is 33 and you're absolutely right, the pride and protectiveness I feel have to travel incognito, well disguised. But I still feel them. Thanks for a great post — I love these Saturday morning observations!

  • 08/29/09
    11:54 am

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    The Mrs. said...

    I never thought of that. Divulging that would be like a shared secret that you can't share! Damn! That is so cute though! I would have cried.

  • 08/29/09
    1:31 pm

    Reply

    smiles4u said...

    I love your words. I love how you captured "sons" and being mothers to them. I love that your son shares his songs with you. This truely was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this…I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it this afternoon!

  • 08/29/09
    2:58 pm

    Reply

    Belle (from Life of a...) said...

    I spent the whole past week trying to make everything OK for my 23 year old son. TRY, being the operative word. I can't do that anymore…it's easy when they are little. I don't think that we ever lose the desire to make our kids' worlds as perfect as we can. I do, however, still tend to brag on his accomplishments and I think you should brag on your son too…after all, you helped him become all that he is and will become in the future.

  • 08/29/09
    4:14 pm

    Reply

    vintage simple said...

    My little guy is 5… So nice to read about what's ahead in this touching, jumbled mess we call life. Thank you for a lovely post… I must admit, I got a little teary-eyed there for a moment.
    -maria

  • 08/29/09
    4:34 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Thank you everyone for letting me write about my kids. Of course, it's so funny. These creatures we rhapsodize over do spend a lot of time on their various sofas, don't they…mine is right over there as I speak.

  • 08/29/09
    4:59 pm

    Reply

    Jeffrey Tang said...

    A beautiful post. That's really all I can say without resorting to something melodramatic. So. Simply: a beautiful post.

  • 08/29/09
    6:12 pm

    Reply

    petitechablis said...

    About a year after we started dating, I brought Econo Boy to my mother's home, and he spent the night. My brother took it upon himself to lecture me about how he felt that was "not appropriate" and that he "just hoped [I] was being careful." (Number of girlfriends he's brought overnight: way, way more than my number of boyfriends!)

    Your post, and these comments, put that into a different light. It *is* hard for someone to grow up and be a man. There is a feeling of responsibility and weight on the shoulders that is somehow different from all the weights and responsibilities women are asked to carry.

    Great post.

  • 08/29/09
    10:46 pm

    Reply

    metscan said...

    Thanks for a great post. Having two daughters, I don´t know what it is like with boys. I can imagine, that the father´s role is more demanding though. I´m not quite sure, how my husband ( who grew up losing his dad at a young age ), had managed with a son. Probably it would have been a great experience for him, he could have shared all the things he missed. I have lacked a mother and raising my daughters has been ( now when I look back at it ), pleasing. Maybe I have even overdone my share ( many years of breast-feeding ).

  • 08/30/09
    2:10 am

    Reply

    Buckeroomama said...

    I love your all your posts, but most especially the ones about motherhood. Thanks so much for sharing what I hope will be a glimpse of what life might be like 15 years down the line.

    At any age, whatever our children's achievements (first ABC song, first math equation, first painting, graduating from university, winning the Pulitzer, etc.), I do believe that they are their own… and never ever ours, but yes, I guess that gets more evident as they get older. :)

    How sweet that your son invites you to listen to his first song.

  • 08/30/09
    7:10 am

    Reply

    Julia Remix said...

    This reminds me of when Kid B lived with us. 19 year olds can be very fun, interesting people.

  • 08/30/09
    1:34 pm

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    Town & Country Mom said...

    My oldest boy is 17; he is taller, stronger, and, when it comes to calculus and physics and probably other things as well, way smarter than I. We discovered last year that he has a pleasant singing voice after he was drafted to play a small role in a play. (He would rather play tennis and lie on the sofa and text his girlfriend.) I'm learning to treasure his accomplishments by keeping them to myself, but, honestly, I miss the bragging.

  • 08/30/09
    2:04 pm

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    Kate said...

    Such a beautiful post. I had never thought of the feelings that must come as a child – especially a boy – grows. I look forward to these feelings, one day!

  • 08/30/09
    4:27 pm

    Reply

    Plus Size Bride said...

    I believe Axe was created so we would know WHEN and IF the teenage boy in the house actually used SOAP when he took his shower! I'm learning lots with a 15 year old SS.
    I have found he is much more chatty with me when I make something that has large quantities of sugar and butter in it.

  • 08/30/09
    6:09 pm

    Reply

    Kristen said...

    Sweet. Thank you for sharing that moment.

  • 08/30/09
    7:01 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    You are welcome. It's me who is really thanking you all for these comment and for listening. Motherhood doesn't usually come with a cheering section. And I too had many years of nursing. As in many.

  • 08/31/09
    4:53 am

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    Jill said...

    Ok…this was lovely. You made me wish a little bit, that I had a boy child…any child. Beautiful words, woman!!

  • 08/31/09
    8:14 am

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    Jan said...

    This made me a little weepy, which is why it's taken a day or so to respond.

    Absolutely lovely post.

  • 08/31/09
    11:39 am

    Reply

    Serg Riva said...

    nice post.

  • 09/01/09
    5:10 pm

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    Amanda said...

    "Boy child one. Monsters unknown."

    Please can you write a poem called this? Please.

  • 09/02/09
    10:00 am

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    Jill said...

    I'm with Amanda!

  • 09/03/09
    3:57 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    I love poetic prose but I'm afraid my poetry would be prosaic. Only fair. Amanda, why don't you write it:)?

  • 09/04/09
    9:50 am

    Reply

    The Cranky Product Managers said...

    Gack. You made the Cranky Product Manager cry with this post. How dare you put her in touch with her feelings!!!!

  • 09/04/09
    10:37 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Oh gosh. Product managers are made of steel. Forged by nasty engineers and insane salespeople. My apologies…

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