Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Oh Boy/s

A couple tears roll down my cheek and I wipe them away in the dark. It’s the winter of 2009 and I’ve just been told the baby inside me is a boy. The prominent display of his man bits laugh at my quiet sadness.  A mother to a boy? What does that look like?

Flashes of rowdy, loud boys devouring claimed contents from my fridge and simultaneously throwing balls and emitting farts (one butt cheek lifted for effect) keyed up in my mind, I let the disappointment sit for a moment in my heart before I took a deep breath, looked over to my happy husband, and booted the negativity for some maybe, hopefully yet-to-be-known positives that are sure to show up with our….son. Wow, a son!

Little did I know. God had big boy-plans for me. Tap, tap yet-to-be-mommy, Ashley. Psst. You’re gonna have 3 boys---in a row...or I guess more like a triangle….but there’s gonna be THREE!!

Alistair found and enjoyed an uncapped marker and also, do girls play-bite shoes?

If it is a physical object, it has been in Thomas’s mouth. His crib looks like it wasn’t a baby who took up residence within but rather a beaver. For the first two years of his life, my stance insisted I was practicing for a quarterback position. Last week, he announced to me through the back screen door, “Mom, I had to go to the bathroom but I just peed right there in my puddle instead, so I’m good!”

Thomas is non-stop either physically or mentally and his strong will and persistent curiosity has me either moving, thinking, watching, teaching, or managing at all moments of the day. Then there’s the twins. Sure, they’re just about the easiest going babies I’ve ever met, but there’s two and they’re buddies and they will surely follow in Thomas’s path of turning carrots into guns and sticks into swords and wrestling/shouting/battle-crying/climbing/exploring their way into a madness with me on the edge, one eyebrow lifted for effect.

It was last Easter season during a car trip home to his parents’ that I spilled my emotions for our family of 4 guys and me. Would it always be that? Will I get overrun by all the guys? How do I raise the opposite sex? Will we ever have nice things? And seriously, I swear I can. not. take. farting so please help me out with this!

Before my feel-y self melted, my husband turned my thought process around and reminded me that we are not victim to our circumstances. As parents, we have the great privilege of nurturing our unique family dynamic. Ours happens to be three sons, so what are we to make of that? The possibilities are endless.  

It’s been a year now since that conversation in the car where Paul pumped me up for doling out project orders to my guy crew and putting trash duty on everyone’s shoulders but mine. I’m surprised what a difference a year can make for the heart. I cherish every day with my kids and the desire I may have had for a girl over 4 years ago has been trumped entirely by living a rich life with the gifts I have been given (even if that means being horrified by the state of the bathroom at least 3 times a week).

A great shift has occurred in my thoughts and I'm very grateful for this change. Instead of thinking about my life with three boys, I’m dreaming up and figuring out what I can do for them. It didn’t seem like I had much to offer at first-- My sword fight quickly dissolves into a dance party--but I’m a woman and I know how wonderful it is when men protect, provide, honor and respect me …. and also know how to cook a meal, iron a shirt, or run the vacuum without a second thought (I’m married to one!)

When I discipline Thomas now, a herd of invisible young women are at my back. Future classmates, crushes, a shadow-silhouette of a wife, an eager daughter.  I assert his responsibility to do right or the need to respect others and I think of how it is my job to help mold his character so he can see a woman's worth, a person’s worth, his worth, and treat all accordingly. It’s so messy most days but more and more I remember what my role is all about.

The humility and purpose in fostering their independence has helped shake me from silly things like fretting the inevitable ER trips up ahead or wishing I could use my spare time perusing Etsy for pink bows.   Being a mom is not about me. I love it. I really, really do and I would love it in any form.  I love tickle fights and building puzzles and adventures outside, but those are really just the perks. They're footnote blossoms to the more important thing-- those deep roots being formed within my gentlemen-in-training:  To seek truth. To know goodness. And to please, for the love of all things and your mother, only do “that” in a field, a bathroom, or on your way taking out the trash.


  1. Mary Claire has a particular love for uncapped markers, and all my kids have loved chewing on shoes, so I think it's a baby thing more than a boy thing :P But the peeing!!! I remember when John Paul was *just* potty trained and thought he could just pull down his pants and pee right there on the playground... Yikes! And he peed in the gutter in our backyard the other day. Better in the yard than in public, right? Here I am praying for more testosterone around the house so he's not constantly surrounded by girls, but boys sure do come with their own set of difficulties!

  2. Beautiful post! I have my own male "triangle." I remember waiting for the ultrasound when we'd find out the twins' genders and thinking, man, what if it's two more boys? But then I had this moment of intense fear that it would be two girls because I have no idea how to raise girls! Heh.