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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

Boys

Jenifer DeMattia

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I’ve always loved the quote, “Boys live adventures men only dream of”. But only recently, as my son quickly approaches age four, have I realized this may not be true. I came around the corner the other day and was surprised to look up and see my husband and our boy on the couch next to each other, completely unaware of the other. One on his laptop and the other on the iPad, heads cocked in the same way, with an identically detached look on their face. Our son has recently started using the potty and he’s all about going by himself, door shut and all. The only problem is that every time I go in after him there is pee on the seat and sometimes the floor. I realized after going in the bathroom after my husband, there was a similar scene. They both leave the room when the baby is crying and they both sleep in a mid-jumping jack position. They even have a similar whine when they are sick or get hurt. It’s quite eerie actually. They are very similar. Maybe, some men don’t really ever grow up. Maybe some men are living the adventure.

Our son, like most boys is addicted to exploration. Everyday offers something new. His favorite place to be is outside. In our back yard we have some large pine trees and we cut off some branches to create a little play area within them. Our son calls it, “the cave”. He explores the cave daily. His main fascination with the outdoors however, is the moon. He loves to point out when you can still see the moon in the morning, sometimes even when the sun has already risen. He asks frequent questions about the moon. What is it? Can I touch it? I think he longs to have one of his adventures there. The outdoors. Another thing they have in common like the excitement you can see on their faces when snow is falling. My mother-in-law told me soon after dating my husband that when he was young he got so excited about snow he would run around the backyard in his underwear celebrating. Now I could totally see our boy doing the same thing.

I told my husband about my observations. I asked him, “Do you still feel like a young boy sometimes?”

“No, not at all. That’s funny though”, he responded.

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What a shame I thought. All those years of telling him he acted like a child during arguments. In spite of all the times I told him he acts like a baby when he’s sick. I may have been willing to admit there may be something quite charming about that. That underneath the annoying aspects of his behavior, what I used to refer to as childish, may have been a little jealousy. Envious of his ability to still hold on to the kid inside because damn if being a little boy doesn’t seem like one hell of an adventure. But no, he didn’t feel that way. Too much responsibility. Too much stress. Too much awareness of how screwed up the world can be.

The other night I woke up at two in the morning to a screaming baby. My husband was not in the bed. As I walked the baby around looking for him, quickly I realized he wasn’t in the house. I noticed the back door was unlocked and I peeked outside. It was snowing. And my husband was up on our hill near the cave. I was witnessing him in the middle of an adventure. He was taking pictures. Pictures of trees, the sky. The moon. I guess what I take from this is that if I want to remember what I love to do, I should probably look to the beginning. I wonder though, would it even compare to the wild adventures in the minds of boys.