Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On being boys


Summer is officially over.  All our cousins are back in school, we've attended Elliott's preschool orientation and we've gone to the store to buy some new kicks.  There is no need for "back-to-school" clothes when school starts and the days are still in the 90's (and your kid is in preschool and there is no concept of fashion amongst the 4 year old boy set).  There is however a need for new shoes when the kicks of summer have holes in the sides and 4.5 year olds are way to cool for Velcro.

Our summer went by in a blur.  Summer sometimes feels like a sprint.  We wait all year longing for the lazy days to come.  We wait for the adventures, the warm, the swimming, the dirt, the sprinklers, the friends and then as soon as summer hits, it's like we're making a mad dash to win the race to fall and before we know it, those longed for three months have vanished.  We do our best to look into the stands and wave to our families as we cross the finish line, but summer is so fleeting.  It's never enough.  There is more to do than time to do it.

Especially I think, when you are a little boy.  We've been on so many adventures this summer.  The first week of June I typed up a list and posted it to the fridge of everything we could do this summer.  I'd say we did 75% of our list at least once, some stuff more than once.  These boys of mine cannot get enough grass and dirt and wind and animals and water fights.


In the last few weeks I've been reading a book titled, "Boys should be boys: 7 secrets to raising healthy sons" by Dr. Meg Meeker.  It's been a fascinating read for me, the mother of two such creatures.  Doctor Meeker says that boys need three things to grow into good men. 
1.  a healthy relationship with mom and dad
2.  faith in God.
3.  solid family life.

I've been thinking about these things in relation to my kids a lot as I reflect over the summer.  Dr. Meeker says boys need to be outside, without too many rules and play and imagine and adventure.  That they need time away from gadgets and gizmo's that alienate them from their families.  They need moms who dig in the dirt and dads who do laundry.  They need to spend more time with both parents than daughters do. 

There is a whole chapter devoted to how moms can mess up their sons and the pitfalls to avoid.  There is another chapter dedicated to helping dads understand how to let their sons know that they are proud of them, and give their blessings to their boys as children so that they grow up to be good adults.  I learned a lot from reading this book about my kids, their brains, and how to relax and let them be boys.

Dr. Meeker repeats over and over again that boys need time with their parents (both one on one and together) and with their families as much as possible.  As I reflect on this past summer, I have to admit that it's maybe going to go down on the records as one of the best.  We didn't go on any trips, do anything fancy or crazy, but we spent the summer as a family.
June was crazy with the move, an overworked dad and a stressed to the max mom.  When our dad left us for two weeks to go to Australia in July, saying that our lives were bordering on disaster is an understatement.  There was just too much!  You all know what I'm talking about right?

Well, the two weeks ended and for the next five, we had our dad.  We had our family.  Every single day felt like a Saturday because we were sleeping in, spending time together and having fun.  Our dad went on our weekly outings with the gang.  We worked on projects with the boys.  We went to the park, to shavy jones, swimming at great grandpas and so many other things together.  We spent more time together this summer as a family - in a five week period, than, honestly, we did in the previous 3 months.

Oh summer! This year, you truly blessed our family.

Blessed us with sun, and play, and family time.  Blessed us with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.  Blessed us with hamburgers and parties, and swimming in the dark.  Blessed us with bug hunts, train adventures, weekly excursions, lazy mornings, learning to cross our eyes and lots of laughter.


I know my boys are little and that memories for them are pretty fleeting.  Things blur together and they probably won't remember the summer their dad was home too much once they get bigger.  But for me, being the goofy mom walking a few steps behind with her camera, this will go down as one of the best summers we'll ever have.




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