When my two oldest were little I read an article about how we needed to spend one on one time with our kids.

It was going to make them feel even more loved and yadda yadda.

Ever the self-help junkie I set about doing just that.

I put my oldest who was four-years-old at the time into the car. As we begin to pull out of the driveway I announce we are going to the library to read books.


“I don’t want to go without Booey,” he replies.

Of course, having just read this all-important parenting article I plead my case.

“But it will be just the two of us and we will get some ice cream too,” I say.

“I don’t want to go without Booey,” he says once more.

Okay then. I pull back up the driveway and go into our house to get my two-year-old son. Once in the car, they smile excitedly at one another and off we go.

Of course, what do you think I do next?

You got it!

On another day I attempt to do the same thing with ‘Booey.’

I strap him into the car seat and announce we are going to the library to read some books.

“I don’t want to go without Tommy,” he says.

“But it will be just the two of us and we will get some ice cream too,” I say.

“I don’t want to go without Tommy,” he says once more.

And with that, I walk back into our house and my  Tommy and I make our way back to the car where once again they contentedly smile at one another and off we go. So much for the parenting articles. My boys had no interest in one on one time no matter the bribe. They wanted to be together.

This is one of my earliest memories of the joyful simplicity of boys.

They are exquisitely uncomplicated.

What they are is physical. 

I used to joke I didn’t understand why as a mother of boys I wasn’t a waif.

I spent years dodging basketballs in my kitchen or ducking as a football flew by my head or a skateboard was headed for my feet. And I held my breath as they flew off ramps, popped wheelies and waved from the tallest branches. I shook my head as they climbed on sofas and tables. And I worried as they rafted down dangerous rivers and got old enough to fearlessly face adolescence with stories I thankfully won’t hear anytime soon.

But emotionally boys are just easier.

Of course, at first, this scared me.

As a young mother, I went to my pediatrician’s office with my then two-year-old Tommy.

“Oh, my goodness he’s pushing kids when they take his toys,” I say. “One of my neighbors thinks he’s a bit rough.”

My pediatrician laughed and said, “Colleen, by any chance is your neighborhood all little girls?”

“Why, yes!” I exclaim. “Tommy is the only boy.”

“Colleen, little boys push and little girls cry at least for the most part,” she says.

And there you have it. 

I was destined to be the mother of boys!

Ever the worrier, there were days when my guys would come home from elementary school upset. Because someone had said something or they had been left out of a playdate or another similar type childhood malady. I would usually give them about an hour to do their own thing and then check on them.

“How are you feeling? Are you still upset?” I would ask feeling every bit of their young little angst in my own heart.

“About what?” They would routinely respond.

And just like that, I knew it was a gift for this fixer and worrier to be their mother. Boys just seem to get over things and get over them quickly.

They don’t tend to carry too much for too long.

They let the majority of it go.

I struggle with them leaving their childhood home, especially under these circumstances.

And I do believe they did need to stay throughout their high school years especially.

But it’s time to go. 

Last night, our dining room table was carried out of our house by a beautiful young couple.

I tearfully surprised myself watching the communal memories cross back over the threshold they once walked into.

It made me happy sad.

Happy the table was going to begin anew with babies once again wrapped around it.

Sad because out that door went family dinners, laughter, birthday songs, inside jokes, big family get-togethers, New Year’s goals, Valentine’s steak and lobster, Thanksgiving feasts, shared secrets, and shared dreams.

Moments later my youngest son grabs his skateboard from the garage.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“I see wide open space in the dining room,” he says.

Of course, you do!

Not yet an hour has passed but again all is right with the world.

I peer into the dining room as he maneuvers the board.

A smile wipes away my tears.

And I think…

God knew what he was doing when he gave me boys.


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