Being a mother of four boys means you hear this a lot: ‘what a team you have’ (every sport, yes!), ‘wow – all that testosterone’ (uh…yeah), ‘what a clan’ (brotherhood is spectacular), ‘what a mess your house must be’ (true that), and of course the typical, ‘bet you wanted a girl’ comment that always leaves me scratching my head a bit. I admit, my life has become boy-centric and the male perspective can be heard in stereo. There are definitely fundamental differences between boys and girls (beyond food consumption) that often make me think that not only are men from Mars and women from Venus, but also I challenge the whereabouts of the universe they process information in!
However, I did have the most incredible start to the day the other day. One of my boys rang me from the local supermarket from nowhere, California. He’s living and working on a crop farm this summer, flying solo there for a month. He Facetime’d to go over his shopping list for vegetarian meals he’s planning on making. I was, in fact, a vegetarian for eleven years so I have points in this area. It’s the weekend and after shopping and cooking, he’s going to read, and catch up with friends on the phone. With no wifi, and the heat intense, activities are kept simple. He’ll end the day with a sunset jog through the fields. Man oh man – sounds like an early version of many a weekend I had at his age, an age without internet and a lot of girl chat on the phone…minus the farm.
Then a bit later, my other son wakes and wants to read lines for his scene-study class. He’s recently discovered acting and is loving it. Going through the scene brings me right back to endless hours rehearsing for class, a play, a student film, a tv show – when I was a young actress. We start the scene and both quickly realize that it’s a story involving a couple just after they’ve had sex. Awkward!! My son ignores this fact and keeps going, so I do the same. Neither of us look up from our pages when the female character ‘ooh’s’ and the male character ‘aaah’s’. I mean, seriously?? But I was not going to give up my poker face first! He hits the beats whilst I disguise my inner disco freak out with equal conviction of lines (note the actress in me). He asks to do it again. I sigh.
Then, my eldest comes into the kitchen to make his morning coffee at the crack of 2pm. He’s playing his guitar, walking in circles whilst singing a new tune he’s written late night. I watch his creative process flowing- reminding me of how my best ideas arrived out of movement…and coffee. His hair is thick and wild and it honestly looks exactly like mine did when he was a wee baby and I decided to cut all of it off. I was in the middle of writing a screenplay and thought I’d look like Sela Ward. Worst mistake – even strangers told me it looked awful. Gotta laugh. But on him, wow, he rocks it and makes crazy hair look cool and interesting. We share some caffeine listening to his new creation. I feel his pulse and it takes me back to mine for sure.
Then my thoughts carry to my youngest. He is away in the wilderness. I never did such an adventure, but I had the same spirit. He is looking at stars (check) and living without screens – essential for our kids and own self too- but he’s doing something outside the box that I totally identify with and strived for when I was his age. Something different; an identity that didn’t just follow expectations. He doesn’t know it but he’s taken my ideas and transformed them into a reality. I miss him the way my mom must have missed me when she couldn’t connect.
No – I don’t physically see myself in my boys or note that they are just like me. But in this day, I saw a flip-book of my life and found each of them on the pages. It was so strange to experience what girl-moms must feel all the time; this comparison of self with one’s own child. Because I have four boys it’s not an obvious self assessment like it is for their dad. So to see myself in them was really cool.
I’ve always been a tomboy, happy to watch basketball with my dad on a lazy Saturday afternoon rather than shop with my mom and sis. They would come back having had a great time, and I wasn’t jealous; truly. My dad would light his pipe and we’d watch the Lakers, snoozing through the minutes sometimes on the sofa, depending on the game. Often I’d watch him finish a game of Snooker with his friends. I felt more at home listening to Chick Hern than looking at Chanel’s latest color schemes. So it’s not a surprise to me, really, that I am a boy-mom. Somewhere in me, if I’m honest, I feel more at ease. I have incredible women in my life and they mean the absolute world to me. In fact, they balance my life more than they will ever, ever know. But being a boy-mom feels so in sync with my energy and it is a wonderful pleasure to then see myself in them, the way girl-moms describe.
Gotta go…the European cup is on and Switzerland has just scored:)