Yesterday, I spent some time at one of my favorite places for R&R. They have ergonomically correct loungers, serve unlimited beverages and snacks, and make such a fuss over me. All for just the cost of a couple pints of blood.
My technician yesterday was Crystal. We struck up a conversation and by the time she was ready to poke me with the needle, we already knew that we both have three kids and while mine are 2 boys, then a girl, hers are 2 girls, then a boy, and much younger than my three.
She commented that she and the baby boy have already formed this incredible bond. "Do you think that's possible?" she asked. "I mean, he's only a baby, but he looks at me like I'm the only one who can protect him from all the world. We just KNOW one another. It's different from my girls."
I know just what she means. There's a unique bond between moms and their sons. My sons show me a loyalty that feels warm and cozy like a blanket. Let's face it, girls never forget. My daughter remembers my misdeeds from 1997. She loves me and I adore her, don't get me wrong. But, even at a young age, the relationship between us was volatile.
My boys may get cross with me and I with them, but five minutes later, they're all about, "Hey mom, where's the sports page/milk/my socks." If I mention the upset, they more often than not look surprised that I'm still thinking about it.
My 13-year-old son, without fail, after we say grace at dinner will lean over, give me a kiss on the cheek and say, "Thanks for supper, Mom." First he thanks God, then he thanks his mother. A Jewish mother couldn't feel prouder than I do, at that moment.
My 17-year-old son confided in me that, "You have no idea how much I depend on you. You are the only person in my life that I know will never, EVER, let me down." Wow. "That's a tall order," I said. "But your dad and I will always be here for you."
"Mom." He looked me square in the eye. "Last weekend, Dad did the laundry and when he put it away, he put half of Luke's underwear in my drawer and the other half in your drawer. That's scary. First, that he thinks you and I wear the same kind of underwear. Second, that he thinks we both wear underwear that's the same kind as LUKE's." (Luke likes boxers with crazy prints.)
I think that moms are the only people in boys' lives that they can show their true vulnerability. From the time they are babies, we tend to their needs, soothe their hurts from scraped knees to bruised feelings. From diaper rash to jock itch, as they grow up, they turn to mom to help them through uncomfortable moments. They have to be tough for everyone else. Even when other women come into their lives, they feel they must be the stronger sex. But, as a mom I always see the little boy. Not just the chubby baby, but the young boy who suddenly grew a few inches and more lean, and whose hugs became more "awkward and elbows." I remember how sweet and vulnerable the back of their necks looked after a hair cut or as they knelt down to look at a bug on the ground or play with their toy trucks. The crooked, scrawled letters on a Valentine, professing their love to me.
My articulate, eldest son is very open and we've never had a problem wondering what's on his mind. His younger brother is somewhat quieter. But it's the non-verbals that more often than not just make me thank God for these young men He's placed my life. One day, I overheard my husband talking to his parents on the phone. I was suddenly overwhelmed at how much I missed having similar conversations with my mom. As I worked alone in the kitchen, I found myself crying. Without a word, my two boys appeared, one on each side and just wrapped their arms around me. Finally, Joe asked with such tenderness, "Mom? What is it?"
"I just miss Grandma," I said. And they hugged me tighter.
Yep, they're my boys.