As a mom of boys, I have been exposed to the things that other mothers, specifically mother only of girls, might not have the pleasure of being exposed to.
It can start with the whole idea of toilet training a member of the opposite sex. How many times in one week can I say, “I don’t have one. How am I supposed to know if you should be sitting down or standing up?” I did my best. We put Cheerios in the toilet for “target practice,” and I learned that gravity plays a big part when the only bathroom available is a tree. Those were good times. And I am proud to say that all of my boys will be toilet trained by the time they get married. (They are already, just to be very, very clear.)
And then there were the toys. My home has never housed a Barbie doll. This is probably a good thing, since I used to scalp all of my Barbies. (Their hair doesn’t grow back, FYI). We had blocks and trains and action figures and Legos and balls. Lots and lots of balls. Unfortunately, we never had a pump to blow up the balls, so after some time, we had a lot of balls that lost their bounce, much like me since I have turned 45….
I tried with arts and crafts, purchased paints, brushes, those pens that made the big circles (never really sure what the point of those were, aside from giving my boys the opportunity to smash them repeatedly on the paper), and we had some quality time down in the basement. The wet bar that we have — which when I bought the house I thought would be used for parties and making cocktails — became the cleaning area for my Monet-inspired crafts. I am still hopeful, though, that one day, the wet bar will be used for a bar. It has served its purpose.
And then there are the games. I do not speak of Scrabble or Monopoly. I speak of the games that require a ball. I have written about the baseball road trips or “What it’s like to share a bed with two of your kids on your 17th wedding anniversary because the motel ran out of cots.” Ahh, the stories I could tell you. One year, on our road trip to Chicago (Cubs and White Sox) and Detroit (Tigers — and really good cocktails at Comerica park), my family left my suitcase in front of the hotel. I had put everyone’s stuff in the car and said, “Could someone please just put my bag in.” No one was listening, for a change, and when we got to Detroit and started to unpack the car, I realized that it wasn’t there. The rest of the story is kind of a blur, but my boys have assured me that I did yell a lot and a pizza box may or may not have been thrown at husband #1’s head.
But I went to all of these games because if you have boys you will watch zillions of hours of sporting events. I have never been to a football game, though, because that is where I draw the line. I do not like football. I do not understand football. However, I am probably the only mom who got excited when she saw Adrian Peterson on the cover of the Wheaties box, and started squealing with glee because she knew how happy it would make son #1. (For those of you mere mortals, Adrian was on the Minnesota Vikings, son #1’s favorite team. Remember how I said I had never been to a football game? Well, I have been to two football training camps. Minnesota for the Vikings and St. Louis for the Rams, who are now in Los Angeles, where they started many years ago, but who really cares.)
Mother’s Day, though a distant memory, always has been a bone of contention in my house. This is probably because I have very high expectations. And you know what happens when you have high expectation for one day of the year? Nothing good. So this year, I set the bar pretty low. Son #2 is in Israel and son #3 was going to be in Columbus, Ohio, for some baseball thing. (Balls, balls, balls.) It was all on husband #1 and son #1, and I was prepared. Son #1 invited me to a Red Bulls game. Red Bulls play soccer. I still have nightmares from my days as a soccer mom, watching son #3 play goalie in 40 degree weather. But what do you say when your son asks you if you want to go to a soccer game? The same thing you say when he invites you to go anywhere. You say yes.
So there I was, Mother’s Day 2017, the best mom in the world enjoying a Red Bulls game with the young man who made her a mom. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The stadium, in scenic near-Newark, was quite lovely, and watching the game was like watching a real-life foosball table.
But being with the boy who is now a man and one year away from graduating college (gasp) was priceless.
Banji Ganchrow never wanted to have daughters. This is a direct result of all the times her mom would scream, “One day you should have a daughter just like you.” And this wasn’t said in a good way….