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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

(written in October some of these boys are 13 and a half and others are just bigger :()

Little boys.  I have three of them of my very own.  And now the big one is 13 and he wants to take four more 13 year olds to our lake house for a sleepover.  “It’ll be fun!” my other teenager husband insists.  I groan.  Really?  More boys?  Really?   One of us will drive the 13 year olds and one of us will drive the little brothers.  Large diet coke, please.  Let’s go.

Four 13 year olds. They pile into the Tahoe after baseball practice.  They are sweaty and dirty and loud.  And they are smelly and they take up so much more room in the car than they did last week.  They squish up together, this gang of boys, with their cell phones and their Ipods and their Itouches and their PSPs.  I drive along and worry all the way down about the future of boys with such gadgets.  They talk about girls and cool groups at middle school and baseball and statistics and Madden 2K this and NCAA Basketball 2K that.  Oh, and they talk about bats.  Types of bats… metal bats, composites bats, wooden bats, drop 8, drop 3.   I give up listening to the foreign language they are speaking and remember a talk show on the radio I had recently heard about teenagers today and how they are disinterested, they are overweight, they are sullen and they are attached to the fantasy worlds of video games.  I sigh and I think that I really want to turn around and go home. 

Then we arrive in the dark of night and we seem so far away from school peer groups and baseball practice and video games.  One of those smelly 13 year olds boys (not his brother) gently picks my sleeping 6 year old up and out of the other car and carries him into the house to his bed.  The others grab the bags and help carry everything into the house.  I think they finally stop laughing around 2:00 am and so I tiptoe down the hall and peek in on them.  They take up so much more room in the bunk beds that their legs and their arms are sticking out all over.  The comforters in the bunk room with the cute little fish on them that I picked out when they were little cannot contain the growing limbs and the tangle of my boy’s blond hair.
The next morning, I stand at the sink and look out the window at the trees and the grass that has turned from green to brown and I see them there.  A gaggle of boys sits in a row.  One holds binoculars, one holds a bow and arrow and one holds a BB gun.  They sit with their arms over their gangly legs and stare up at the vast sky.  They are not small anymore.  They are not my toddling little boys in denim overalls and velcroed shoes.  Their shoulders are broader and their voices are deeper and instead of those Gymboree outfits with the snaps, they wear those “A” shirts now:  Aeropostale, Abercrombie, American Eagle.  They are bigger, but I breathe a sigh of relief. 

Those boys are so small sitting in the huge field looking up at that sky.   They shoot BB guns and look through binoculars at the tall, strong trees.  They catch fish and pull them off the hooks with bare hands.  They play football and baseball in the field and they grunt and push and tackle, coming in with scrapes and bruises and laughter floating up the tall ceilings.  They play cards and bet goldfish crackers and they tease each other. They eat and they eat and they eat:  pounds of bacon and eggs and French toast.  That is what I see and this is what I hear, “Dude, dude, duuuuddddeee! He’s safe. No way, he’s totally out.  Can you even see?  Foul ball!  No, fair ball!   Touchdown! Dude, dude, duuuuudddeee!”  But this is what I also hear:  “Mrs. Skinner, these are the #1 best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had” and “May I, please?” and “Thank you and thank you and thank you again”. 

Sullen, disinterested and rude?  Maybe sometimes, but not here, not this time.  The wonder of boys and even of that smelly teenage variety of boys is that they can be wonderful.   And God’s great vast world, His lakes, His fields, His skies, His birds and fish and worms, bring those boys back to what they are.  To what God made them to be.


Chelsea said...

Jenn, I read your blog post tonight after having just put my one year old little boy in his bed. It was a great reminder to me to cherish each stage. And it's made me actually look forward to having a teenage boy boy - even a smelly one! A friend of a friend of yours from college shared this post with me and I'm so glad she did! Keep writing - for all the mom's of little boys out there, like me, that wonder how on earth we will raise these bug-living, sweaty little boys and turn them into gentlemen...someday! ;)

JaymeN said...

Love this one! I enjoy watching the boys as they spend time together and am always amazed when I look back and realize how much they have all grown. They are all, truly, gifts from God!

Jenn said...

Thank you, Chelsea. I'm glad you have found your way here. I'm continually amazed at how people end up here. Wondering which friend from college it was? Enjoy that sweet one year old boy!

Jenn said...

Thanks, Jayme and I've loved having your boy around, too. That photo of them was from when they were 12, but you know...writer's license or something like that!