From My Sons
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
past year has brought monumental changes to our family. Out of six children, one
has divorced and joined the Marine Reserves (we are proud and frightened and hopeful),
one has married and moved to Texas, and two have gone away to school. Of these
changes, three involved girls. Which pretty much leaves me home with three guys
most evenings and it has been an education!
Previously, I would have said
that I was close to my boys and that we loved each other and enjoyed each otherís
company. Which is true. What I didnít know was that all these years there were
two separate and distinct camps and not only did the two camps (female and male)
have different interests and concerns, but had completely different cultures.
All those years I thought we were having family conversations, but we werenít.
The girls and I were having conversations and Dad and the boys were having conversations
and because, in a family this big thereís always a lot of hubbub, I didnít know
it. Oh, I knew that sometimes our conversation would be interrupted briefly with
an outburst of raucous laughter or an impromptu sword fighting demonstration or
a dinner roll flying from one end of the table to be caught deftly at the other
end, but I usually just growled, "Boys," in my "Mommy" voice and went back to
discussing whether antique rose, dusty rose, dawn rose or blushing rose was prettier.
Itís not like I didnít listen to the boys. I would listen until the word "booger"
was used more than once in a sentence and then it was back to "hair up versus
hair down." Leaving them to their own discussions.
But now I am stuck at
dinner time with all boys at least three nights a week. And it has been an education.
First of all, they evidentially knew about the "booger rule" and used it purposefully
to get me to mind my own business. Secondly, there are way, way, way more references
to their anatomy in any given conversation than I would EVER have guessed. And
they have no self-esteem issues. Thirdly, not only are they not able to distinguish
between "oyster" and "eggshell" unless it refers to the paint job on a 1965 Ĺ
Mustang, but, they donít even care. At all. A whit.
After an entire dinner
table conversation on the fine art of loogie hawking (and, I have come to learn,
it is an art) I gave up and said they could fill their plates in the kitchen and
eat in front of the TV. I know thatís not very good mothering, but I figure their
personalities and habits are pretty firmly cemented by now. Itís not like I didnít
try. They know how to act, how to sit up straight and keep their
left hands in their laps. They have heard, "Like a ship upon the sea, I dip my
spoon away from me," 149,722 times in their lives. Just before I gave up, I made
the mistake of asking them what they would do if they found themselves dining
with the Queen of England. This question always got the girls to lift their chins
and make charming conversation. What I got from the boys was a solid ten minutes
of possible scenarios ranging from the merely distasteful to the truly bizarre.
So, if you are out there Your Majesty, unless you need some instruction on achieving
maximum lift and distance when you expectorate, I am afraid my young gentlemen
are not available for dinner engagements anywhere other than home. Except maybe
the Primate House at the Zoo. If theyíre minding their manners.