Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Mother of a Man-Child: Sometimes a Man-Child will surprise you. June 25, 2010

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Man-Child I and Man-Child II aren’t that surprising.  They do all the usual teenage boy things, push the boundaries, and the friendship, take us for granted, etc.  But sometimes they can surprise and delight when you least expect it.

On two recent occasions I have been pleasantly chuffed at the behaviour of my boys.  On a recent birthday, Man-Child I presented me with a personal letter.  Not a short card but actually a hand written note.  The contents warmed my heart more than you can imagine.  With sentiments like “you are always putting everyone else first”, “I know you are always right”, and “there’s not a mean bone in your body”, I was in Mother heaven.   I lapped up every word, and enjoyed the incredible positive vibes it gave off, knowing that in a heartbeat we could go from such bliss to a screaming match over absolutely nothing.  Such is life with teenagers!

A cynic might say he knew all the right things to say and that actions speak louder than words – and yes he did in fact compile quite a list of wonderful affirmations about me.  But he also knew that to commit it to paper and hand it to his mother meant a lot – a permanent record of his love and devotion, not often worn on his sleeve, but always present, just beneath the surface of his skin.  I’d love to quote every word, but that would be unfair, and somehow de-value the beauty of the often-handled letter that I can’t bring myself to throw out – ever.

Which brings me to Man-Child II, not quite the letter writer of his twin brother, but he has his own way to disarm a grown woman.  Having marked the same birthday with not even a store-bought birthday card, he completely redeemed himself on Mothers Day recently.  I was presented with not just a card, but a gorgeous ruby glass heart-shaped vase. Man-Child II not being much for words, the small but important gift said it all.  He even acknowledged that he had been embarrassed to not even write a card for my birthday – an apology said in a different way.   I was chuffed.   The vase now has pride of place on my dresser, and the card lives next to my favourite letter.  And in case you’re wondering, no his father didn’t put him up to it!

I doubt my boys really know how important these simple things are to their parents, nor how valued they become.  But since becoming a parent and filling fridge doors, walls, draws and cupboards with artwork and letter and cards, I now understand why my father’s desk drawers were full of birthday cards, Fathers Day cards, Mothers Day cards, all collected over the years from four daughters.  He just couldn’t bring himself to throw them out.  That’s the power of love. 🙂


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