Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A 'Man-boy' is what my oldest daughter and I always called boys who were starting to look like (but rarely act like...) men. Their voices change, they grow taller, they get a (very) little hair on their faces. They start to stink - either from a body that has developed into a need for multiple-daily applications of deodorant, or from trying to cover it up with some 'cologne' from Walgreens.
Moms, for Pete's sake - Teach your boys what a 'dab' is.
The same goes for hair gel.
Oh, and their feet grow faster than their coordination. And they start caring about what they wear. Not exactly fashionistas, and wrinkled apparel still doesn't faze them, but they do start taking enough of an interest that you can't just buy all their outfits for them anymore.
Do I sound like a Man-boy Expert? Well, I should be! I have 7 sons, 2 sons-in-law, and 3 grandsons.
And last week, my most recent Man-boy turned 17. (He's pictured here with his sister because I couldn't get the photo editing program to work. I planned on cropping her out. Which she totally deserved after the attitude she had this morning!)
Could this really be the same boy I first met 9 years ago at a McDonalds Play Place, where his foster mom had brought him to hang out for a few hours with his 4 younger brothers and their foster moms?
Is this the little guy who put plastic balls under his shirt-sleeves to make him look all muscular to try to impress me? (He sure doesn't need those plastic balls now!)
Yep, this is the boy I fell in love with as soon as I saw him cling to his 18 month old baby brother as he explained to me (a woman he had just met) how he used to feed "his baby" with a bottle.
And this is the boy whose clinging to turned to crying when the foster moms told him and his brothers it was time to go to their separate "homes".
Could it have been 9 years? I'd be lying if I said it had been easy.
Worth it, yes. Easy, no.
You can't expect a boy who was the oldest of 5 - all born of the same mom and dad, all born within a six-year time span to come out unscathed and without a glitch or two....or three :)
You can't expect a boy who was abandoned on Christmas Eve by parents he loved, only to spend two years in foster care, then be reunited with his brothers through adoption into a family that would now have 11 children - You can't expect a boy like that just to unconditionally love those new parents and new siblings.
But he did.
And he's amazing in so many ways!
I love the way he's not afraid to hug me in front of his friends - and to put his arm around me while we sit in church.
I love that my husband and I were the first ones to tell him about Jesus. And the look on his face when he first heard the story of Creation, and the Flood,.....and the Cross. And I loved watching him join the church, and knowing that God must surely have a wonderful plan for a boy who had been plucked out of such a troubled, pitiable situation.
I love how hard he worked trying to learn to read. All those phonics programs! And how hard he continues to work to overcome the learning problems he assuredly has because of neglect in his early years. (God, please give him an extra measure of perseverance. He's going to SO need it.)
I love how he's stepped up to be the oldest boy at home now that his older brothers are grown and out on their own. And how he's become the resident computer guru, lawn maintenance/pool guy, and expert fix-it man.
I love the smile he gets on his face when he stands next to me and realizes he's taller than me.
I love watching him do ANY sport. He's amazing. And I'm not the only one who thinks so!
I love hearing him pray. And I'm so glad he knows how. He'll need to do it often to survive in this world that can be downright cruel to those who don't fit perfectly.
It's scary watching him turn 17. It's just an educated guess, but I'm thinking next year he'll be 18. Then 19. Then 20. In the next five years he'll graduate and need to figure out what to do with his life. He may even find a girl he wants to marry.
He may want to look for his biological parents.
He may start to wonder why they would leave five little boys alone in a crack house with no food. He may entertain thoughts that he could've done something to make them leave. I hope God allows me to set him straight! (again....)
Yes, my Man-boy is now on the cusp of real manhood. But he's in my heart for good.
And I have a feeling he's going to need me for a while.
Which is just fine.
Happy Birthday, Winston.
I love you more each day,
P.S. If you came looking for the Laundry Cure I mentioned on The Pretty Organizer's blog comments - Come back Friday.....Please :)
Labels: motherly wisdom