I Don’t Need Sympathy After All

Categorized as 06/02/08 Goshen News article

You can’t blame me, can you, if I as a lone woman in a house full of males make a play for sympathy now and then. Honestly. Some mothers would have quit by now. Some mothers would have purchased a one-way ticket to an obscure island in the Fijis long ago. Some mothers would have changed their names and gone to live at the local day spa. And I? I press on.

Oh, sure, there have been a few close calls, like the day I found myself checking flights to Outer Mongolia. Surely, I thought, slogging through the jungle in a pith helmet ministering to half-naked heathens would be a cakewalk compared to living with this crowd. But then the Almighty spoke. “Don’t do it,” He said.

“Why not?” I whined.

“You have four of your own half-naked heathens that need ministering,” He said. “And besides, that pith helmet will mess up your hair.”

He had a point.

Truth be told, there is a very good reason as to why I have never resigned from my job as a mother of four sons. It is this – I love my job, pure and simple. From all my highly scientific research (which basically consists of talking to friends who are raising girls and watching my nieces), I’ve decided that girls are much higher maintenance. The boys get mad, slug it out, and get over it.

Girls, however, hold grudges. They whine. They are prone to hysterical giggling. Worse yet, they cry, and from what I can see, this is an “all-occasion sport.” For instance, imagine 75 hormonal adolescent girls trying out for 25 spots on the volleyball team. This is a recipe for disaster! A friend whose daughter was one of the 75 said they got 3 days’ worth of bawling out of that deal. First, she cried because she thought she hadn’t made it. Then she cried because she did make it. Lastly, she cried because some of her friends hadn’t made it. It was then I knew – my life was a bed of roses.

I have actually considered the fact that perhaps our sons will not be prepared if they marry extremely emotional women. I’m plenty emotional, sure, being given to flights of fancy, fits of laughter, and occasional mood swings, but I’m not a big crier. When I mentioned this fear to the boys and suggested that maybe I needed to ramp up the crying jags so as to have them prepared, they paled to a man. I broke out with a fake sob about then just to watch them scatter.

Which proves my next point – boys are fun to tease. They don’t get their feelings hurt as easily, and they just dish it right back. We do plenty of teasing at our house, and I’m convinced that the shared laughter and the back-and-forth banter is a large part of our family bond.

In addition, I find that boys are delightful to talk to. No, they don’t share all the social details, such as who likes whom, who’s mad at whom, and who’s wearing what, that I (as a girl) would like to know. But they do share in their own way. In fact, many a night the graduate has come home, plunked down on the end of the bed, and proceeded to yammer to his dad and me about his activities. I know this is rare. I know it’s a gift. And I know that I’m grateful.

As a mother, I take delight in the craziest things – the countless blue jeans in my laundry, the Legos on the stairs, the grappling hook in the tree, and the wooden train track winding around the furniture legs. I also miss the craziest things, like the boot marks on the bathroom floor from a boy who was a career cowboy once, or having a little buddy with me at the coffee shop, ordering hot chocolate and a sugar cookie with sprinkles, and I thank God that I get to do it all again one more time.

I will never forget something a minister once told us. He said, “I think there’s such a crying need for godly men that God picks certain families to put the boys in.” I will always be grateful for that word of encouragement.

Is there a crying need for godly women? A thousand times yes! I have seven nieces and I love them to pieces. I want nothing more than for them to grow up to be godly women of influence in their circles. It’s just that we have been given a mandate to raise young men, and it is an honor and a high calling.

So, don’t feel sorry for me. I am growing boys, and I’m loving every minute of it.

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