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No man is an island -- but some women arePosted Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 5:39 PM
It was one of those things that I didn't notice at first; it just crept up on me. But now I realize it has taken over my life. It's everywhere -- in my house, on our farm, in my car. I can't get away from it.
I'm floating on a sea of testosterone.
Yes, one lone and sinking lifeboat of estrogen drowning in the daily flow of testosterone from my home.
In other words, I'm living in a fraternity house of sorts, surrounded by men -- three of them, ages 15, 20 and well ... let's say over 30!
When I was carrying my children, especially my second, I knew I wanted all boys -- I thought it would be wonderful having two little farm boys. I remembered my brother as being mellow and easy going, my mother's joyful child. And he was.
What I didn't realize is that my little brother had to be mellow, he was raised in a houseful of women -- he was outnumbered.
When my boys were little, they didn't know they would be men someday. They were just my little boys, sweet and loving. Back then they even had the false notion that I was the greatest woman ever born.
They were good shoppers too! They would go everywhere with me, sitting in a shopping cart or riding in their stroller, always smiling at passers-by! (Or maybe they just didn't realize they had a choice.)
Then something happened. (I knew I shouldn't have ever sent them to school.) Someone told them they were boys, soon to be men. They were supposed to dislike shopping. So they did.
When I would take them with me to Kansas City to see my mother, hoping to stop at a shopping mall on the way home, I would immediately hear protests.
"You're not going to try anything on, are you?" So of course, I didn't.
Who wants to be the mother who tortures her boys by making them watch me try on 80 outfits?
As a result, I have a closet full of clothes that looked great on the hanger, but not so great on me. I would have known that, of course, had I tried them on before I bought them...on the "all sales final" mark down rack.
Now I realize I should have just been happy they went with me at all -- even though visiting Grandma was a big reason they did. After awhile, if I wasn't going to a John Deere dealer or taking them to a school function, they said they had to stay home and "work for Dad." (They were ages 4 and 8!)
Then as they got older they started using that language I didn't really care for, or understand.
Numbers and letters like: 4520; 9300T, 9760, 18.4X46, 480/80 R50, P22456RR, and words like camshaft, piston and heavy springer. And then came the initials: AI, RTK, P and K, GPS and HP?
I tried to get along -- I really did. I planned vacations around their interests -- no shopping. Just tours of toy tractor factories and toy museums. I learned about farming, even letting them decorate our living room with "special tractors."
I denied the "inner girl," no longer making them wear shorts and bowties for their Easter outfits. I refereed their wrestling matches, realizing that's how they show love to each other. ("Mom, brother bit me!")
I watched and learned to enjoy football, basketball, tractor pulls, "Dirty Jobs" and "Ice Road Truckers." I stopped hugging (and especially kissing) them in front of their friends.
And I learned that the best way to get their attention was to feed them ... a lot.
But despite all my efforts, I knew someday they would figure me out. No matter how low maintenance I tried to be, how much I tried to downplay it, they would realize I was different. I was -- gasp -- a girl!
Now I'm reminded of it daily.
"How come you have to wear all that stinky, perfume stuff?" they ask.
"It's called deodorant," I answer.
"How come you put that stuff all over your face?"
"It's called makeup," I protest. (I wear so much it takes me all of three minutes to put on!)
"How come you can't get ready faster?" they ask. "Thirty minutes isn't a long time," I say, secretly praying they become the father of all girls.
"You're not going to make us watch that chick-flick are you?" they ask, horrified. (Please note: A "chick flick" is any movie that doesn't have a car-chase or nine-person murder scene in the first five minutes.)
I may be complaining, but the truth is it's not all bad.
They are good boys ... er, men. And I did manage to miss the girl drama my friends who have teenage girls complain about. Thankfully, boys don't hold grudges.
They can hit each other one day and be back to best friends the next.
They like to use me as an armrest, because I am so much shorter than they are. They still hug me, even, though most of those end with a "noogie" or a wrestling move.
They never like it when I'm sad and would do most anything to keep me from being mad.
Another good thing is that I know someday, they'll get married to -- gasp -- a girl.
They'll learn 30 minutes isn't a long time to get ready and my deodorant doesn't smell near as much as hairspray or nail polish remover.
But the very best thing is that I suspect eventually they'll turn to her and say: "Hey, why don't you learn to drive a semi-truck like my mother?"
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