Here & there: An all boy family?

The author and her partially-masked boy ride in the back of a tuk-tuk. Phenom Pen, Cambodia. June 27, 2013 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

OPINION — I am the mother of three boys. I usually tell people that means motherhood is a full contact sport for me. And I’ve got two broken noses to prove it.

In spite of those broken noses, I love my station.

I love the deep talks about what three things a person should have in a zombie apocalypse. I love listening to AC/DC and 21 Pilots on loop in the car. I love that “boyfriend stage” around age 4 when they just want to be near their moms. I love how they need to run and tackle and climb and make guns out of sticks.

I even love that they love to “outdoor pee.” I mean, hey, that comes in handy. And you don’t have to worry about improper aim. Mostly.

Not everyone sees motherhood of all boys as a positive.

I was a little nervous, in fact, to be one. I’d always figured I’d have mostly girls because that’s the make-up of the nuclear family I grew up in. And also because the all-boy families in my hometown were notorious. Two in particular.

They were rowdy. They were disruptive. They kicked holes in the sheetrock when they wrestled. They told crude jokes, even around other mothers.

My mom wouldn’t let my brother play with one of these all-boy families because she thought they were too out of control.

And now I’m that all-boy mom. Remember the two broken noses? And those were accidents of love; one happened when a boy came in too hot for a hug.

But I see the look of pity some give me, the mom of all boys.

It’s not all of the time, but it’s regular enough to notice. Regular enough to wonder if there are some, like my own mother, who don’t really want their kids playing with my raucous crowd.

Two weeks ago, my boys and I were lying on the grass in the front yard. We’d just walked home from the gelato place up the street and were enjoying the fleeting moments of sunshine, sprawling arms and legs across each other.

Neighbors were out in twos and threes – some walking dogs and some without – enjoying the twilight on foot. One such pair, seeing us on the grass, waved and arced their path towards a rendezvous in our front yard. Until the all-boy happened.

My youngest stood up and started spinning around, flip flops in hand. One battered flop slipped out and zinged me right between the eyes. My Goliath to his David.

The couple stopped abruptly, a look of shock flashed across the woman’s face and then she heaved slightly, as if punched in the belly. Before I knew it, they’d readjusted their arc and were speed walking away.

I suspected she felt sorry for me. That poor mother of those wild boys.

Motorcycle traffic outside of Cambodia’s capital city. Phenom Pen, Cambodia. June 27, 2013 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

Flash back to a few summers ago in Phenom Pen, Cambodia. My three boys and I were hurtling down a narrow city street, congestion rivaling an LA freeway on a Friday afternoon, in a partially-hobbled red tuk-tuk, masks on our faces to block out the road dust and pollution.

But you could tell, even under our masks, we were mother and three boys.

Face after face that passed us on motorbike looked inside our canvased-topped carriage, then looked again and smiled. Many looks lingered so long I was worried they’d crash into one of the other bikes crossing diagonally or horizontally in front of them.

At first I thought they were looking because of the state of our tuk-tuk. That they felt sorry for our near broken axle. But the more I watched them watch us, the more I realized what they were looking at was us.

And then one woman caught my eye, a side-saddled passenger on a loud green bike, smiled, pointed at me and raised both arms into a muscle pose.

Several other times on that trip, I was stopped and complimented on how strong I must be as a mother of three boys. One woman even followed us around the airport and onto the tarmac remarking about my good fortune.

I’m not sure any of these fans would have changed their minds even if they’d witnessed the flip flop incident on my front lawn two weeks ago.

But that’s the thing about perception. It’s different depending on the audience.

And often it changes with time.

Just as it has for my mother. Those rowdy, ill-mannered boys she wouldn’t let my brother play with as a child have all grown into wonderful, successful men. And now she is the grandmother of an all-boy crew, as rowdy as the next. And she loves it.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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