As a mom, I can always gauge my babies’ ages by my favorite little sweet spot on the back of their necks.
Do you know the place I’m describing?
It’s right where their little heads wobble when they’re brand new, raising their heads from their daddy’s shoulder with no little effort, trying REALLY hard to check out the world around them for the first time.
It’s where that little roll forms when determined babies lift their heads when they protest tummy time.
It’s the spot that fluffy little baby bird hair covers when not-quite-a-baby babies need their first haircuts.
After a birthday or two, that little spot slowly fills in. It’s strong. It’s not as rounded. The shoulders do the same thing as toddlers turn into little boys or girls.
Does this sound weird? It can’t if you’re a parent who has spent a BILLION hours laying down with your child. Sick, to sleep, playing hide and seek in the exact same spot over and over…you know.
Roscoe still has that little spot. Gus? it’s barely distinguishable.
After many nights of laying with him as he falls asleep (but mostly during failed naptimes) (I know naptimes are over for him, but I still try out of desperation), I’ve admitted it. My baby boy grew into a little boy. B-O-Y.
He headed to preschool this week and he couldn’t have been more excited. I know I’m his mom, but I could gush about him forever.
The best, most enviable part of boys is that no matter how broad their shoulders get, no matter how tall and strong they grow, they never really grow up.
Not in 100% totality. Sure, boys grow into “men,” and definitions may vary… but all the best men I know still have a little bit of boy in them.
That ease, that ability to separate themselves from their other roles and titles of responsibility to let loose for a minute, the ageless appreciation for the funny if not immature…all of it. If you look at an elderly man’s eyes when he laughs, a younger boy is still visible there.
(In general, I don’t think women can shake off their stresses/motherhood responsibilities/worries as easily. Women would argue that is favorable, or that someone has to be the adult…but, maybe, it’s suicidal to that youthful, lively, sometimes abandoned side of us.)
My husband is this way. I love this about him. He is a mature, professional, and driven adult, but…treading water underneath all the work clothes, contracts, work emails, phone calls that interrupt dinner, bills, and daddy duties is that super fun, charming, seventeen year old boy.
Brian had his longest running Fantasy Football League in town, and they were ridiculous.
I’m a big fan.
To determine their draft pick, these men (I didn’t use quotation marks around that as not to offend anyone), who are adult professionals, shed blood racing through a bounce house obstacle course, sweat through a home run derby, raced scooters, pounded soda and hot wings in a contest…and I didn’t ask for elaboration beyond any of that.
My only real contribution was generic Advil.
I’m grateful my little guys have a strong daddy, who will help raise them into great men who never lose sight of the boy inside.