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Raising Boys Made Me Braver

When I learned that all of my children were going to be boys, I didn’t know that I was being invited to breathe life into new parts of myself.

Back when my adult life was just hypothetical, I was sure I’d have daughters. As a child, I loved dolls, crafts, quilting and sewing, doing hair, cooking and baking. It was obvious that I was meant to raise girls.

But when the daughters I thought I would have never showed up and my three darling sons had limited interest in learning those skills, I needed a new mantra: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” It wasn’t my instinct to splash and climb and run when you can walk. Some of those things were scary and risky. But my choice was clear: do whatever it took to BE with my beloved sons. So I committed to splashing and running. I embraced “dinosaur wars,” car play and building stuff.

There were times when having all boys felt overwhelming. Sometimes I longed for the quiet, calm play that I knew from my own childhood. Honestly, I had to grieve the loss of my long-held fantasy about raising girls. Living with boys stretched me outside of my comfort zone. I marveled at how much noise and movement came with these kids. But now I feel so grateful for what they brought out in me.

Last week, I tromped up a steep, slick, snowy hill in the mountains, flung my body across an inner tube and barreled down at break-neck speed, screaming and laughing. I could FEEL those parts of me that have come to life because of being a boy-mom. As a mother of 3 boys and stepmother of 2 more, I have had to call up the intrepid, courageous, and active parts of me that, up until motherhood, had laid somewhat dormant. Thanks to my boys being who they are, I have developed entirely new skill sets. I can jump out of an airplane, catch a football, hold an iguana, and camp in the snowy mountains, to name just a few. I have claimed my inner rough ’n tumble, fearless, edgy parts. I can roll with the punches and take much bigger risks. And because of that, I feel more fully alive.

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