September 03, 2009

Q-tips and quiet, clones and comic relief

I never thought I would enjoy the boy as much as I enjoyed the girl. I am NOT one of those moms who plays favorites, who chooses to love one more than the other. And though sometimes you can hear me say, "Kevin is my favorite, but I love Kacey more," I could just as easily flip-flop that statement and never realize it.

I never wanted a boy. You've heard me say that before, but it's true. Having been the oldest of two girls, and then myself giving birth to a daughter, the idea of a boy was foreign. Especially the idea of raising a boy. So when my order for a second female offspring turned out to be on permanent backorder, I was a bit bummed. But you have also heard me say how God knew what I needed better than I did, and how much comic-relief and unconditional love the little man brought into my life.

Still . . . when my daughter-clone left for college, leaving boy junior behind, I couldn't imagine a relationship with him like the one she and I have. Which is good. Because if I had the expectation of shoe shopping, late-night girl talks, and sharing a love of all things sparkly, I would have been sorely disappointed. However, a love of great music, action movies, sushi rolls and a myriad of quirky little inside jokes keeps this mother/son duo pretty tight.

We don't have those late-night "talks", you know, because of the whole XY chromosome thing, but he does share with me, in detail, the latest goofy thing one of his friends did, or every single play of the last football game, or each hi-def detail of whatever video game happens to be the flavor of the month. Sometimes I even find out the big stuff that goes on in his brain, though it usually takes him about a month to get around to the really important topics. But he is sweet, he does little things to brighten my days, and he works hard to never hurt my sometimes way-too-fragile feelings. (Although there was THAT incident at McAlister's . . . but that's another blog altogether.) All in all, he seems to tolerate my existence in his life and on his facebook with minimal disdain, and what more could a mom ask for, really?

So, the other day I was working at my desk and glancing at him from time to time as he sat four feet away at his laptop, doing school. (Why is it homeschoolers always say, "doing school?" Anyway. . . ) After a few minutes, he loaded his 67-pound AP Biology book onto the furniture dolly and headed down the hall to an empty classroom. He has done this for about 3 years now, this going down the hall thing, whenever he has needed room to "spread out and study".

But that was before . . . I remodeled my office. That was before . . . when he had virtually no desk space of his own. That was before . . . he had an entire table to himself. Now I had to wonder . . . why is he still "speading out" on the table in the empty classroom down the hall? There is absolutely nothing in that room but a table and a dozen chairs. It is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. It has those evil retina-destroying fluorescent lights. Plus, it's quiet. Too quiet.

So I asked him why. "Why?" I asked him.

He shrugged it off as just a preference, merely a change of pace, "think of it as changing classes, if you will," he implied.

This answer did not satisfy me. Not with a perfectly good table sitting empty before me, just screaming for something to be dissected or depolarized or dehydrated on it. So I kept asking, why? Every day he would drag those enormous textbooks down the hall. Every day he risked herniating something, and every day I would ask again, "Why?"

Finally, one day, the truth came out. The truth he feared would hurt his mother's feelings.

Why?

Seems that mommy talks to herself. A lot. Seems that every time she talks to herself, or hums a little song, or argues with her hard drive, he thinks she is talking to him. Seems that sometimes she even answers herself, and it is just more than this man-child can handle while trying to concentrate on peroxisomes and eukaryotic cells.

Therein lies the difference between sons and daughters. The girl could have worked there just fine. She could have hummed along with me, played "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", and still memorized the periodic table of elements (though why anyone needs to know there are seven stable isotopes of mercury, is beyond me). But not so the boy. He has been quietly leaving the room for 3 years just to avoid hurting my feelings and telling me that when I talk to myself it drives him crazy enough to want to "sneak into my room at night and stick Q-tips up my nose."

If that's not the basis for a great mother-son relationship, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

This is too funny. I don't have any boys, so I'm not sure what I'll be missing out on there. I am very glad that you talk to yourself, cause I think that is where your blogs are born, and I can't imagine not having your blog to read!

BTW, thanks for your email. It really meant alot to me that you would take the time to listen to my story and share yours with me. I hope we get to meet one of these days!