Boys and Winter

“I love winter – I love snow!” She said unknowingly before she was a mom of three energetic little boys.

But if I am forced to look at non-snow-covered dead trees and grass from the inside of my house, then I’d rather just have spring.  Ahem, let me rephrase that…  But if I’m forced to watch my boys as they repeatedly jump across my furniture like they’re lily pads on a pond, then I’d rather have spring. Ha!

It’s completely true what they say: Boys need the outdoors!

I can easily place a this-was-a-rough-week checkmark in the box next to this past week.  Being cooped up all winter, is hard on little boys – and hard on their momma!  There’s only so much you can do within the four walls of your home.  They unconsciously begged to be entertained all week but nothing I did with them could satisfy.  Every toy was dull, even the ones saved for a rainy day. Playing Uno and Candyland for the hundredth time was one too many times. Netflix was down for the week. We attempted the library for Family Storytime, but we were back in our van before a story was even read.

The peak was Thursday (the 19th). I pictured what my house might look like from above: boisterous boys bouncing off the furniture into the clouds above the house…in slow motion, because that’s how all the commercials look; constant wrestling, biting and punching matches – because obviously our house is one big fighting ring. Basically, they looked like a trio of wild monkeys on an overdose of caffeine! Ha!

I watched as they crumbled with each passing moment, yelling at them for being so mischievous. I prayed and cried out to God.  Overwhelmed and frustrated is an understatement; it can feel very isolating some days.  “God, please, where’s Your grace?”

I told someone earlier in the morning that I secretly wished it were spring. They needed to get outside!

As I washed up the last of the lunch dishes, I prayed, “God, can’t this day get any easier?”

Suddenly I found myself shoving arms in coats, baseball caps on heads and steering three little enthusiastic boys out the door.  They agreed to walk the seven blocks to the park; it relieved me greatly as I watched each boy eagerly release their pent-up energy. We walked the seven blocks back to play in our own back yard. Of course, I carried the little one a few blocks.  Passing football and playing don’t-escape-my-prison tired us out. Yes, I said us! Before I knew it three and a half hours had passed.  I stripped three muddy boys as they stepped back into the house, but it was an amazingly easy and pleasant afternoon.

Every day, my four-year-old asks me if we can play in our back yard, and especially eat outside.  I am forced to respond with the same answer: “Not until it’s warmer.”  Well, this day he got his desire – complete with a salty snack in the playhouse fort of the swing set.

And as for my prayer – God said yes!  His amazing grace came in the form of a beautiful spring day!  And praise the Lord the day got significantly easier!

Reflection:

Up until this week, I naively, and perhaps foolishly, expected a certain behavior from my boys.  They should constantly be well-behaved, held-together, respectful, calm and nice – and especially in public when everyone is watching. *wink* But here’s why that’s faulty:

It lets no room for being sinful humans and, as parents, sets us up for continual disappointment! Why should we expect little boys to be perfect when we as adults continually fail?

Boys will be boys. We’ve all heard this; and sometimes misused to excuse sinful behavior. But by nature, boys are rough, active, loud, risky, rowdy and messy. Girls can spend genuine time together simply talking and giggling, while boys do things together. As men, they may watch sports, hunt, or work on vehicles or projects together. We are simply wired differently.

Boys turn everything into a sword or a gun, even if it doesn’t remotely resemble either.  They are heroes – always protecting, rescuing or saving the day. They jump off furniture or toys even if it is no taller than one inch off the ground, because…if they can just get even a little bit of height.

If my boys sit still too long it’s like the energy just builds and builds until finally BOOM – it explodes!  All over you, all over themselves!  If you’re standing too close you just might get tackled, tickled or licked.

If you give them space, they run.  If you give them an item, it becomes a weapon.  If you give them a tree, they climb (or possibly devise a plan to slingshot themselves into a microscopic pile of leaves a hundred yards away). If you give them a buddy, they wrestle. If you give them a noise maker, they compete on who can be the loudest.  If you give them food, well…just make plenty of it!  If you give them a problem, they’ll try to fix it. If you give them a challenge, they rise to it. They are boys.

It’s evident my boys speak a different language than me.  Their language is not wrong, but it is foreign to me. They are made to balance our emotions with ration; our insecurities with surety; our restraint with risk. I wouldn’t want to change their language, but instead help them be the best they can be. And along the way, maybe learn to understand a little of the language in which they speak.

 

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