That’s the way boys are
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
There are few differences between boys and men.
As boys, they argue over whose toy truck is better.
As men, they argue whose truck is better. This is only one similarity. I could go on but my observations would fill several editions of the Jennings Daily News.
Sometimes it is scary knowing boys – covered in dirt and various types of bodily fluid, taking pocket knives to various objects in the yard – will become the men of the world one day. They will be the only options as employees, husbands and fathers; this should frighten you.
Youngest Nephew celebrated his sixth birthday recently with a three-day celebration. My sister, who, as the mother of three boys, lost her mind long ago, allowed each son to have one guest for the long weekend; this was on top of the additional guests who would be present for a Sunday afternoon birthday party.
I was there for much of the weekend. The first night, I introduced myself to each of the nephews’ friends as “Bebe,” which is how the nephews refer to me. Oldest Nephew’s friend nodded and asked, “’Sup, B?” (I took no offense; I’m casual with those things. Middle Nephew recently started referring to me simply as “Sheila” so I just answer to whatever now.)
That night, as the boys took turns showering, each found a reason to randomly enter the living room naked. Six boys ages 6-11 with no modesty whatsoever (once again, there are few differences between boys and men).
The following day brought even more adventures. The boys were up at dawn riding bikes through the yard, digging holes, shooting, and, most importantly, waking up sleeping adults.
Then came their undoing. About two hours before guests began arriving for the birthday party, the boys wandered to the end of the long driveway to search for turtles in a ditch (by the end of the long weekend, about five turtles had been captured as pets). However, they were stopped in their tracks at a sight next door: a group of six girls, about ages 6-10, splashing and laughing in a swimming pool.
The boys, being future men, began calling out: “Do you have a boyfriend?!” “I want to kiss you!” “Please come over!” “We’re having a party, please come!” “I want to kiss you!” (Yes, they brought up kissing quite often.)
Part of me sensed hormones and panicked while the other half did not want to test the fathers of the young girls. So I journeyed down the driveway. I wasn’t going to play innocent, though, because – well, because I know what boys know.
“Fellas,” I said, “I see you’ve found eye candy. However, let’s take it to the backyard before we meet a father with a gun or the ladies get offended. We’ll tell them they can come to the party.”
The boys cheered as they ran back to the house, excited at the thought of additional guests. One dashed into the house but soon emerged with a baseball cap on.
“Don’t want the girls to see your messy hair?” I asked.
“No way, look at it!” he said, momentarily lifting his hat and pointing at the rat’s nest beneath.
When the girls finally did arrive, the boys lined across the yard to watch as they approached, one running to me and giggling uncontrollably, “The girls are here! The girls are here!”
Oh, dear, I thought. I’m not even their parents and I was bemoaning the coming years.
Interestingly enough, I know most of the boys’ fathers. The boys have inherited many – oh, so many – characteristics from their fathers.
The child is the father to the man – and men will be boys.
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