Sugar and Spice And Everything Nice. Not!

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Before becoming a mother, I dreamed of ponytails with ribbons, lacy frilly dresses, patent leather shoes, dance recitals, tea parties, Girl Scout cookies, and Barbie dolls. I dreamed of the little curly haired girl who would giggle as she played dress up with my jewelry, make up, and scarves. I dreamed of the perfect little angel who would hold my hand as we crossed the street. I dreamed of the little girl who would want me as her best friend through every stage in life. I dreamed of the teenager who would cry on my shoulder over some boy dumping her. I dreamed of the daughter who would want to wear my wedding dress. I dreamed of late night conversations and years of sharing and shopping. I dreamed that someday, she’d want to care for me the way I cared for her. I dreamed of a love and a bond that I wasn’t sure existed.

This is what I got:

I got bowl cuts, spikes, mullets, rat tails, crew cuts, and buzzes. Everything under the sun except ponytails and ribbons. I got a double dose of blue jeans with grass stains in the knees. If the knees hadn’t been worn out from skidding into home plate on the school yard. I got sneakers that ran through dog crap and tracked it in the house. I got games galore. T-ball. Baseball. Soccer. Football. Lacrosse. Track and field. Years of sitting in the stands, coaching, or yelling my fool head off while running up and down the sidelines.

I got ten years of Cub and Boy Scouting. Camping and mosquito bites. Pinewood derbies and rain gutter regattas. And organizing and selling the popcorn for the troop. And then there was the younger child who aspired to be like the older one and wanted so badly to be a “scubscout”. We dubbed him a Cub Sprout, and he practiced his knots by building booby traps for burglars. He became so good at it that he tied my bedroom door handle to the banister and locked me in my bedroom.

And there would be no Barbie dolls but GI Joes. GI Joe’s that had Jeeps and Army equipment. You know the kind that you could shoot missiles from? However, I never knew my boys would wind up finding a box of tampons to use as missiles. Nor did I know their friends would go home and tell their moms that I had the best box of missiles ever to play war.

And they did get into my jewelry, makeup, and scarves. They giggled as clowns and yielded swords as pirates. They were ship captains, cowboys, Indians, policeman, doctors, pizza deliverers, race car drivers, and construction equipment operators. Their imaginations knew no bounds. There was boundless energy that didn’t cease for naps. They were like Energizer bunnies that just kept going until their batteries finally exhausted.

They did hold my hands nicely while crossing the street. But the very second it was safe (and sometimes before) they squirmed free and took off like bullets. Adventure was at every corner. There were trees to climb, mud puddles to jump into, bottle caps to collect, frogs to catch, rocks to throw, and worlds to conquer. They left nothing unscathed.

They ate things that were never meant to be ingested. Canine heartworm pills. Lipstick. Half a bottle of Nyquil. Bubblegum. I never knew having children would “entail” (pun intended!) pulling bubblegum from a three year olds butt hole!

But the hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” made every single effort worth it. The homemade cards and macaroni necklaces were priceless.

Well, I was never their best friend. But I was the one who could make absolutely anything they wanted. Whatever type of birthday cake they asked for, I made. I sewed costumes and other garments by request. We did crafts. We painted. We erected cranes and built castles and forts. We constructed dream catchers and school projects. We target practiced with bow and arrows. We chased each other with water guns. We played every kind of ball imaginable. We swam. We played tag and punch buggy. Not that I was fond of getting punched in the arm, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! We blew bubbles. We fished, rode bikes, and chased away monsters. We made mud pies and baked chocolate chip cookies. My “peace” sign was replaced by the “loser” sign. My “high fives” gave way to “pounds“. They taught me a lot through the years. They kept me hip…ok, I’m pushing it with that description, but I digress.

They broke a few hearts along their way, and they each had their own hearts broken once.  That’s when I learned how very evil teenage girls can be. And for a short period this nonviolent mom wanted to shake a teenage girl silly. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in emotional or physical pain and not being able to ease his discomfort.

And my wedding dress will never be worn by them. Nor do they borrow my clothes unless they are attending some sort of theme party. But we have had many a shopping excursion. For food. For clothes. Pets. Athletic equipment. Electronics. Surfboards. Cars.

Endless adventures…endless loot.

Times of discipline and heartaches also existed. (Those times that give you a clear under standing of the phrase “it hurts me more than it hurts you”. Yes, a whole new perspective.) There have been speeding tickets and wrecks. The late night ring of the telephone that scares any parent witless. There have been broken bones and emergency room visits. Surgeries. And the motorcycle wreck. The “what ifs” and “thank God” moments. The moments that you realized that you could have lost your child. And you thank God every day for his life.

Pride. Yes, every parent is proud of their children’s crowning achievements. But I’m talking beyond the moments of good grades, scholarships, and awards. We had those moments, but I’m talking of the times that tell you that you’ve done your job well.I am proud of the times my sons have been honest with me when anything but the truth was what I really wanted to hear. I am proud of the times they have done hours of manual labor for elderly neighbors free of charge. I am proud that they have taken hard earned money and donated it to feed hungry children. I am proud of witnessing my son shaking a man’s hand in the grocery store, conversing with him, and showing him the utmost respect to find out later that it was the school janitor. I am proud to know that they treat others as equals and that they take up for the underdogs of the world. I am even proud to know that my son grabbed a punk at a stop light and threw him against his car and asked him how he liked being bullied. Apparently, the punk ripped an old man out of his car and threw him against it because he wasn’t driving fast enough. After getting over the initial shock and hearing him say that it could have been his grandfather and no one should treat the elderly like that, I was happy that he involved himself. I am proud that they rescue wildlife, do volunteer work, and assist those in need. I am proud that my sons are both passionate and compassionate young men.

And while I don’t have a daughter that swears she’ll nurse me through my dying days, my sons say they’ll put me in the nicest nursing home money can buy! What mom of sons could ask for more than that?! And through it all, I thank God for allowing me to be the mother of these most wonderful young men, for allowing me to love, nurture, and guide them on their life’s journey to this point that I can release them with the tools they need to be productive contributors to society.

While I didn’t get “sugar and spice and everything nice”, I wouldn’t trade a minute of “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails” My heart and life is overflowing with love.

61 thoughts on “Sugar and Spice And Everything Nice. Not!

  1. You definatly have something to be proud of in your Boys Suzicate, when you have them treat others with respect and stand up when someone is wronged rather than turn their heads then you have done your job as Mom well.

    I’m proud of you for raising fine young men like this.

  2. This is so heart touching, and beautiful. I couldn’t help but think about how badly I wanted a boy, and got 2 girls instead and 10 years apart from each other. I also was blessed with raising my step-daughter who was 9 years older than my oldest daughter. My oldest daughter was and still is sugar and spice and everything nice. But my youngest was snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. However my step-daughter was the in between, while mean a little of both. I must say my life was never dull. I just simply loved your story about your sons.

    • Isn’t mothering wonderful? I don’t think it matters whether we are blessed with boys or girls…it is the blessing of motherhood in itself. Blessing to you Viola.

  3. I have two boys and I hope that I can say the same things about them that you have said about yours when they are grown men. This was a truly wonderful post about mothering boys.

  4. I can’t believe you didn’t mention “I bwoke da big twuck in da watah!” LOL

    They ARE fine young men and you have done a wonderful job and should be very proud.

  5. What a beautiful post, the memories you have of your boys growing up you just write so beautifully about – except I can’t get the image of pulling bubble gum from your son’s butt out of my head right now 🙂

    Wishing you a wonderful Mothers Day – I bet those boys now yound men will spoil you rotten

  6. Thank you for this post. I am in tears. Such a beautiful and honest story. It seems as though you were meant to be a mother to boys. Mothers of son’s have an unexplainable strength that only mothers of boys can understand. I have a year old son and am a single parent (in every way possible). I have been feeling overwhealmed lately but your post truly touched me deaply. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your lovely comments, Tara. As much as I wanted a daughter, I thank God every day for blessing me with sons. They have truly enriched my life. I think mothering sons opens our eyes to the world in a way that no one else can. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  7. I always wanted a girl myself, but now have 2 rambunctious boys that I wouldn’t give up for the world. Great post, and happy Mother’s Day!

  8. You have definitely done something right along the way! Your boys sound like they’ve got good heads on their shoulders. And the whole stop light incident was really inspiring. I’ve always said that anyone who stand around and watches someone else get bullied, and they do nothing about it, is JUST AS GUILTY as the bully his or herself.

  9. You have me in tears! This is so touching, it almost makes me want one of my own! But I dream of what you write, having grown up in a house of all girls, a house full of boys sounds nice!

    • I remember you saying you wanted a couple of little brat boys like mine…careful what you wish for! Everyone is dying for you to have one of your own. And no matter what we dream of, we are thrilled with the blessing we receive.

  10. This one made me laugh, then smile, then nod.

    The joys of parenting – whatever sex your kids may be. And the special pleasures of parenting boys. (I’ve loved every minute of it.)

    Have a wonderful mother’s day weekend, Suzicate.

  11. Ah, I’m tearing up here. I TOTALLY identify, even though my guy is only 7. I hope and pray that he grows into a young man of integrity, the way your boys have. I salute you, and hope to follow in your footsteps! And now, I’m going to go start carving Jude’s Pinewood Derby car!

  12. SuziCate – I have tears in my eyes after reading this post!

    I too dreamed of a little girl, only because I knew it was just going to be me and her. I had an emergency c-section, so when I woke up I must have asked three times what I had – after the third question, a nurse came right to my face and said “YOU HAD A GIRL FOR THE LAST TIME!”

    My next door neighbor at the time had just had her second and last child – so she had two boys. When she came over to meet Hannah for the first time, she picked her up and looked at me and said “you had my girl!”

    I am sure you are a wonderful mother and I have no doubt your sons successes was large in part due to having a Momma like you!

  13. Sounds to me like somebody know what he was doing giving you boys! Who knows maybe that beautiful daughter could have turned out to be one of those evil teenagers!

    Most of my grandkids are boys and to me they are soo much more fun!

    Happy Mother’s day!

  14. It’s funny, I always wanted boys. My first one was, but then I got Sheila next and realized I had exactly what I really wanted! One of each! This is so lovely! Happy Mother’s Day, Darling Suzicate!

  15. OH, and I MUST reiterate just HOW rambunctious your boys were. Hubby once said that they were the only two kids he knew who, once they left a room, the FURNITURE went Whew! LOL Gotta love em’. They def kept you on your toes.

    • Yes they did know how to climb curtains and walls. And NikNik says she wants a house full just like them…bolt down the furniture and tie back the curtains!

  16. Funny! Touching! Brilliant!


    “tell their moms that I had the best box of missiles ever to play war.”

    Bwhahahahahahahahahahaha….OMG, that was hysterical!

    The love, respect, and joy you share with your fine sons is so evident in every single word of this post!

    So enjoyed reading this!

    Happy Mother’s Day, SC!….X

  17. Two boys into two young men…soon you will have those girls in the form of two daughters-in-law! And there’s always the possibility of granddaughters! Which, by the way, are wonderful substitutes for daughters. 🙂

  18. Two boys and no girls for me too – and honestly, I’m quite happy about that! I’m sure that boys are much easier to take care of than girls – and how’s it go: Daddy’s Little Girl, but Mommy’s Little Boy. 🙂 🙂

  19. Oh but Suzicate…There is still hope on the horizon for you….how about a granddaughter? You could still have ponytails and patent leather and then dump them off at their parents for all the really hard things you wrote about…breakups, illness, pimples etc! It can be all the fun without any of the hard work!!!

  20. Interesting reading, thank you. I help out with Brownies in my village, and I generally feel that I understand girls – but if I ever have kids, I do wonder what it would be like to have a boy!

  21. Ponytails and ribbons are overated! Hugs and such, the I-love-yous, will make up for that. Great writing. Keep that overflowing love flowing!

  22. Oh, how beautifully written! I love the idea of rain-gutter regattas and tampon missiles. (And even with a girl, we’ve had our share of dog-poop shoe tracks across the kitchen.) =>

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  23. Absolutely beautiful. I too always envisioned a daughter to dress up and do girl stuff with, but I wouldn’t trade my 2 boys for all the girls in the world. The more I see how many challenges there are in bringing up a young lady these days, the more thankful I am for the dirt, ballgames, and cars. Besides, boys ALWAYS love their mama’s! Great writing!!
    Happy Mother’s Day!

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