The Reason Why | Where The Boys Are, A Memory Keeping Revolution

The end of school, the beginning of summer, a season of change and new routines. I don't think any of us are immune. I think many of us walk a very tight rope while balancing a plate on our head bracing for a slight shift of wind that will inevitably cause us to fall off the rope scrambling to catch the plate midair before it breaks.  

So, why add one more thing to that plate? Why every month do we rally in our Dropbox folder to share our images+words in this space?

Telling their story matters. Telling our story matters. Yes, this is my broken record, my soap box for life but it is because I believe it in my bones.

Indulge me if you will. I'm reading the book, Masterminds and Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman, and while I've only just begun reading this on page 18 this weekend alarmed me deep in my core: 

For every 100 females age 15 to 19 who commit suicide, 549 males in the same age range kill themselves.
— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

I'm sorry, what? FIVE times the number of boys see taking their life as a way out of the pain that consumes them in their teenage years?? This is startling. And yet the conversation is always around "mean girls" and girl drama and their self esteem. I get it , I do. Those are important conversations to have. 

But our boys deserve more than a 2 minute post on Huffington about how their mothers are impacted by "only having boys". The links that get shared with me because I am a "boy mom" are always about how I FEEL about not having a girl. 

I want to scream "When will there be a conversation that recognizes that boys don't fit inside the box that as a society we push them inside of?" Our boys ebb and flow inside that box on a daily basis, they are as complicated and ever changing as girls are. 

And that is why a day before our post goes live and we only have one image in our Dropbox folder (ahem, it wasn't mine) do I ask this very special group of mothers to rally with me to fill that folder with images+words.

Someone has to give these boys a voice. Someone has to show the world that yes, boys are superheroes and leaping off furniture and video games but they are also nervous about dancing at preschool graduation because someone might laugh and at four years old want to be a Dad when they grow up because to them that is the most impactful job they have experienced and at almost 12 years old grab their mothers arm and wrap it on their shoulder through the zoo because at that particular moment they need to know they are loved. All of this is their truth and as their mothers there is more to this calling than finding a tree for them to pee at during baseball practice and rolling our eyes at bodily humor. There is so much more. 

We navigate these waters with them. Sometimes the waters are rough and at other times they are calm. We struggle when they struggle and we rejoice when they rejoice, our experiences are forever intertwined. And that is why I share these images+words. That is why I add one more thing to that plate, to that tight rope I walk in a season where I am lightening my load with every burst of wind that has me flailing to catch what is most important. 

In a season where I don't have any answers, where I am only full of questions and wishes for a genie that will grant my wish for an instruction manual on how not to screw up my boys all I know how to do is to share our collective story. 

Welcome to our May collaborative post. We hope that sharing our story inspires you to share yours. 

Here we go......

Monica

I see you. The littles require so.much.energy that sometimes, ok a lot of the time these days, you fade into the background. But I swear, I see you. And so, I will take one of my ten allotted vacation days of the year and spend it here with you. So you can see that I am determined to see you. - Monica McNeill 

I'm not sure this is 'normal' but motherhood on the sidelines brings for me a weighted anticipation of freeze frame moments, like this one - where I'm wishing so hard my heart hurts and I'm hoping… please, just let him hit the ball.    

Is it because I know he's so sensitive?  (Or because it's ME that's so sensitive?!).  I logged many boring hours in my childhood picking dandelions from the fields at my brother's baseball games.  It seemed natural to assume my boys would find their way to playing ball one day too and yet somehow this worrisome feeling crept up on me.  I'm not even a competitive person, I know the importance of failure - it's just inescapable, this raw motherly-need urging me to protect and build my child up with positive experiences that I’m realizing are now and forever largely out of my control. - Amy Bernard

So much of the time, his leaving is all about everyone else. These endless months of planning—of precious energy spent on him—with so much more to do before moving day. I know we’ll have all the time in the world together after he’s gone and that silver lining shines brightly on the horizon. But what about now? How is all of this affecting you today, my Sweet Boy? - Amy Drucker

I think one of my favorite parts about having a house of boys is that everything is epic. It’s always: the highest jump in the world or a trip around the house made in the blink of an eye. New sneakers inevitably make them run faster than their old shoes, and no matter how many people are in the room, my boys are “probably” still the strongest. So either they are athletically gifted (nope), their confidence is extremely healthy (maybe a little), or they are living out a totally rad, memorably adventurous, Epic Childhood. - Andrea Moffatt

Watching you become more independent is taking a toll on me. I’m not ready to let you go from under my wing just yet but you keep showing me signs that you’re more than ready to explore, try and take on this great big world. I have to remind myself to just observe and be there for you when you need me. You’ve definitely got this!   - Anna Bein 

One boy, one thousand feelings. - Cate Wnek

The gang’s all back together for the summer.  One is gaming, one is “surfing.”  Both are being snarky about one another’s Spotify collection song choices.  And the Youngest is greatly amused by it all.  And yes, despite our rather large-ish house, they’re all hanging in the same 25 square feet.  My heart is happy. - Susan Keller

This is us. Our favorite way to be is around, on, below, climbing, or jumping from this table. It has become an anchor for our family, a safe place to shade us from the outside world, so we may be our most authentic selves. And so here I stand, behind my camera, day in and day out, documenting these moments you are in your truest form...curious and wild. There’s no place in the world I’d rather be. - Kelly Sutton 

I now trust that everything is going to be okay. It took me awhile, but I get it. You lead, I’m here in the shadows if you need back up. Go grow in the light, love. - Jen Lucas

Running. Constantly running. Our vacation was perfect for you. There was so much open space to run around. You were truly in your element and it was a treat to watch you enjoy every second of the fresh air and sunshine. - Kelly Noel