I sit in a darkened room with a lone magnifying lamp trying to sort through my thoughts, images lost in my head. It is only Wednesday and I feel like I’ve run for miles; lethargic. The gravitational pull of the moon is sapping all of my energy allowing my mind to remain idle. This. Is. Rare.
It all happened in a blink of an eye. The rolling suitcases and black trash bags, containing sleeping bags and pillows, loaded on the “luggage” bus; the quick group picture. I had just enough time to snag my son for a quick snapshot, then he boarded the bus never looking back. I found myself behind the lens, removed from the scene, the shutter snapping continuously as I watched the buses pull away. A lone hand through the window was the only indication that my son knew where I was. There were no goodbyes, no “I love you/miss yous.” It took a mere fifteen minutes.
Where does childhood go? The toddler who split his chin open falling off equipment at the park; needing stitches? The kid who ran smack into a cactus and stayed completely still as a fellow Dad painstakingly plucked the needles out alongside me? The baby who always patted my back with a big hug and ready smile?
I realized, standing by our school’s flagpole, that that child has gone; emerging into a thing unknown. It is neither good, nor bad. It just IS. I hoped he would maneuver amongst his peers with our morals and values with him. It is easy, when taken out of your comfort zone; your element, to test the parameters and push the limits. I prayed that his compass always pointed north; to God, his family. That I was in his head.
“Don’t lay down your values, expect your son to follow them, and then act differently yourself…Being a credible role model depends on you consistently demonstrating the core values you believe in and want him to practice.”~ Rosalind Wiseman, Masterminds & Wingmen.
Today the hubs and I huddled around the computer at work, constantly refreshing the page as we watched our son’s school appear before the camp webcam. My cell rang and I walked a fellow mom through the web to the science camp webpage. Two years prior I had sat with two moms. One had tears even before the kids came onto the screen; relaying that a day earlier wasps that had flown into her daughter’s hair and she had received a call. Her daughter had been okay. At the end of that five minute webcam session, as the stills showed the kids being led away, we were surprised to note one child remained faced towards our computer screen. It was my girlfriend who noted it was mine; delaying before he headed out with the rest of the group. And so today we watched our younger sons stand together; the stills showing my son constantly talking to his friend. As we chattered and refreshed the webpage from different computers I noted our younger sons trying to delay; standing still so that we would see them.
“I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.”
– See more at: http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/#sthash.U9GUauNN.dpuf
Though seemingly unrelated this quote reminded me of the moment I noticed our two boys remained where we would see them. Its message is applicable to my adolescents in my household; the things unknown. It is NOW that I must teach my boys this; the sense of urgency thrumming through me. Objectifying a woman based on what she’s wearing and her looks versus seeing a person comes to the forefront in adolescence. Upon walking the halls of the local junior high girls were taller than me with shorts that I would consider nightwear. It’s easy to say the hormones are raging but it’s our society that tells girls that it’s okay to wear the daisy Duke’s shorts, the halter tops. The Miley Cyrus’ of today get more attention by being brash and in your face than being respectful, and having manners. People call it “self-confidence; self-possession.” How will my boys see the person within when the girl is doing everything she can to mask who she is? To be something she’s not. Don’t we all aspire to this? To be the size 0, scantily dressed model with the push-up bra and heels? Is that what strength of character and depth mean these days?
Ironically enough these thoughts came into my head, later today, as the health tech was placing my bosom upon the mammogram machine. As the plates compressed together I stared, amazed at the flat pancake-like flesh that fed brain-food nutrients to my three sons. Breasts are truly amazing! After being flattened in that matter, my mammary orbs were once again ensconced in their size 34 C Body by Victoria bra. I sat amongst women older than myself; some wearing bright pink amongst those of us in hospital gowns. I thought of my husband’s retort to my sons whenever any reference is made to the female bust; that their mother’s breasts are his and his, alone. Will my sons idly look at other females’ bosoms and have that thought pop into their heads? When the hubs came into the office, I started to read some of Nate Pyle’s post above; to which he rolled his eyes. I texted to my girlfriend.
How will we ever get this across to our kids?
I was handed the pink magnet and grinned when I realized…breasts aren’t what are amazing, we, WOMEN are. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. It’s easy to fat talk, to see fault in our kids and how our kids are supposed reflections of who we are. How the homes we decorate, the toys we accumulate, the thousands of friend comments on Facebook we generate make us appear happy, wealthy, loved. But we are not moms of kids, wives, daughters, sisters. We are human beings and WE have to believe it. If we think dressing in the push-up bras and short-shorts with the stilletos gives us self-worth then we are buying into what society is feeding our male counterparts. We are objects; just like the boobs. The bigger, more artificial they are, the more value we have. We can’t teach that to our sons before we teach that to ourselves.
I need to step it up. On my path that I walk I need to re-train myself to be the child; to believe I have something to contribute to the world. When my son loaded that bus on Monday I saw my role as mother begin to change. When this season passes, I know I will always be a mom. But I need my kids to see outside that box; to know that their mom does other things beside, well, being mom. That I have hobbies, strengths, weaknesses. That whatever body type I may be I love myself for what I am; most days. We have to stop hiding behind appearances and become more transparent. To know who we are and what we stand for. Only then can I be the role model that my sons, even my hubs, can see. I am not a pair of mammary glands. I am a human being with a brain and thoughts of my own. I can be respectful, have manners and be beautiful. And don’t you forget it!