My boys are boys. They fight and yell and curse each other out. They are affectionate and loving and sensitive and tender. They protect each other but they are also terrifyingly violent with each other. They’re boys and they’re brothers and all three are my sons.
Kid1 was a surprise that came with joy and excitement. Every time I puked while pregnant, I laughed. It didn’t happen often, but really warm gatorade would make anyone vomit, and I just learned to steer clear of whole milk, but 2% was just fine. I celebrated the stretch marks that were his permanent gift to my body. I was altered by him in so many ways from the girl that lived for attention in short dresses and only worried about making sure I had my three packs of cigarettes a day and enough boys in rotation throughout the week to buy me drinks. A week before his first birthday, I found out we were having Kid2.
During my second pregnancy, I would place Kid1’s hand on my belly to feel Kid2 move and kick. I’d also pick out pictures in magazines or point at the television anytime I saw a pregnant woman. I would point at the belly we saw, then mine and say,”baby.” When he was 18 months old we went to the hospital and in my hospital bag was a toy packed for Kid1 from Kid2 because he needed a toy to keep him busy while he was too little to be played with. When we came home, Kid1 was taught that Kid2 was his baby and we all had to be gentle with him and care for him.
With Kid3, we had a 3 year gap, but the older two were taught the same way. Earlier this year I heard Kid2 (at 13 years old) tell Kid3 (9), “you were created so I could love you.” In that moment I knew they would be okay.
With my first surrogate pregnancy, I didn’t mention much at all. I kept the kicks and wiggles to myself and just enjoyed what it felt like to have life so fully inside of me. The hospital stay was odd for them, but I came home to them filled with hormones that directed my happy bonding compulsions at them. It was the same with the second surrogate pregnancy, but with the third, they were older and Kid1 was upset that the girls I carried wouldn’t be ours. He likes babies and would like a sister. I’m not looking to start that kind of adventure but that might be one of the perks of divorce. He has a Dad that might.
Tonight, there was fighting and playing. And more fighting and name calling. I finally got them to stop. I explained that I love them all and it hurts me when they say things like that about each other. I explained that they never hear me say bad things about their Dad because I know it would hurt them. I explained that the same hurt they would feel is the same hurt I feel whenever they say things like, “are you on team pussy now?” (I admire their creativity.) It took about 3 reminders but they were better about treating each other with love.
There was singing today. My boys sang with me, as we belted it out to Lady Gaga. They laughed and explored with oobleck (cornstarch and water and super fun). They played Minecraft together and helped each other scoop boba into their glasses for homemade Thai iced tea. These brothers are everything to me and through their experience, I am unlearning a lifetime of what I thought it was to be a man. They are sweet and sensitive. They are caring and compassionate. They love children and are willing to step beyond what they see and tap into their beliefs and how those beliefs inform their choices. They remind me that motherhood is amazing.