Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Man Stuff

Funny how time flies. G was 2 months old in this picture with his Dad, and 5 years later he lost his Dad to cancer. Five years with your dad is not enough time. In the 5 years since Daniel died, I've tried to be both mom and dad to him...dusting him off when he falls, being sympathetic, being supportive, being harsh when it was needed...it's tough to be good cop and bad cop in the same conversation....sometimes I think I have a personality disorder! ;-)

When conversations about girls or puberty have come up over the past two years, I have relied on a couple of fantastic uncles to give the man's perspective and I am thankful to have them to call on. G and I talk about everything, but there is a limit to my technical knowledge. I mean, I am a GIRL!

In the past few months as my relationship with Carl has become more serious, G has started to turn to Carl for manly advice. As a result, I've overheard or taken part in a few interesting conversations. About a month ago, G asked Carl for advice on how to talk to girls. Carl responded to G that he wasn't an expert in that area, but he'd be happy to talk to him about it anytime. G laughed at Carl, pointed to me and said "yes you are, you got my mom...." I laughed out loud, and Carl admitted to the truth in that comment. More recently, G served as a page for a state senator for a day. In that role, he was required to wear a coat and tie. I tied his tie for him (with the assistance of internet instructions), and after a day of being dressed like a little man we met Carl for dinner. During dinner Carl quietly leaned over to G, whispered something in his ear and indicated to him that he should unbutton his jacket while he was seated. It was very subtle, and if I'd not been paying attention I would have missed it completely. It was a sweet gesture and it tugged at my heart strings. Carl took the time to give G a little "man coaching", and did it in such a way as to not draw attention to it or make it seem like criticism. I loved seeing it, and G loved getting the input. He quickly unbuttoned his jacket and smiled at Carl like they shared a special secret. It was the cutest damn thing.

I try to be all things to my little guy, but clearly there will always be gaps. We are so very lucky to have a few willing men to step in when I'm at a loss, or just clearly the wrong person to talk to about an issue. Thanks to all the men in G's life who help to fill in those gaps. You guys rock!


  1. I am so glad that your son has men in his life in the most critical years of growing up. I have two boys who lost their father 19 months ago. They are 17, and 14 years old. His death caused them to want to be children, but excelled them into some strange early adulthood learning to be young men. I had to smile as I read, as we too, watched you-tube video on how to tie a tie before he went to prom last year. Their uncles have not been so kind as to step in and fulfill any role in their lives and it makes me so angry. I am left to be their mom, but at the same time talk about car engines, girls, careers as we college hunt, and the off color jokes they once shared with dad. It is always a juggling act, and I so get your comment about being multiple personalities. Good luck to you and your son. He is fortunate to have others help you fill in those inevitable gaps in life.

  2. Thank you for this post. While it has obviously been horrendous for me to lose my husband when I was 44, and when my daughter was 10, it is the loss as it relates to my son, who was 6 at the time, that often disturbs me the most. I worry a lot about how he will learn to become a man. I worry about not being able to tie a tie! I worry about how his very being was rocked in such an essential way. If only more men knew how much they could give to the fatherless boys among them. I'm glad you have some men like that for your son, and for you.

  3. My sons although both grown miss the "advice" of their Dad. My youngest who is 21 asked me yesterday for a picture of his Dad to put on the wall of his dorm room. I felt awful that I hadn't thought of offering, but maybe it's better that he actually asked for it. It made me both proud and sad at the same time. It's been just over a year and the boys seem fine - but as a Mom, I worry. My oldest is newly married, who will he ask advice of as he learns to be an awesome husband? - maybe he already knows, he had a great role model.

    Great Post Michelle, thank you.

  4. What a touching story about Carl and G. One of the greatest quotes I've read after losing my mom three years ago when I was just 19 came from the blog 'Diary of a Dying Mom'. The author wrote, "Life gives you many mothers, not just the one of your birth. You will always have a mother when you need one. You just need to look for her." --and the same goes for fathers! I am happy to hear that your little boy is being greatly taken care of as he grows up, and I'm sure his precious angel in heaven is making sure of that too.

  5. Thanks for this post it is nice to know that maybe once I find the right someone they will love my daughters as much as I do and give them the role model the need to see in a man. We have many good friends who are male, but they are so different than their dad was.