I've often been accused of walking around wearing blinders, and of being ridiculously naive, when it comes to raising my boys. People want to believe that I am absolutely clueless about what they may or may not be getting into, just because I choose to believe the best of them.
Does this mean that I'm not aware that my boys swear with a mouth that is just begging to be disinfected? Does it mean that I was completely blindsided when the Teenager made the decision to take up private modeling to an audience of one specific person? Does it mean that I have absolutely no idea what an obnoxious individual my Bug can be? Does it mean that I don't hear the many times they both have told me to take a running leap off the nearest cliff?
No. What it means is that I take a moment each time something happens (even if that moment is several moments later) to remind myself that they are only 12 and 17. To remind myself that I, too, was once only 12 and then 17. To remember that no matter how old they look, or how quickly they are being forced to grow up in a world that simply has no patience for children anymore, they are still just little boys.
Little boys who are stuck between building imaginary worlds with Legos and building actual lives they'll need to step into. Boys who are caught somewhere between a fear of catching cooties from a girl and the realization that cooties are not a bad thing if it means being close enough to breathe in her shampoo. Boys who go from thinking mom is their favorite girl in the world to forgetting that they're leaving their favorite girl at home in favor of the ones who suddenly make their hormones jump, shower and wear cologne.
No, I see all of these things. I know they're happening. I sit there, struggling to hold onto my little boys and feeling them pull away, leaving me grasping at fingertips. I hear the hateful words when they don't have the patience or the knowledge to use less hurtful ones to make their point in any discussion. And I watch them make choices I never would have made for them. I'm not naive, I'm not clueless, I'm not wearing blinders.
I'm choosing to look past it all, and see that my boys are doing the best that they can to grow into the best men they can grow into. I hear them tell me they hate me, but I feel them telling me that they love me enough to give me their heartache, anger and frustrations, and trust that I will believe in them anyway.
Because I do love them enough to believe in them anyway. Always.