In early January of this year, I was asked to come and speak at a former church as part of a parent panel. She wanted me to talk about parenting a child with special needs, as well as parenting BOYS, since we have 3. Boys, that is. I said, "yes!" without thinking.
I wasn't sure exactly how it was gonna go, but I've spoken about Joshua on many occasions and in front of different groups, so I wasn't too nervous about that part of it. Seriously, how hard could it be? I jotted down my notes and I was good-to-go.
But then the day came. And then I walked into the room. It was not at all how I pictured it. I thought we'd be sitting at a long table...TOGETHER...you know, "panel-style," and we'd briefly tell our stories, and the audience could ask questions.
There was one long podium up front and we had to each go up there BY OURSELVES and talk.
I started to sweat.
And then everything I was going to say just fell out of my head.
(Did I mention that I had left my Bible AND my notes out in my car, and I didn't run out and get them because I didn't think I would a) have time, or b) need notes.
Wrong on both counts.
And another little fact that I hadn't considered was that I was going to be speaking in front of people I knew really well. Friends. And it was different from speaking to high school or college classes about Joshua, which is what I had done before. This time, there were some older (my age) parents in there, and even some grandparents...thinking, I guess that I might have something insightful to share.
I can only remember one thing from my speech, and it's not good. I was trying to talk really fast because there were 4 of us on the panel, AND THEY MADE ME GO FIRST. I made it ok talking about Joshua, because I've done it often, and it's more in my comfort zone. When I switched to talking about boys in general, I don't know what happened, but I turned into a raving lunatic. Should you think that I'm joking, let me just say that the ONLY thing I remember saying is that, as a Mom of boys, I kind of had to be like Jason Bourne. You know, walk into rooms...churches, schools, restaurants, homes of friends...and mentally assess the potential risks in the room: ways to escape, items that could get broken, things they could climb...or eat, places they could hide and potty (in their pants)...exits, windows, fire alarms, stairs, pools. I could do this quickly and accurately.
WHAT AM I SAYING? MARTY, PLEASE SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
First of all, this made me look like a super freak, which...
Secondly, it made my boys seem wild or out-of-control, and they weren't (usually). They were just...boys. And there were 3 of them.
And lastly, pretty sure I heard crickets chirping at one point, because if you don't have boys, older boys, you might not even know who Jason Bourne is. And if you don't know who Jason Bourne is, you probably don't have all 3 Bourne movies (the Matt Damon ones) on DVD...in your home. and if you don't, then I probably can't even talk to you.
*Disclaimer* I am not recommending these movies. These movies are violent and contain lots of bad words, and my boys did not watch them until they were much older...but the action scenes are amazing and intense, and for those reasons alone you can understand why these movies would appeal to older boys.
Anyway, after I sat back down, I just groaned in my spirit, because I hadn't shared anything on how we have intentionally parented our boys...the values we've tried to instill...the issues that pertain specifically to boys. So I'm gonna try to write down some things that were important to our family, so that if my kids read this one day, they'll know that we tried...and it will help me remember to try and encourage these things if Jim and I are blessed with grandsons.
Follow-up posts: Boys and Respect, Boys and Being a Helper, Boys (and the Girl) the Teenage Years.
"Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts; let them proclaim Your power." (Psalm 145:4)