I think about men all the time. Mostly in a maternal raising sons, why is there pee everywhere, they are so sensitive, the world wants them to be aggressive, clean your junk, is testosterone poisoning a thing—kind of way. But I do think about them.
All the time.
When I was in high school I had a group of guys that I hung out with—I dated some, babied some, taught a few how to weld, worked with some and listened intently to Bob Dylan with all of them. I was a combination of Wendy and Tinkerbell. They were my lost boys.
I have maintained this status in groups of friends my entire adult life. I love my guys.
I was stunned to have sons. My apparently terrible maternal instinct assured me I was having a daughter both times. But now looking at it with some perspective it is little wonder I have Lost Boys of my own.
I worry about them. The lack of programs to ensure their self-esteem stays intact in spite of the conflicting media images about gender and sex. I worry that boys are struggling in school in droves. I worry that their gifts are so often portrayed as negatives—momentum, energy. I worry.
I worry about my husband and his contemporaries—being a man these days is one big old pile of contradicting expectations. So is being a woman. Basically we are all completely set up to fail. Expectations suck.
I don’t have answers. I have witty sound bites and a few zingers, but mostly I have no words. I need words to show the melting around my sons’ eyes when I implore them to make 10 seconds of eye contact with me at bedtime. I have no words to show you how much they love everything—me, life, mess, toys, each other. I feel like I am raising emotionally complex humans who are taught everyday to bottle it up. I want it to spill all over. I yearn for the right words to explain to the world how vulnerable my boys are. How vulnerable my husband is. I get that there are a million examples of people more exposed or threatened than my family, but this is my little crew, I want to protect them anyhow.
And so, I think. About men. About my Lost Boys. About your Lost Boys. I think and I think and I think. And I often have no idea what to do.
Pirates abound. What is this Wendy to do?