Google+ Badge

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Great Divide: Raising Daughters v. Raising Sons

THE GREAT DIVIDE: BEIBER FEVER AND FOOTBALL SEASON - this week Mrs. Lo's dear friend, who has all daughters, no sons, popped into LoBiondoFork with what was clearly exciting news. "Guess what??" she said, shaking a piece of paper at me. No clue. "You won something?" I asked. "Even better! The girls and I are going to be Buh-Leebers!!!" I stared at her blankly and immediately began to employ the skills I read about for people who suffer from face blindness. I began to try to "read" as much as I could from her tone of voice. Enthusiasm. Now, the trick was for me to muster some semblance of enthusiasm. "Oh my gosh, that's great! Just remind me again, what is a Buh-Leeber?" Now she looked at me blankly. "Julie, I got tickets online for me and the girls to go to see JUSTIN BEIEBER live in concert, we're going to have BEIBER FEVER." Stick a fork in my eye, is what I wanted to say. "That is sooooo great," is what I actually said. "I didn't realize he was still popular." I could hear the epic fail buzzer going off in her head. She looked at my computer screen, "What are you doing, crew stuff?" she asked. Actually, I told her, I am reading the football rules for Christian's football league, his season just started. Another blank stare. Oh wait, I said, I have to kick this up a notch. He did pretty good at football camp and might even play Tight End, I said. "Is that good?" said my friend. And there it was. The Great Divide. Never to be crossed, always to be walked around. She lived in Girl World and I lived in Boy World and that was the end of that. No amount of face blindness skills could change that fact. Of course, being the really good friends that we have been for over a decade, we talked and laughed about it, and moved on to talk about our shared common interests, interior decorating and Shopping (yes, "Shopping" with a capital S denotes clothes, shoes and makeup, whereas the lower case "s" denotes dreaded chores like groceries and cleaning supplies.) I don't envy my friend at all. I view her in heroic terms, I see her as taking one for the team. I really would rather stick a fork in my eye than go to a Justin Beiber concert, or almost anyplace with screaming teens. But wait, aren't they all screaming at a crew meet or a football game. Well, yes, but that's different. Listen, I said there's a lot of pressure on boys nowadays NOT to play football. No parent easily signs their kid up for a sport where getting hurt is part of the game, it's just a matter of how badly and how quickly he heals. But having grown up in Boy World, thanks to Uncle Michael, and lived in it now for 13 years, I understand one thing my dear friend does not: Football for boys is in their DNA. Those who have a burning desire to play cannot and will not be stopped. My kid is tall for his age but he is puny by Newburgh football standards. He is fast but there will always be faster kids. He will get hurt if he plays this sport. I do not like it, but I accept it. But as another of my dear friends, the ultimate football mom, whose son is going off to play football for a D-1 School on a full scholarship soon, said to me last night. "Julie, if a boy wants to play football, there's no stopping him. A dream is a dream. And you know, a kid can get hurt anywhere. You could stop him from playing and he could get hurt in the bathroom." Wise words. We could stop him, we paid for him, he needs our signatures and he needs us to drive him. But he would resent us and would resent his missed chance for the rest of his life. And that we couldn't live with. I tried to explain all of this to my dear friend with all daughters, as we were sitting in my home office having coffee. She really was horrified at the whole injury thing. She looked at me squarely and said, "So I guess the whole Justin Beiber concert thing isn't looking so bad after all now," and we both had a good laugh. Divide Conquered. Oh, and how will this affect the Newburgh Rowing Club? Christian will be back when the football season is over. And Little Michael fell in love with rowing during Newburgh Rowing Summer Camp. Hence, I just signed him up as the newest member of the Newburgh Rowing Club! Remember to not only count your blessings, but follow your dreams, and let your kids follow their dreams too, where possible. Have a great Saturday, everyone! Mrs. Lo (photo of No. 56 Nick Bourne, Man of Steel, giving Christian a few tips on the football field).