Having a boy was something I always wanted. I really think it has a lot to do with losing my twin brother. Even though I grew up an only child that void was there and I always thought of myself with a boy instead of a girl. That said, once I had a boy I had many moments of wondering if I was going to do this all right. I'm sure I would do this with any gender child, but there is this factor of being a female and wanting to raise a good man.
Here's the thing, I am a female. While I met my husband at the wee age of 22, there were boys and relationships before him. I dated my fare share of assholes and cheaters. I remember being told once that when each relationship ended, instead of dwelling on the sadness of the break up, celebrate the things that person taught me about the man I would ultimately end up with. So, the guy may have been a douche bag.....but maybe he was really funny and I would learn that the next guy would need to have a sense of humor, etc. etc.
Now though, I'm not looking for my companion and instead am raising a boy who will become a man and a companion to someone else. I want him to be kind, generous, compassionate while also standing up for his rights and what he believes in. As I write this all out though I think that those are the same qualities I would want a little girl to have!!!
I know that Leyton will pick up a lot of these wonderful traits from his Dad. His Dad is a great man and such an incredible role model to our child. I just want to make sure that I'm a good role model too and am helping him to become a good man down the road.
I feel like I look at younger boys and girls right now and it scares the shit out of me. The connections are different and a little less personal. They have grown up with technology that was never available to me and are living in a world of screens and text messages. Now, don't get me wrong though, I use the heck out of technology and think it's great....however I do think that there's a personal side that is missing now compared to when I was that age. A sense of awareness to the surroundings perhaps? What ends up happening is I see a lot of rudeness. I live right by a Target and boy oh boy do I HATE going in there when school has just let out for the day. The 15-18 year old crowd that is running around that place makes me crawl in my skin. There is such a distinct lack of respect for anything else going on besides what they are doing.
I don't think that it is impossible, and when I do meet someone that is younger and has qualities I hope my son will have later I feel like I am drawn to them. There are two lovely ladies in my life that are in their early twenties and I am absolutely in love with them...yes I'm talking about you Kay and Kendra. These women are so responsible, kind and helpful to others. The love they also have for each other is something to be admired and something even I aspire to in my own relationship. They make me feel younger just being with them and I love watching Leyton interact with them and know that the impression they make on him is something he will keep with him always. There's also a guy that works at the pool where I teach, I call him Mr. Red Shorts. I don't know him really well, just in our interactions these past few months at the pool. He blows me away though. He has to be the most polite, courteous and friendly 19 year old I have met in my life. He's very much aware of those around him and always looking out for people, which thank goodness really seeing how he's a lifeguard and all! Here's the thing, he's also cute as hell. I may sound like an asshole saying this but the cute ones are many times the not as nice ones. They can be charming and suave and blind you with their good looks but it's not as genuine because they can get away with it. When you find kindness like that, and when it seems truly genuine I find myself wondering how I can help my son become a 19 year old that people will look at and think "wow, this is a really great guy!"
Overall, I know there is no trick. There's no perfect recipe of things I can do to raise a good man down the road. All I can do is try to lead by example. I can let him be himself while also trying to help him make smart choices. I'm not going to smother or helicopter parent him, but instead be there when he needs me and hope that those that are in his life are good models and influences to whom he becomes down the road. I want to give him a sense of adventure. I want him to feel like he can do anything and be anything he wants in his life and at the same time not be an entitled spoiled brat. I want him to know that he can be kind and he can love with all his heart and it doesn't make him any less of a man....in fact it only makes him a stronger one.
I love you buddy and can't wait to watch you grow into the wonderful person I know you will be!