Thursday, 1 May 2008

Beck had a great post about masculinity, and it made me think a lot about my boys, how I’m raising them, how they will be when they grow up. My Gorgeous Boy is the sweetest boy there is. When he was about 18 months we used to go to  park almost everyday, and everyday he would pick dandelions for me, and put them in my hair. Even now, when he comes back from school he always brings me flowers, sometimes stolen from the neighbors’ yards, sometimes common, simple dandelions, but always given with love. You see, my son has the oldest eyes I’ve ever seen in a kid, except for my nephew Nahuel, who has the same kind of eyes. It goes beyond the color; it’s the depth of that gaze, like they’ve known you forever and want to tell you of things they’re not conscious of with their minds, but with their hearts. I always swell with pride and happiness and humility all mixed up and confused when someone compliments me on such a fine son, so obedient, polite, innocent, helpful, and beautiful. Because with that face, those eyes and that smile, I don’t know what else you could call him. Beautiful. But even without the face, there is the voice, and every time I hear him speak, and laugh, and sing ever so quietly so nobody can hear him, I can see the beauty of that spirit that Heavenly Father sent me to learn from and admire. yes, sometimes he drives me crazy because he does things too slowly for my taste, and he likes to talk a lot, and he laughs without inhibitions but, hey, too loud! Yes I know, I’m a complete moron sometimes. But he forgives me every time. He likes to be my friend. I worry that some day he won’t be so forgiving or patient with me and won’t want to be my friend. I know it sounds so silly, but I’m so excited to know him when he becomes a man! He’ll be incredible and I want to be able to tell people, “I’ve known him since he was a baby.” I’m not even imagining that I’ll flaunt to the world that I’m his mom because for me, it’s an honor to know him. I can see him 15 years from now, embarked in some wonderful work, giving this world love, happiness and peace in whatever he chooses to do. Some days he says he’ll be a midwife, or a doctor, a tailor (he loves to sew!), a man who cleans houses, a guitar guy, a dad, a man who builds things…his favorite, his big love is cooking. Last year he was so involved in the idea of owning a restaurant that he wrote menus in both English and Spanish and went around the neighborhood inviting whoever wanted to come for toast with dulce de leche. Every afternoon after school, the neighborhood kids would be assembled in my kitchen trying mate, toast, yogurt, and whatever he could provide. After a few days of this, and a little conversation, he agreed to just plan it for when he grows up. He’ll serve Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Argentine food. And because last year his brother had a very strict diet, he’d make sure that at his place they served food that everyone could eat, even people with dietary requirements. 

I’m excited to see the kind of man this kid will be.
And my other son, El Cangri…In spite of being a handful, and ultra demanding, that kid can melt your heart. Today we were in my bed watching American Idol, and he heard my stomach rumble. He thought my stomach was hurting, so he reached over to me and pat my stomach saying, “It’s alright mami, you’ll be OK. Sana, sana, colita de rana. Si no sana hoy, sanara manana…” My sweet Cangri; he’s growing so fast, and even though he’s only three, I can see so much determination in him, such a power to do what he wants, so much resourcefulness. Like grabbing the broom to reach up to open the garage door to go out and ride his tricycle, yeah…
We call him “Cangri” after the Puerto Rican “Cangri”, the “Dandy” who goes out and wins people over with his charm and hard work. That’s what both my boys are, hard workers. 
My boys must be spiritual giants, because that’s what the world needs today; men who are not afraid, who have a thirst for adventure and at the same time marvel at each miracle that they encounter. I pray that they may always have that innocence, that reality doesn’t crush them, that they may remain optimistic and cheerful and grateful. When Gorgeous Boy was a baby I used to hear “I hope you dance” by Lee Ann Womack , and I still hold that prayer in my heart, that whatever life brings them, my boys will still dance. I beg Father to let me still be here to see them and rejoice in such works of art, my sons.       

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Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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