When the boys get together (which isn’t often these days with our oldest’s work schedule – he works full-time swing-shift and goes to school full-time to finish his senior year), there is the customary joking, ribbing, and sibling oneupmanship. Sometimes it’s insults, and sometimes it’s imitating each other’s most embarrassing habits or moments.
I always feel protective and want to stop them from going too far and hurting one another’s feelings. But I’m not part of the circle of boys where this is the natural way, the way of the jungle, some sort of rite of passage.
I forget that they sometimes turn their mocking attention to me, especially when all four boys are together, and the older set starts telling their stories of when I was new to the family and they were 10 and 15, and as our very oldest will say, I came in like Mary Poppins on steroids, trying to be the perfect wife and mom to my new family of men.
They’ll imitate some of my behaviors, and even when it’s one of my over-the-top antics from early on that I wish they’d forget, when they imitate me for laughs in a group of family and friends, they’ll look at me with twinkles in their eyes and I know they love me, and the kidding is all for fun.
The Oscar Wilde quote comes to mind that, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…”
And so, this morning, as we are brainstorming about an impromptu visit to the older boys, their wives, the children and the babies; I remind myself not to jump in the middle or try to shush them if their words start swinging wild and their banter seems unruly to me. I’ll try something new and sit back and enjoy the view. Because in this case, this IS my circus, and these ARE my monkeys, and they are a rollicking good time!
Cover photo by Fer Gomez on Unsplash