10. I would not have constant engines revving, gunfire and superhero themes to listen to all day long.
9. I might not understand that park play usually involves lots of noise, violence and seemingly dangerous speeds, while possibly also using the playground equipment for something other than its intended purpose.
8. I would not know many things about most construction tools and equipment. Okay, with a carpenter grandfather, father and husband, maybe I would, but I wouldn’t be reminded of the explicit details on a regular basis if not for my particular little boys: “Mom, that isn’t a track-hoe, it’s a back-hoe, it has no tracks and two shovels.”
7. I would not know compassion and violent urges can exist at the same time:
Carter: "Aw, poor Zachy. He's just a cute baby and doesn't know... so we should wrestle him to the ground next time he has a marker!"
6. I would not be privy to constant talk and fascination with weaponry. We don’t own real guns, we don’t hunt, and we aren’t military, and typically don’t watch television containing weapons when the boys are awake, yet they still find ways to make anything and everything into guns and swords.
5. I would not know the sweetness, stillness and relief of watching someone sleep while clutching a sword, or laying in a bed full of race cars.
4. I would not know that it is possible to love through violence. When I am tackled, it hurts, but to them, it’s a loving gesture:
Patrick: “Don’t worry Mom, he’s just head-butting me.”
3. I would not know protective love like I know it now. That fierce desire to protect me, their brothers, or our home and property exists in their play and their reality:
“The first thing we do, Cart, is build a fortress for Zachary, because he’s little and can’t fight like us.”
2. I would not be explaining getting through Mass as their mission, and giving them items to seek out, and telling them that Jesus is the ultimate superhero:
Carter whispers, “Mom, I have my guns out, because I think there’s a bad guy tryin’ to steal Jesus’ beautiful house.”
1. I would not know the courage it takes to be raising good men. My hopes and fears for them exist in a way that wouldn’t if I had only daughters, because there’s a part of me that doesn’t understand why they are the way they are.
Sometimes it’s difficult to watch their struggles, but it is amazing to watch them gather courage, learn from their mistakes, and pick themselves up again and again.