The Glory of a Boy: Homecoming Prep Edition

photo copy 8I knew I had it easy last July when the girls working in Maggie Lee’s Closet talked about ordering homecoming dresses. Several dresses. Since I am way out of the girl loop this was news to me. As one known for changing clothes and hairstyles five times before heading out the door, I get it. But, with me, its more about camouflaging the pear shape and parting my bangs strategically to cover the forehead acne I’m getting 30 years later.

So even before the last trip to Rosemary Beach, homecoming dance preparation for some girls had begun. When most high school guys were in baseball tournaments, mowing grass, or fishing, girls were finding the perfect dress for the October night. No wonder guys have had to get more creative in the way they ask a date to this dance. Girls are invested. The least a guy can do is spell out homecoming? with cupcakes, a pizza or in Jack’s case, in the fresh mud on his truck.

With plans–picture pre-party, dinner, dance and post-party breakfast–coordinated, the day arrived. What I had not planned on was the opening of squirrel season Homecoming Dance Saturday. While girl moms posted manicure, hair, and makeup preparations on Facebook, the scene over here with Davy Crockett was a little different. I could have chronologged Jack’s various stages of homecoming dance preparation: donning the camo, prepping the pellet gun, and peeling out in high gear on his John Deere.

Since the picture session with his closest 30 friends and their dates was at 5:30 and we had to gather his date and be back across town, I asked him if he could shower by four o’clock. I was running errands so I called a little after four just to make sure he was in forward hygienic motion.

“Hey Jack. Have you showered?”

“Uh. (pause) Almost” he answered.

“Almost?” I asked in a puzzled tone.

“Yea. I’m skinning a squirrel. I’m almost done.”


So I race home. Thankfully he is running water as I pray he uses the nail brush. He jumps in the suit and I drive us to his Bailey’s house where I am again struck by what the sportsman’s paradise our state is. Bailey’s Dad answered the door and welcomed us inside. Down from the stairs comes beautiful Bailey, a vision in royal blue. I joked around about a picture I had seen of a Dad and brothers with shotguns and the caption “Ready to meet the girl’s date” Bailey nonchalantly mentioned, “Oh, I have a .22 under my bed.”

My face had a confused look of, “Wait. What?” While the squirrel hunter’s countenance exclaimed, “That’s hot.” Dad shot up the stairs, got the firearm and we grabbed a photo. My absolute favorite of the night. To no one’s surprise these high school girls looked utterly amazing. And the boys, well, after you rinse off the varmints, dress them in a suit and pin a flower on, they clean up pretty well, too.

boys, Parenting boys

In Praise of Raising Boys

A little mud on the tires
A little mud on the tires

I remember the ultrasound tech’s words in San Antonio 16 years ago when she told us we were expecting a little boy,

“If I’m wrong, I need to go sell shoes or something.”

She was right. What she could tell me that day was that we would soon add a boy to our family, what I could not know was how rich my life would be as a result of that addition. Here are the reasons I love being my son’s Mom. Parents everywhere, try not to be too jealous:

The flowery nick-names: One Mother’s Day I received a card with the loving title, “23 Chromosomes” scribbled upon it. Sure I had to use Google to get the joke which is sad because he was in the 6th grade when he foisted out that one but it stuck. 

In the morning I greet him with a tender, “Good Morning, Baby Jack” and commonly receive a wry, “Good Morning, Baby Momma” in return.

I am, however, called “Pretty Momma” when there a last-minute grocery item, gas for the John Deere or a bait-seeking mission to Academy Sports & Outdoors needed. 

The honesty: Erma Bombeck nailed it when she wrote about the difference between boys and girls. “When it is silent and you ask girls what they are doing the answer is always “Nothing.”

Ask boys and they’ll tell you, “We just threw the cat down the laundry shoot. It was so cool”

After a discussion with a friend of mine, I posed the question to my son,”So, it was inferred to me by a friend that I can at times be dramatic.  Do you think I’m dramatic?”

Glaring straight back at me in disbelief he shot, “Uh. YEAH, Mom.” then chortled. 

The simplicity:  Food is fuel, nothing more. He eats like a honey badger when starving and refuses food when he is not hungry. He is deaf to the tiny temptress voice which relentlessly whispers, “cupcakes” to me internally if some exist in the kitchen. 

And really, why expend energy changing shorts when you could conserve that precious resource NOT changing your shorts? Alas, the Mother of all arguments…

The Matrimonial Standard: Apparently attending a wedding is the only event which warrants full battery of hygiene, ironed clothes and appropriately matching socks. The standards of everyday life are far less vigorous. 

This life-philosophy is evidenced by the tag line, “It’s not like we’re going to a wedding or anything” in response to questions such as, 

“Did you put on a belt?”

“Brush your hair yet?”

“Change out of your squirrel-hunting shirt before church?”


The Bear Gryllesque test of character: Waiting for Longmire to que up I received this rare nugget of what matters to Jack. 

“You know If I had to 




(dramatic pause)

by chewing off their leg, I’d do it. I would, Mom.”

“Hey Mom, if chewing off my leg was the only way to save my life, would you do it?”

After numerous qualifying questions about femoral arteries bleeding out and would there be someone to find us after I had gnawed his trapped leg, he gave up in disgust.

I guess from now on, my love will just have to be expressed in less dramatic ways.

A little mud on the tires
A little mud on the tires