All is calm, all is well

By Beck

It’s suddenly snowy and my house is covered in a crazy, Clark Griswald amount of Christmas lights and we play Christmas music all day long, of course, and there is one Christmas song that makes me have to retreat and cry EVERY time I hear it.

And is some haunting medieval carol, song by an ephemeral chorus of little boys?

Is it some spare folk ballad?

Is it some sad WWII Christmas song?

Nah. It’s THIS song.

Excuse me. I have to go and have a good cry.

I grew up with brothers and I was fairly certain that I only wanted daughters and that I would very obligingly only have daughters.

“Little boys are the sweetest,” my mom said. “Little girls are lots of fun, but only mothers know how sweet little boys are.”

Oh sure, I thought. That’s the sort of things that mothers of sons tell themselves to console themselves for all of the rough-housing and sweating. And then I promptly went and had my first child, who was very obligingly a delightful daughter.

I found out that my second child was a boy on the same day that I found out that I had not lost the pregnancy. To say that I was elated is to recognize how deficient words can be – and that luminous knowledge of his beating heart carried me through the rest of a very difficult pregnancy. But I still worried about being the mother of a boy, worried that I would not have as much love for him.

And then I had him and he was the sweetest thing I have ever seen in my whole life.

Little girls are every bit as delightful as I thought they’d be, and big girls are more fun than I ever suspected but the shock of the joy of raising boys has been the huge surprise of being a mother for me, the revelation that has made other boys more sympathetic and suddenly beautiful with their shocks of hair and their rough energy and their trucks clutched in their calloused little hands.

And at Christmas I play that song and I cry.

My Boy doesn’t look much like a little boy now – he’s tall for his age and broad-shouldered and sturdy and already has a deep timbre to his voice – but he’s only seven, and still a little boy, and that song just KILLS me, with Santa coming and a little excited boy and I know it does not last. By next year he’ll probably be six feet tall and starting to grow a moustache, and this year feels like the last year of REALLY being a little kid.

And so for a few more weeks, I have a little boy who is just beyond himself with excitement about Christmas and I’ve kept him up a few nights recently so he could tell me about the stars and Santa Claus and all of the amazing things that he just knows are going to happen. Oh, little boy, I think, don’t go to bed quite yet. Stay with me for a little while longer.

33 Responses to All is calm, all is well
  1. Stephanie
    December 3, 2009 | 11:46 am

    You know how I feel about my boys. I ‘ve never heard this song before!!!


  2. Jenny 867-5309
    December 3, 2009 | 11:52 am

    I’ve never heard this song either. But I love it. Dang, you weren’t kidding when you said this post was weepy. As a mom to all boys, I get it. I do get it.

  3. Louise
    December 3, 2009 | 12:11 pm

    I have only girls. I grew up with only a sister. And I still love that song. It captures all the magic of childhood Christmas, whether it be for boys or girls.

    ‘Course, I never got a toy train for Christmas …

  4. candace
    December 3, 2009 | 12:18 pm

    Wonderful song! Boys are….awesome! I have one child, a son. I love everything that makes him a boy. The loud, wild, jumping off furniture, and even his plain spokeness at 3.5 years old. I even love how one minute he can be running down the hallways in his underwear screaming at the top of his lungs from delight and then next be running to me and give me a hug. My mother in law raised three boys and now her first and only grandchild was a boy. I never have a desire to have a girl. I guess because I like wildness boys can be. I was never your typical girl growing up!!!

  5. gretchen from lifenut
    December 3, 2009 | 12:19 pm

    How have I never heard this song?

    I’ve long thought I was especially blessed to have a gob of boys—5 of them, getting bigger every second.


  6. Angela Nazworth
    December 3, 2009 | 12:27 pm

    How sweet. I have never heard that song before. Thank you for the introduction. I am the mother of one girl and one boy and you are so right…there is just an inexplicable sweetness about little boys.

  7. Nicole
    December 3, 2009 | 12:59 pm

    Oh, I love it. I just love having boys. It really is a special experience, when they interrupt their craziness and rough-housing to do something sweet and loving.

  8. Nowheymama
    December 3, 2009 | 1:10 pm

    Great, Beck. Now I have to put myself to bed and weep for the rest of the day.


  9. Heth
    December 3, 2009 | 2:45 pm

    Makes me want to scoop up my 14 year old grouch-of-a-boy like I did when he was 6. *sniff* Gorgeous song, gorgeous post.

  10. Herb of Grace
    December 3, 2009 | 2:48 pm

    Dangit woman, don’t DO that to me!

  11. bea
    December 3, 2009 | 3:06 pm

    This is EXACTLY what I feel about my boy.

  12. suburbancorrespondent
    December 3, 2009 | 4:59 pm

    The mustache doesn’t start until he’s 9.

    And, me too – I didn’t “get” little boys until I had them myself. There’s nothing sweeter, in a quiet, little-boy way.

  13. suburbancorrespondent
    December 3, 2009 | 5:00 pm

    I love that song, too – Raffi sings it on his Christmas CD.

  14. Happy Geek
    December 3, 2009 | 5:32 pm

    I had so wanted boys because I taught junior high and was terrified of teen girls, but then I got boys and The wonderfulness of them truly cannot be put into words.

  15. edj
    December 3, 2009 | 5:46 pm

    I have two boys and I love them! Well, obviously I do, but you know what i mean. Boys are awesome. And, honestly, so much easier than girls. I know, stereotypes, but true at least for us. Boys are straightforward naughty, straightforward sweet.
    That song makes me cry too. It’s amazing the things I’ll admit on the internet.

  16. magpie
    December 3, 2009 | 5:54 pm

    Oh, what a charmer that song is. I’d never heard it before, and I thought I was the queen of obscure Christmas music.

  17. Jen
    December 3, 2009 | 6:27 pm

    Wow, this is making me want to sniffle and I don’t even have boys. Maybe it’s making me sniffle BECAUSE I don’t have any boys and I did think I wanted to experience both. That’s ok though. I was kind of terrified of boys and now I’ll never have to face my fears 🙂

  18. Anita Jo
    December 3, 2009 | 7:01 pm

    As usual, you nailed it. I’m the mom to 2–soon to be 3–boys, and I’ve never really wanted a girl. My boys are such a delight.

    It recently dawned on me too that this might be the last year my oldest (also 7) will have a little kid’s magical Christmas. And it made me more than a little sad. But I’m sure whatever comes next will be fun too. Right?

  19. Kelly
    December 3, 2009 | 7:54 pm

    This is not a nice post to write because pregnant women, such as myself, might read it and SOB by the time they get to the end.

  20. Alison
    December 3, 2009 | 10:09 pm

    SOB. Mine is three, almost four, and I want him to never, ever grow up.

  21. Carrie
    December 3, 2009 | 11:13 pm

    Awwww…before I had kids, I thought, How could anyone NOT want at least one boy and one girl – at least one of each? Then I had my son, and I thought, “Hey, I’d be satisfied with all sweet little boys.” And now my daughter will be arriving in (hopefully less than) two weeks, and I could not be more thrilled. 🙂

  22. Jeni
    December 4, 2009 | 9:46 am

    When I found out that our #2 was going to be a boy, I thought, “What in the world am I going to do with a BOY?” I was afraid that we wouldn’t bond as closely as my daughter and I. I couldn’t have been more wrong – the bond seems even stronger this time around. It may be in part that I now know firsthand how fleeting these infant days are, but I treasure and appreciate these moments more with my boy.

  23. Rosebud & Papoosie Girl
    December 4, 2009 | 12:19 pm

    Oh that song shoots straight to my heart too. Papoosie Girl’s class sang it in Grade 1 for the Christmas concert. At first they were not going to be able to do it because they wanted a hymn, but the teacher insisted and I am glad she did. The way you described having a boy rang true for a lot of my feelings when I was pregnant. I never did have my own boy, but have two adorable godsons I love dearly. Hang on to your little boy for as long as you can.

  24. Painted Maypole
    December 4, 2009 | 1:52 pm

    just this morning I was thinking about how I dont understand boys, and couldn’t imagine having one.

  25. Chantal
    December 4, 2009 | 2:25 pm

    oh Beck, how sweet. My oldest boy is 8 and he is tall and wears the same size shoes as me, but he is still such a little boy.

  26. Alison
    December 4, 2009 | 9:54 pm

    Despite spending my pregnancy swearing up and down that I didn’t care what we had…when the doctor said ‘boy’, I realized how secretly thrilled I was. And now, at 4 months, when he throws his arms around me and buries his little head in my neck, I can only hope that this cuddly baby will turn into a sweet boy down the road…A sweet boy who likes to splash in mud puddles with me. I’m lacking the appropriate adjective to describe how much I enjoyed this post, but thank you for it.

  27. christine
    December 5, 2009 | 8:16 pm

    ack! i’m crying! and now i am running off to hug the heck outta my little boy. i, too didn’t expect the joy her brings me. *sniff*

  28. patois
    December 6, 2009 | 8:49 pm

    I hate you for writing this and making me click over to that song and cry, cry, cry. That 13 year old boy of mine? Totally gone. And Mr. 7 ain’t going to be right for it much longer. So I hate you for making me cry.

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