Updated 14 July 2014
Until the birth of my long awaited daughter, I had three adorable sons. But they were born to a mother who had been an emotionally damaged child. As a little girl and teenager, I was quite frightened and mystified by the ways of boys and men. What did I know of life, but especially of males, with my background of nunneries, convents and Bible stories? But there was no doubt I loved each of my sons deeply.
The relationships between sons and mothers can be intense and very, very loving, although sometimes fraught, and from this perspective of safety and comfort, as my little boys grew into men, I learned the intricacies of the male psyche gradually over time. The sibling rivalry; the competition for dad’s respect and mum’s cuddles; the fisticuffs with each other and the wonder at the complexities and mysteries of the female. When their sister arrived unannounced on the scene, (my eldest son was only four when I brought her home) my boys were aghast that she didn’t have a penis as they watched her first bath time at home, their eyes wide like saucers. Their male centred home changed over night with this new fascination.
Then there comes the heartbreak they have to endure during adolescence and beyond, over this girl or that. If only I could spare them the pain they have to experience in life to become well-adjusted men, was then my angst.
My three boys are each very different personalities, so there is never a dull moment not even now when they are married with their own children. How could a woman not understand men after raising three boys? And now I am privileged indeed to have four grandsons to delight in and share anew their experience of life. It is not an automatic right to share in your grandchildren’s lives as many grandparents will tell you.
As Victoria Glendinning tells us in a book of several mother/son personal stories edited by her and her son Matthew: If I am anything to go by, all mothers are in love with their sons…it’s a savagely loving business.
-Anne Frandi-Coory 14 July 2014