I knew immediately when the doctor told me my due date that I would have a boy. All of my grandmother’s grandsons and great-grandsons were born within weeks in September, and that’s when my baby would arrive, too. People told me definitively for months that I would have a girl. But my instinct and my third-trimester dreams were right.
He was a surprise in the delivery room, but mostly for the spirit that filled every corner. None of us knew for sure he’d be a he, but there he was, dark waves of hair and bright, blinking eyes.
I’d always imagined myself as a mother of many girls. Once that boy was in my arms, once I whispered my hellos, there was no space left for any other vision of motherhood.
I’m the girliest of girly girls. Loving and raising this boy has taught me volumes that far exceed the number of pages in What to Expect — on Star Wars and funky smells and manhood and Lego and costumes and itty-bitty boxer briefs and how to make balls (yes, those balls) make sense to a small child.
All of that cannot be covered in all the books in the world. But much of it can be captured in one simple photograph. I asked mothers to send me their favorite photos with their sons and to tell me why that single sweet, silly, momentous or everyday snapshot means so much to them.
I will start with my own, a selves-portrait on the last day of our first really big trip alone, together. We were on a secluded beach in Hawaii, completely at ease, sunburned and happy. It soothes me every time I see that goggled grin.
Grab a hanky — either to wipe your tears or to prevent inhaling from the little-boy feet-stink sure to emanate from the mother-son photos that follow.
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