I used to think that there had to be some kind of trick to the question, “What is the difference between boys and girls, because other than “plumbing,” I honestly believed both sexes really were the same.
Growing up, I came from a long line of females. In our family my father was the only man in our house, except for during the holidays when uncles or second cousins would show up. Yes, my dad was my dominant male role model, and talk about learning from a bad example. I did learn however early in life that our behaviors, mannerisms and habits are very different. But again, I truly believed we were all created the same. A notion I lived with for nearly 50 years, until my grandson was born.
On May 2, 2015, everything I ever thought to be true about the male gender was proven either inaccurate or wrong. You see, I grew up believing that every man I knew (especially my father) was damaged by someone in his life prior to meeting me. I knew in my dad’s case it was his mother, my beloved grandma Anna. Boy friends, guy coworkers, buddies, my husband, they all had issues. I just figured it was their crazy moms, ex-girlfriends, ex-wives that broke them. It wasn’t their fault. It is just the way of the universe.
Wrong!! Even before they leave the womb, they are DIFFERENT. I DO believe that males and females are created differently. Not in the obvious physical construction, but in the wiring.
A very wise and educated, older woman, taught me a very valuable lesson a long time ago that I will take to my grave. She and her husband of 60-plus years started out as one of my customers, but they turned into family, and she was my BEST FRIEND! Married at 17 to a soldier seven years older than her returning from war, she became a professor in Ohio with a master’s degree in religion and a Master’s Degree in Astrology. She also owned the Rocky Top Saloon that backed the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and was a well known Country Swing Dancer. Not to mention, at the time, she was double my age and had been married longer than I had been on the planet, so I took her words to heart like gospel.
So we are in my home, and she seems I am having a rough moment with my husband. Loving us both equally, she decided to try and lend a helping hand with a bit of relationship advice. She took an old card out of her purse like she had done this before. She asked me to look at the picture on the front of the card. It was a lovely springtime meadow. She asked me, “What do you see?”
I told her what I saw. She smiled and repeated, “The pretty pink….The beautiful blue… The lush green…The bright yellow.” Then she paused and giggled, before adding, “Just like I thought. You are a woman. You see the beauty in the color.”
OK, I thought. “What’s the point?” I urged.
She laughed a little more and grinned a little wider before she answered, “Your hubby would have mentioned the trees, the clouds, the field, maybe even the dandelions, but he would not add color to his description, because he is a man’s man, and he sees in black and white.”
I was still not getting it, and I know she could tell by the look on my face that I was stumped. I had to resemble a deer in the headlights by now, and I would never even think to be rude and ask her, what the heck are you talking about?! So all of a sudden, she flipped over the card, and there was the EXACT same picture of the “lovely springtime meadow,” but this time it was in black and white.
“Now, what do you see little Miss Smarty Pants?” she asked, while giving me the stink-eye over the rim of her glasses.
Long story short, my grandson has proven to ME 100-percent that everything I ever thought to be true was not accurate, and everything my beloved Miss Jackie Wise tried to teach me simply lacked the right perception. After nearly 80-years, someone in our family finally managed to produce a BOY. With that said, he brought with him the kind of comprehension that only a newborn baby boy in my life could bring.
Even during my daughter’s labor I knew this lil man was already entering the world way more complicated than any baby in my past experiences. I had never seen a birth before my own. I am the youngest of my sisters, and the first to have children. But, I delivered two girls and to be honest if you combined both my labors they didn’t total the number of hours it took this bouncing baby boy to be born.
I delivered his mother in a birthing center with a midwife, after soaking most of my 3-hour labor in a tub, listening to Golden Oldies on my cassette player. It took me a total of 7 hours to give birth, get cleaned up, eat a couple turkey subs, stop in at our pediatrician’s office for a quick check-up, before we were home on our couch admiring our new baby girl. My second daughter, I barely had three hours between feeling that first OH CRAP pain and her coming out nearly two weeks early weighing in at over 9lbs. Seriously, we were in the hardware store picking out paint for the nursery and bam. I had to hold my knees together and slowly walk out to the car. Luckily we were minutes from the hospital. Again, all natural, with a midwife, no birthing center nearby this time though. So although I couldn’t go home for 24-hours, my little ray of Sunshine got to stay with me immediately after she was cleaned up and examined.
I’ll never forget one of my regular gentlemen customers, a native Floridian farm boy, old enough to be my father, said to me after my second daughter was born, “You know what, you’re kind of like a birthing cow. It doesn’t matter if you’re skinny and scrawny, if you produce a fat calf. I can’t believe you had that big ole baby and you produced enough milk to serve half of Eustis.”
However, my grandson’s birth involved 36-hours of horribly unsuccessful labor that eventually forced his mother to have a Cesarean section. The labor trauma caused him to be Jaundice, requiring them to stay in the hospital for five extra days. Plus, twice a day for 20-minutes, we had to dress him in a little silver space-suit-looking blanket with an eye patch and all, before we put him into a small tanning bed like machine that made him look like a glowing inch worm. Adorable of course, but nothing I had ever experienced.
So as the days and weeks went by every day became a new adventure. Between him and his grandfather, who now deliberately acted like a toddler, the expression my father always used, “Once an adult twice a child,” never seemed so true.
Now at five, I have less of a clue what is going on behind my man-baby’s piercing blue eyes than I did that very first day we met. I was the first relative to touch him. I was in the surgery room. I waited for the delivery nurse to hand him to me and as soon as they removed him. And I will never forget the very first time we made eye contact, he peed on me. From that moment on I knew he was sent here to rock my world. I could even hear the song, “It’s The End Of The World As You Know It,” playing in the back of my head.
Yes that was the first but unfortunately not the only time I was “sprayed,” by my grandson, and I thought it was bad in the past when someone left the toilet seat up! Wow, was I mistaken. Plus, for the first time, my “poor” Sicilian husband, who had dealt with a clan of Jewish-American Princesses for over 25 years, finally has the majority vote in our household, and he is going to take advantage of that tilt in the scale until he can no longer.
Noneless, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” and I remind them both of that daily. Too bad only my hubby really understands that statement, because when he reads between the lines, it translates to, “Don’t make me call my sistas to come for an extended visit, or even worse, invite our daughters to move back home.”
Lisa DeMarco, a waitress at Billy’s Cafe, is a columnist with Villages-News.com.