Sunday, February 7, 2010


I am surrounded by men. One husband, three sons, male dogs, and a boy guinea pig. At least we no longer have any roosters, just silly hens with no agenda beyond scratching the ground in search of food, hard to come by in our current winter conditions. I love my men, their whoops and hollers, their appetites, their sharp-edged toys, the way they laugh together with gusto only moments after vowing bloodthirsty revenge for some vaguely perceived insult. My boys are growing into men at a rapid rate; some mornings I don't quite recognize the boy I read bedtime stories to the night before. He's subtlety changed: a tiny bit taller, an expression of slight adult concern on an otherwise guileless face. Like looking at a blurred boy through an icy window, the man he will become hidden for the moment by fog and frozen water.

It's hard for me to believe, but from the moment my son was born he was on his way to becoming a man. Over the years he has learned to be kind, the power of dry wit, and how to feel comfortable in his long limbs. My husband has also schooled him in The Way of Hats. For one, they are always in season: some for protection against the sun, some for warmth in the cold, biting winter. While the elder male in our house prefers a beret, the younger chooses something more comical, albeit with a sense of style. As he begins the rapid downhill descent towards Teenagerdom (just this past week he turned twelve and a half) my son has begun to figure out just what being a man entails. And though I know he's still got a ways to go, I can often catch a glimpse of the man he's becoming. Tonight we were asked to choose a poem for his English class project. One of the ones we read was aptly entitled, "My Father's Hats."

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