I’m sure there are some boys who love attending fancy parties and family gatherings, where there is visiting and catching up and lots of oh my goodness, I can’t believe how much you’ve grown! I’m sure there are some boys who will sit and visit politely and fetch drinks and carrot sticks for older guests and generally make themselves useful. Yep, I’m sure those boys are out there.

My boys, though, do this.

My husband says it’s normal. Let them be boys, he says. And really, what do I know? I grew up with sisters. A little hair-pulling and name-calling, maybe, but not a lot of physical, in the dirt, hold you down till you say uncle kind of stuff. So I try to let them be boys, and pray they don’t hurt each other too badly.

Mind you, they can be the sweetest, most thoughtful boys at times. They’ve done their share of carrot stick fetching and are, generally, polite and well-behaved. But after a while, after fiftieth anniversary gatherings and family photos and lots of sitting, they turn back into… boys. Wrestling and tumbling and on the verge of hurting each other, causing gasps and oh my goodness! exclamations from the other guests.

We’ve had a bunch of such gatherings lately. Events that have provided wonderful visiting opportunities for me. I’ve enjoyed so much the chance to spend time with relatives and friends who I just don’t get to see very often. My cousin Patty and her all-grown-up girls (who didn’t and probably never have wrestled each other to the ground at a family barbeque!). Other cousins and aunties and uncles who are so much a part of my growing up memories. It’s been wonderful.

And the boys have been great. A few grass stains, mainly. Except for the time we were supposed to sign a huge wedding picture my auntie had made up from my parents’ old wedding photo, and Carter came this close (picture my thumb and finger almost touching!) to signing his name across Grandma’s face. Ya, except for that and…