Once a week I am a dorm parent to eighteen teenage boys; it is a totally fascinating experience. I watch them navigate space with their bodies and their interactions are so awkward – full of uncertainty, strength and confusion.
When I feed my daughters everything is homemade, organic and nutritious. The boys know this (I think) since when I am in their space I read books like Mindful Birthing, The Birth Partner or I sit and crochet. They usually stay clear of me; just the way my brothers stay clear of me when I drink nursing tea.
A few weeks ago the boys were studying for exams, so I prepared 40 of those Pillsbury instant croissants and biscuits that come out of pop out tubes. I also had carrots, almonds and juice.
Well, Pillsbury doughy goodness brought all the boys to my feet. They congregated around the table, eating with abandon and joy. Seeing this level of sheer bliss reminded me that as parents we try to control everything. I wanted to feel this freedom they were experiencing from biting into something without thinking anything. I wanted to be able to just mindfully enjoying the flavor, texture and moment of filling my stomach without thinking about nutrition or the corporation that brought me the product.
So a week later I took a big step, I bought one of those Pillsbury croissant tubes and let it sit in my refrigerator. Then a week after that, once the girls were asleep, I baked the 8 croissants, sat in my bed and ate 4 of them. It was divine! I left the other 4 for my husband who was returning late from hockey and he agreed; they were divine.
Being around these boys on a weekly basis often teaches me about letting go, about just being our awkward selves. For the most part each one of these boys are very different from each other, yet they cohabitate at such a young age and are still accepting of each other (sort of!). I often want to scoop them up and bring them home. Make them my pet sons. I know this is not a possibility but at least I get to learn from them every Sunday evening.
Becoming a Parent-Heidi Ahrens
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