This is a question that bothers me some days.....How am I going to know when my sons have turned into men? Now, we joke around and refer to them as the Koskela MENN already because that is what all their initials spell. BUT, I don't know if it's an over night thing or a gradual building. I know I am really looking forward to that day when their Dad looks at them and says.."You are a good man.", but is that when it happens?
As my boys are growing up and each reaching the age of 13, we decided to not call them teenagers. To me there is a stereotype that goes with that. We decided to initiate them into Young Manhood at 13 and bless them with a party to celebrate the fact that they were officially a man-in-training. With this came bigger blessings and privileges, but also more responsibility. So far, the 2 older boys have risen to the occasion and are enjoying it.
An interesting thing occurred to me though the other day in my laundry room. (Sometimes I think laundry is a spiritual thing for me!) I was sorting through my oldest boys laundry bin and I realized he smelled like a man. Now not in an "Ewww, gross! Go have a shower!" kind of way, but in a "Wow! My son smells like a man!" kind of way. I stood there and held his shirt up to my nose and just sniffed. He smelled like my wonderful husband. I felt like I was being hugged. It was an incredibly comforting mix of laundry soap, deodorant, his body odour, firewood, and fresh air. As I sat there, my chest tightened with the knowledge that he didn't smell like Goat's Milk Soap, dirt, peanut butter, grass stains, and little boy sweat anymore. Another step closer to becoming a full grown man.
This for me was huge. Over the last few years, he has been able to keep up with his Dad splitting firewood, he changes the water jug with ease, packs 4 jugs of milk at a time, and is constantly looking at me with sincere loving eyes and saying.. "I got this, Mom." This, I love. I can look at him now and see the man he is becoming, the husband he has the potential to become, and even some traits that would make a really great Dad.
In the end, I guess we will just know when he has become a man. But for now, I am going to keep on enjoying my gentle giant who still, every once in a while, slips up and calls me Mommy.