A few days ago, Charlie hosted a birthday party for one of his Teddies. There was a favorite blue ball given as a gift, pizza and cake to eat, singing of songs, and many, many hugs and kisses. And oh, so much tenderness. In our culture, little boys are often characterized by their other traits - endurance, energy, strength, intelligence and courage. They are recognized for the 'war games' that they play, and the wrestling matches that they thrive on. Charlie loves all of that - he loves a good sword fight, and can hold his own against his older brother in any wrestling match. But there is also such a tender side of him (as I think that there is to most little boys, if we will only recognize and acknowledge it). His Teddies, of which he has close to a dozen, are treated with such kindness and consideration. They are bandaged and kissed when they are hurt, comforted when they are tired or scared, and sought out with so much concern, and very real tears, when they are lost.
I love this part of my boys - the sweetness, nurturing, caring and compassion. What a wonderful gift and challenge we mothers face - to protect and encourage these qualities, as well as strength, courage and intelligence in our boys, so they will grow into the kind of men who will really make a difference in this world.