My grandsons live more than 800 miles away from me, so I see them only occasionally. One of the perks of being a long-distance grandma -- and there are a few -- is the obvious growth and maturing of my grandsons from one visit to the next.
I delight in both the profound leaps as well as the baby steps my grandsons take while I'm away. Yet they're not the only ones whose marked growth and maturity amazes me each time I visit. The growth I see in their mother--my daughter--equally warms my heart.
More than with my grandsons, though, the changes I see in my daughter each time I leave then return make me chuckle. Especially considering my daughter's origins and the foreign land she now claims -- and conquers -- in ways I never expected.
My middle child, mother to my two grandsons, was the girliest of girls, far more into feminine ways and wiles than my other two daughters. That girly girl stepped aside as my-daughter-as-mother figured out how to thrive in a rough-and-tumble world dominated by boys.
My girly daughter, previous lover of all things pink, ruffled, soft and sweet, had no girls, only boys. Two of them. Along with their all-boy dad, the household filled with wrestling, racing, truck and car and emergency vehicle driving, as well as the requisite sound effects for all of the above -- sounds only boys seem capable of -- firmly placing my frilly female daughter on the fast track to Boyville.
Not that she didn't put up a yield sign or two. With my first grandson, my daughter set out to create a soft, sweet, cuddly environment for her little boy, to ensure he grew up to be soft and sweet and cuddly, too. He is indeed all of that -- sometimes. Mostly, though, my grandson wants to do what boys do: Vroom, vroom cars and trucks. Tackle the dog. Throw balls inside the house and out. Engage in Super Hero battles, pick his nose, giggle when he 'toots', and push potty-talk boundaries as far as Mommy allows.
And he taught his little brother, three years his junior, all that boys do and be and sound like from the get-go.
Which meant my daughter, mother to two all-boy boys, had no choice but to fully embrace the masculine right along with the monster sounds, monster trucks and 'Rock You Like A Hurricane' rockstar mimicry. Funny thing is, she not only embraces it, she enjoys it -- with such aplomb I can't help but smile at her surrender.
"Welcome to the world of boys," my daughter often offers with rolled eyes during my visits, at moments when playtime activity has reached ear-piercing level or bath time devolves into giggles at an errant toot escaping under water.
That magical world of boys is one in which I never expected my daughter to fit. My heart swells to see that she not only fits there, but that she's happily and heartily made it her home.