The Boys

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a gaggle of women–four sisters, all their girl friends, and a mother who led the neighborhood coffee klatch (and more often the “Sip and Snip,” where the wine flowed as freely as the boisterous conversation)–but with my decision to leave Smith College for West Point, I soon discovered that I was as comfortable spending time with the boys as I was with my “own kind.”

“Do you think you would have done anything differently if you had had daughters?” a friend recently asked. Our husbands were competing in a 12-hour mountain bike race and we were discussing some of our life decisions and laughing about the countless weekends we’ve both spent in support of our men’s athletic pursuits.

“No, I don’t think so,” was my honest reply.

The truth is that while I have gone out of my way over the years to force myself out of my own comfort zone–which is a dangerous place, I believe–I have had the pleasure of expanding both my horizons and my family. Beyond my own two sons (each as different in their definitions of “comfort zone” as my sisters and I are), I have willingly become the Mum/friend/sister of many others . . . and I love it.

I live in the best of both worlds. My sisters and I still share a lifetime of memories and laughter, the girl friends I have stayed in contact with from before, during and after our Army days are as precious to me as ever, and all the boys in my life–my stalwart father (and his bowling buddies who love it when I visit and bowl with their league), my husband and those who look to him for inspiration, my sons and their friends, my brother’s-in-law, my military friends, my teacher friends–provide a balance and a unique camaraderie that is somehow simply refreshing.

If I were the mother of daughters, I would want them to treasure the lifelong relationships they would have with those select women who would remain loyal till death, and to feel as comfortable, confident and happy as I have been hanging with the boys.