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Of boys and men
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"Mama, can I?..."


"But, Daddy said..."

This is how conversations begin that involve things that my child wants to do that are potentially dangerous.

I - being the protector and safe-keeper, as well as the dream dasher and thrill-killer - always say no.

While his daddy is usually the one all for him doing something that requires body padding and helmets.

I am not the only one who faces this.

Other friends I have, mothers of boys, have similar experiences.

I learned - quickly that Cole left with his father was the equivalent of leaving two children unsupervised.

"How did this happen?"

I have cried many a time.

"Daddy said I could do it...."

Even though I am not one to yearn for a girl's night out and would rather be home with my boys and the pups, it's not worth it for the things that happen in my absence.

Lamar is as guilty as the child.

"Who did this?!"

A solemn Cole will slowly lock eyes with me. "I am not a rat...but I can honestly say it wasn't me. You do the math."

There's been times they have ventured off just barely from out of my view and against my direction to do things that I didn't want them to do.

Like the time years ago I vehemently told Lamar not to let Cole go on a Ferris wheel at a fair.

"I am not comfortable with them. They are taken apart and put together too many times for me to feel they are safe. They are too high. He is too small..."

My list of reasons was not only valid, it was lengthy.

"You think I won't keep this baby safe?" was Lamar's response.

I felt bad about my superior attitude but had that nagging worry in the back of my head.
It was about a month later when the truth came out.

As I snuggled a then-4-year-old Cole to sleep, guilt got to him.

"Mama." he began. "'Member how you didn't want me to ride the Ferris wheel at that fair?"

"Well, I did. But Daddy went with me. I was scared, though. It was all creaky and stuff..."

I hopped up from the bed, in search of my husband to scold.

"He was OK!" Lamar said in his defense.

"That is not the point - I had explicitly asked you not to take him on the Ferris wheel. And you did!"

As a mother, I see all kinds of hidden dangers and things that can happen.

I see how a child can fall, get hurt, how something may not be as safe as one would think.
It's part mother's intuition and part common sense.

Whereas a boy - whether 12 or 52 - sees it is a great chance to see just how far they can push the envelope.

A friend once told me that no one watches a child like the mother.

"I was trying to get a shower at a decent hour so I could go to the grocery store without worrying if I had spit-up on my back...and I heard it," she said. She had two children under the age of 3.

The ‘it' in question was her child tumble rolling down the stairs.
"I immediately screamed at my husband to see if he was watching him. He said he was. Evidently, his version of ‘watching him' was watching as he tumbled down the stairs."

That pretty much summed up my husband's parenting.

"When I was Cole's age, I already had four concussions," Lamar said.

"Is that a challenge or an argument?"

The things my husband did as a child make me cringe. I am sure his guardian angel has put in a request for hazard pay a long time ago.

And the things he did are not things I want my child to experience.

No scars, no multiple concussions, no broken bones, no near bleed outs.

"You can't put me in a bubble!" Cole told me recently.

Wanna bet? I muttered under my breath.

"I'm a little boy! Why don't you let me have any fun?"

I'm a mother. I don't care if he has fun or not; my main concern is keeping him safe.
Even though I feel like at times, I am waging a war against his father to do so.

"Get your helmet!" I hear my husband call.

I sigh. I know if it involves his helmet, it involves wheels.

My child should be safe, I tell myself. He is careful and cautious. And he is with his father.
But still, I worry.

Maybe because my husband is the biggest kid I have.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."