Lessons from my sons · Man Stuff

Guest Sons

Facebook has added a “Thankful” button to its gallery of Likes.  It’s Mother’s Day, and the timing is perfect. I could click that thing all day long. My mom has overcome a series of serious illnesses and is doing well, and so are my sons.

But I am also thankful for Guest Sons. I have a number of them, boys who came into my life after school and on weekends. Who played video games and swam in the community pool and ate whatever I served (pizza or lasagna or shepherd’s pie). They belched and cracked jokes and laughed. Oh, how they laughed.

From Nathan's era, here are Guest Sons Nathan, Tyler, Luke, and Sean
Here is Nathan with “Guest Sons” Tyler, Luke, and Sean. Their beloved choir director made them form a quartet, and then he coached them. They sounded great!.

“Mom, you should make shepherd’s pie for Stephen.” I heard this several years ago, when Nathan’s pal Stephen was on leave from the Navy. “He loves your cooking,” Nathan added. Excuse me, my cooking? I am a utility cook, flinging out meals on a skinflint budget. Surely Stephen was mistaken!  But I got busy in the kitchen just the same.

Michael with Will
Michael with “Guest Son” Will
(Photo: Sue Blackwell)

It’s not that these Guest Sons were ungrateful–no hungry teen ever is. It’s just that I never realized how much they enjoyed hanging out at our place. Nothing special was offered. The boys’ shared bedroom was cramped at best–especially with all those scrounged TVs in there. Through the closed door I could hear hooting and hollering as they played Super Smash Brothers Melee for hours.

Hospitality, not entertainment, was all I had to offer. An open door. And in they came. Now I miss having them around.

Ben (center, flanked by brothers) and Guest Sons Sam, Tyler, Ryan, and Brent
Ben (center, flanked by brothers Nathan and Michael) and “Guest Sons” Sam, Tyler, Ryan, and Brent (Alexandra Grace Photography)

What I gave to them was Guy Time. Apparently that was what they needed most. This scene, from Susan Elizabeth Phillips‘ Match Me If You Can, captures the feel of those days at our apartment. Yeah, she gets it.

When did my house turn into a hangout for every grossly overpaid, terminally pampered professional football player in northern Illinois?”

“We like it here,” Jason said. “It reminds us of home.”

“Plus, no women around.” Leandro Collins, the Bears’ first-string tight end emerged from the office munching on a bag of chips. “There’s times when you need a rest from the ladies.”

Annabelle shot out her arm and smacked him in the side of the head. “Don’t forget who you’re talking to.”

Leandro had a short fuse, and he’d been known to take out a ref here and there when he didn’t like a call, but the tight end merely rubbed the side of his head and grimaced. “Just like my mama.”

“Mine, too,” Tremaine said with happy nod.

Annabelle spun on Heath. “Their mother! I’m thirty-one years old, and I remind them of their mothers.”

“You act like my mother,” Sean pointed out, unwisely as it transpired, because he got a swat in the head next.

Do you have Guest Sons and Guest Daughters? Know that you are loved by them as well. Happy Mother’s Day!

Laura Hile (1)

Wedding photo: Alexandra Grace Photography
This article was originally posted at Jane Started It!

14 thoughts on “Guest Sons

    1. They enrich our lives, these friends. And they still do.

      Such a stunner to sit at Ben’s wedding rehearsal and see all those great guys standing with him, friends since elementary through high school at Southwest Christian. They have grown up before my eyes, and now they’re marrying and beginning families of their own.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Some of the moms had rules for how many boys could visit, a carry-over from younger years, namely, one guest at a time. I allowed all six to come, which was crazy for my sanity.

      On the other hand, since they wanted to be together, if I didn’t welcome them, where would they go? It’s fun to hear their memories of our house. I had no idea the open door meant so much to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love how you expressed this. We’ve had guest sons and daughters, more so with our older kids than with our youngest. So many great memories attached to what these “other children” did and many extra happy memories which come out way again from time to time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So many memories. As is usually the case, I had no idea that these years would pass and never come again. But the Guest Sons still stop by, especially since my two oldest sons live here, or rather, sleep here. Graduate school and a full time job / building a side business take up all of their time. I seldom see Michael or Nathan. But their doors are closed when I get up in the morning, and I smile. I expect they’ll be here for maybe another year…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it! While my situation is different, I like to say I have 150 guest kids every year. Not that they come to my house…that usually only happens with a few of them and when they’re older and have become actual friends. My mom hosted a lot of guest daughters, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In spite of everything–the overwork, the long hours, the red-eye grading sessions–you are, first and foremost, an encouraging teacher, beloved of your students (those with eyes to recognize your worth). Your students crowd into your heart, and I love that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had many guest daughters over the years and have happy memories of all, with one exception. A new neighbor, about 10, started coming over after school daily. Things weren’t good at her house. Nobody ever came to see where she was, or with whom. You are right that it isn’t about fancy cooking and such. It’s about where they feel at home and welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had an older teen neighbor who used our apartment as a haven. Not that his parents were abusive or neglectful, but they were always at work and/or school–and I was home. (He’s a people person, and our place was so much more interesting.) He adopted my sons as brothers, and I became like a second mom. 🙂


  5. Laura, although this goes way deeper, it’s also a wonderful tribute to mothers who extend themselves to the friends of the children they raise. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every mother, in her own way, reaches out to the friends of her children. It’s one of the best things about being a woman, embracing those in my sphere if influence.


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