My son got in his first physical fight outside the family. Nothing to boast about, but it reminded me of one of the key differences between boys and girls, and why mothers sometimes struggle to comprehend their sons.
Of course, he is constantly wrestling and fighting with his brothers. I hear that it is part of being a brother. But on Sunday, he and his best friend went to blows. There were tears. He had a quick-to-fade mark on his back. His friend a quick-to-fade red spot on his cheek.
It happened at a pizza place after seeing the Becoming Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The waiter was trying to deliver our pizza to the table.
Maybe they absorbed the artist’s insanity for the day. Maybe they were hungry. Maybe fourth grade boys start getting overpowering spurts of testosterone in their system.
But my friend and I (their moms) were appalled. Such ghastly, unprompted behavior from our sweet sons!
And we worried all the next day while the boys were at school that they would never speak again. That they were both suffering terrible, lonely days, because their best friend was ignoring them.
Mama drama. We assume the worst.
We should have remembered the reason they fought in the first place – they are boys. Boys may hit, but they move on.
“How was your day?” I asked at 3:15 the second he got in the car.
“Great,” my fourth grader responded with a smile.
“Was everything okay with [friend’s name]?”
“Yeah,” he rolled his eyes at me, as if to say “of course it was, crazy lady.”
And it was. They are still best friends. The very next day. As if nothing happened at the pizza place.
I will always remember the day when my best friend tried to strangle me with her sweater on the playground in fourth grade. I am sure I’ve brought it up over the years more than I needed to, because I am a girl. And it took more than a few days to get us back on track, because we are girls. That’s how it works with us…even though it prolongs our misery. Yet we too are still best friends.
I wonder if, 40 years from now, they will remember going to see Becoming Van Gogh and then throwing their first punch at the pizza place. Or if boys really do forget?