Boys will be boys! That phrase is embedded in my brain and soul after raising four of these loveable, imaginative, spunky and sometimes mystifying creatures. My brother Jack doesn’t escape this description; he is a part of this fraternity big time!

Picture this: On a hot, muggy day way back when, Jack decided he was going to get out of school early, take the bus with some of his buddies and go swimming at Rye Playland.  He quickly penned a note from mom requesting early dismissal for a dentist appointment—he’d written these “fake” notes  before—and dropped it off in the school office. 

When Jack went to the office to pick up the permission slip, the secretary said with a straight face: “Oh, your dentist appointment has been cancelled.” He felt the color drain from his face; the office had called mom to confirm the “appointment” and now the gig was up! He was going to get it when he got home.

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On the way home, he wondered how mom would greet him and what she’d say. As he walked in the door, fearing the worst, she quietly and calmly asked: “If you wanted to go swimming, why didn’t you ask me first? Did you think I wouldn’t let you go?”
Jack felt so guilty over what he’d done; he knew then that had he asked her, she would have given him permission to “take a day off.”

One morning two weeks later while Jack was having breakfast, Mom asked if it was going to be a busy day at school. He responded that there were no tests or quizzes scheduled. She went to the table, hugged him and gave him $5.

“Why don’t you take the bus to Playland and have some fun.”  

He told me that this act on mom’s part drove home the true definition of the guilt he had felt.

As my boys got older, I would do the same and check with one of them as to their school schedule for that day. If there wasn’t anything urgent, I’d suggest “time off.”  Sometimes we watched TV or just sat and talked or played a board game. It was a given that we went out for lunch. They remember those special times and so do I; it was important to have that one-on-one time with each of them.  

One thing is for sure: Jack, Roe and I agree wholeheartedly that our mother was ahead of her time. She had such wisdom and was a wonderful listener. Our friends—and later her grandchildren—loved coming over for a snack and a quiet or sometime animated conversation with mom. She was always interested in what they had to say.  

Lucky for us and them!