Raising a man

She continued her quiet litany to the baby boy, who lay cooing in her arms. “Men don’t get hurt, they brush it off,” she whispered. “Men don’t rely on others, they’re self-sufficient.” She smiled down at him. “Men don’t talk about their feelings, they keep it all inside.” The baby gurgled, his tiny hands waving in the air.

“Men don’t show weakness, they’re always in control,” she added, her voice carrying an echo of pride. “Men don’t need anyone, they’re lone wolves.” The baby yawned, unaffected by the weight of her words.

As she continued reciting these dogmas, her older son stormed in, his face red with anger. He slammed his fist against the wall, startling the baby. Shocked, she obliviously blurted out, “Didn’t your mama raise you right?”