A Few Good Men

Gelato Mama, Emily DeRenzis, reflects on the other man in her life: her son.


I knew I was having a boy.

After the shock of my surprise pregnancy wore off, I distinctly remember standing in the shower … the thought hitting me like a grenade: It’s a boy. And nine months later … well, I was right. A baby boy. My Son.

And here I sit, nine years later, to the halfway point. Can it be that in the same short amount of years I’ve been graced with Son, he will soon be off to adulthood? To college, to travel, to discover who he wants to be?

And, oh my God, will he ever learn how to close the damn dresser drawers? Or will he forever just fling them open, toss his clothes around and leave the room? On the flip side, 87% of the time, he puts both the seat and the lid down, so yeah. You’re welcome, World.

For those first few years of motherhood, your main focus is sanity, keeping the children safe, sanity, trying to do the right thing, sanity, keeping the children healthy, and, of course, sanity. (With a few hundred bottles of wine mixed in for good measure.)

But now, nine years later, I realize, oh shit, I have to not only make sure my baby boy goes to bed at a decent time but also guide him into becoming a good man. Because as fore-mentioned, I’m halfway done before I release him to the world, and he for real can’t eat cereal without milk dripping down his chin. I AM FAILING HIS FUTURE PARTNER.

As my son grows older, I realize more and more that although he has a Kick-Ass Mother (a-hem!), a young boy also needs a few good men in his life to really set the pace for becoming a successful human. And I only need to take a small glance around me to realize he has examples abound.

There are his uncles, who can teach him a good golf swing and a better fastball. He can look to his Poppy for unlimited lessons in Italian cuisine; he has grandpas who delight in showing him how to build a birdhouse or the best way to hook a catfish on the side of the dock, feet dangling in the lake.

There are the neighbors who need little temptation to toss a ball around with him or play some FIFA soccer. And, of course, he has his father—a man who will protect him at all costs and whom he can thank for his tenacity, intelligence and an unhealthy obsession with UCLA. (Go Bruins!)

But what these good men so generously show my son, besides a good fastball, is that to be kind is to be good. To be loyal is to be good. To be present is to be good. And most importantly, to take the time is to be good.

So today I raise my glass to all the good men in this world. Once in a while, we gotta give you a little credit. Cheers!

For more of Emily’s parental observations, visit her at gelatomama.blogspot.com.