Monday, June 8, 2009

Why I Love Man Caves (Having Nothing To Do With J.Crew :-))

Hello everybody! We've been away at the beach for our vacation/graduation celebratory trip for our son the UNC-CH graduate. It was a fantastic week and I am sporting a grand new crop of freckles. :-)

I was catching up on all my favorite blogs (yours!) this morning and saw, at Musings on the Mountain's fabulous blog, her request that folks comment on what their favorite thing is about summer. She's offering a really cute giveaway for the best summertime comment, so get on over there and chime in, folks.

This got me to thinkin', as my grandfather would have said. But I didn't have to think long to come up with my answer. I posted a short version over at MotM's blog, and here, I'll elaborate. This has zero to do with J.Crew -- fair warning -- but clothing in general WILL be mentioned. Wink wink!

My favorite thing about summer, hands down, is having what we call our "infant adult" sons (they're 19 and 22) home. Waking up in the morning knowing they're here, I feel like I hit the lottery every single day. Hearing those adorably rumbling baritone voices trading brotherly good-natured insults and laughing on the phone with their buddies -- wow, heaven to a mom's ears. What a grand thing these big, bear-like guy creatures are!

They're just LIKE bears, actually. Within minutes of arriving home from college they began creating cozy darkened habitats for themselves, and three weeks later the transformation of their rooms is complete. What used to be two sunny, tidy, sweet-smelling Empty Nest bedrooms are now full-fledged Man Caves. They leave the blinds closed all the time (this is way mysterious to sunlight-loving me, but it seems to be a college-age guy thing because their friends' moms report the exact same thing).

Their Man Caves smell, too, pretty much like you'd expect from the place where a bear lives. I confess I stand in their doorways and inhale. I think this has got to be a hormonal, primal, maternal thing, because logic and reason tell me that Man Cave smells can't all be pleasant, and yet they are wonderful aromas to me. A mystical combination of dirty socks, airlessness, Downy Fabric Softener and some strange but powerful and earthy manly essence -- that musky, faint but definite "a young adult, totally hormonal guy lives here" smell. Each one of our boys has his own unique manly essence, and I can tell them apart. I smell their "personal scent" on their pillowcases and their clothes and their necks when they hug me goodnight. YUMMY.

They spend hours in their rooms hibernating. They text their friends, talk on the phone, e-mail and IM, web-surf, listen to music, reorganize their iTunes libraries and plan their busy lives. Periodically they emerge, car keys jingling, spiffily dressed, and announce to their "P Units" (that's DH and me -- the "Parental Units") a social itinerary so complex that the Pentagon would be impressed with their logistical skills.

It's always kinda amazing to see them appear clean, dressed in nicely-executed outfits and with phone and car keys in hand, too, because I honestly don't know how they find a flippin' thing in their rooms. When I stand in the doorways of their rooms to inhale, I also stand there and gawk into the darkness inside in absolute amazement. It's dark as night, and random gear is scattered all over every single surface and the floor. (This is another mystery, by the way -- how college stuff multiplies like sprouting mushrooms. You send your man-boy to college with 2 towels. He comes home with 4, none of them being the ones you sent him. :-)) Granted, both of our boys do make their beds, they do tidy up their bathrooms, and they do handle their laundry responsibly -- all clues that they will indeed someday be conscientious about their own homes. But aside from their neat-ish beds, kinda-hung-up towels and ever-evolving laundry baskets, their rooms look remarkably like two very focused tornadoes just ripped through the house.

I don't let this bother my sense of order one bit. I just close their doors as I walk by -- after pausing in the doorways to take a quick sniff and to do a bit of astonished rubber-necking at the chaos. Secretly I love it all.

So whatever else this summer brings, I'm contented just having my big babies home for a while. Oh sure, we're buying extra groceries, I'm cooking extra food, we're paying a bigger water bill and we are definitely dealing with a lot of extra clutter. Those goodnight bear hugs from my smelly, almost-grown-up cubs make it all worth it.

Next post, I promise you all, will have something to do with my never-ending passion for J.Crew goodies. I see there's an Extra20 sale today................ :-)


  1. No worries about not posting J Crew related. I mean, I love me some J Crack, but I love hearing everything else, too.

    Your post is so sweet. My babies are 9 and almost-7 and I know that day will come when I yearn to have them opposed to now when I have mornings where I can't wait to ship them off to school for the day. :)

  2. I also have two older boys and your post is exactly how life is around here! What always surprises me is the leaving for the social life after 10 pm, who is awake then?

  3. I love your post on this. We are so hoping to have kids soon and I look forward to *all* the smells. Thanks so much for sharing!


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