A REBEL MAMA TRIBUTE BY CHRISTIAN BORYS

If you’re a loyal Rebel Mama follower (p.s. We love you), today’s post may strike you as a bit odd. Why? Well, for the first time in RM history, we let some testosterone through the door. That’s right, folks, one brave male soul agreed to swim in our sea of girl power and bare a bit of his heart for one very special reason… because he loves his mama, DUH!

Meet my friend Christian.

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Christian and I have been buddies since high school (where he spent a lot of time in the principal’s office and after-school detention). He’s always been a bit of a diamond in the rough – obviously smart (you can’t be sharp witted and hilariously sarcastic if you’re not), but definitely the type of adolescent who you just KNOW gave his mother heart palpitations… And that’s why I knew I wanted to have him write something for our Mother’s Day series.

A lot of us struggle every day with strong-willed boys. Their energy is foreign to us, they communicate differently to us, they drive us completely mental, and we often question if we’re doing enough to make them feel loved, comforted, and supported. If you’re sitting there nodding your head right now, rest assured mama, that little tyrant sees you and hears you and adores you and appreciates you… and who knows, maybe one day, when he’s all grown up and travelling the world as a foreign correspondent for Vice, The Guardian, Maclean’s Magazine, and The UN, he’ll take the time to write you a thank you note in his own special way – maybe it will sound a little something like this:

A REBEL MAMA TRIBUTE

BY: CHRISTIAN BORYS

I was at my sister’s house today, watching her 4 year old daughter unravel in the midst of one of her late afternoon tantrums.  I heard her loudly proclaim, “I guess I don’t like any of you anymore!”. She huffed and turned over on the couch. It was her version of Custer’s last stand, except this wasn’t about life and death on the American plains. It was over 2 unfinished perogies.

“If you take 4 more bites of your dinner, I’ll let you eat popcorn later and watch ipaddy,” my sister said while folding clothes beside her now splashed out daughter. ”If not, then you’re going right to sleep.”

It was a soul crushing defeat for the 4 year old Emma. Her stubbornness had circumvented her logic. As my niece expressed her dismay by pushing her face further into the couch cushion, I stepped in. While my sister walked off to the laundry room, I ate the two remaining perogies. I relapsed to my phone before my sister walked back in the room.

“Coco!” she yelled.

Coco is my newest nickname, given to me by the thirty pound ball of anger next to me when she was just learning to speak. Somehow it’s short for Christian.

“Did you eat the rest of Emma’s dinner!?” My sister said furiously.

Emma perked up from the couch, looked at the plate, looked at me, then looked at her mom, and looked back to me before her face lit up with an enormous smile. I thought she knew what to say, but of course not.

“Coco did it Mommy!”

I rolled my eyes. “I was trying to help you Emma.” My sister laughed.

Emma folded back over into her dead man’s pose and sighed like it was the end of the world.

Their argument continued until my exasperated sister pleaded with her. “I took you to the playground, bought you a toy, and everything else you wanted to do today, why can’t you just pay attention and be nice to me today!”

Right then my mind travelled right back to one of the poignant memories of my childhood. I’d seen this exact scenario play out before, except that I was the annoying little fuhrer, and my sweet patient mother was the crippled spirit on the other end.

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My parents were both immigrants from Poland (hence the perogies) so my dad worked incredibly long hours and my mom stayed at home to watch over my sister and I. She got up early to get us ready for school every morning. While we watched Saved By The Bell, she would take the time to meticulously prepare fresh lunches for us instead of the pop tarts and lunchables my classmates brought in. Life tip, you can always spot the kids of immigrants in class by their inevitably freshly made lunch. I obviously wanted the same processed junk they were eating, but as with everything, my mom knew what was better for me.

Even now, so many years later, I distinctly remember that day. It was summertime and school was out. To satiate my hunger for unrelenting movement, my mom was driving me from our home in Mississauga to Toronto for an outdoor tennis camp. She wanted to introduce me to and have me care about some sport other than hockey. She’d already tried and given up on swimming. Even though there was no school, she’d still made my lunch, and it was firmly protected by the Batman lunchbox she’d kindly bought for me.

I do love tennis now, which is undoubtedly due to my mom’s influence, but I actually didn’t care for it at all back then. I didn’t want to learn any techniques, I just liked hitting the balls as hard as possible so I could watch them fly over the fence. They were easy home runs. For a split second, I could be Joe Carter, but with a tennis racquet.

My mom sat on a bench near the court that morning, inevitably bored out of her mind watching her near delinquent child ignore all instruction in favour of stupidity. By that point in my life, I’d already been to the ER numerous times, twice requiring stitches for deep lacerations to my scalp. My mom says she used to judge the onset of spring not by the sights and sounds of Robins, by the growth pattern of bruises on my body that resulted from me spending all day outside again.

When the hours of camp were over, my mom took me to my favourite hockey store, National Sports, and we just walked around. Once again, she must have been unconscionably bored, but she did it for me, because she knew how happy it made me to just be around hockey. Afterwards, she took me out for ice cream, and finally drove me home. When we got home, she asked me nicely to clean my room, and I threw a random illogical fit, much like the one my niece Emma was putting on. She didn’t show it then, but it broke her heart.

When my father came home, my weeping mother confided to him that she’d tried so hard to spoil me that day in hopes that I would just be good and reciprocate. For all that effort she put in that day, all she wanted was for me to clean my room, but the tiny devil child she faced off against wouldn’t oblige. My father, an overworked and tired young man wasn’t as forgiving. He never hit us, frankly he probably should have, but his yelling was enough for me to understand the pain I’d caused my mom that day by being so selfish.

I remember sheepishly cuddling up to my mother afterwards and through teary eyes, apologizing for being an asshole. She was always so forgiving, so nice, so warm. She couldn’t bare to see me cry so she would just wrap her arms around me, twirl my hair and sing to me until I calmed down or drifted away to sleep.

Although I went on to disappoint her countless more times in my life, and continue to do so to this day, she still lights up like a Christmas tree when I fly home. She still calls me to make sure I’m alive and safe, because that is a legitimate concern for her. She still emails me outdated memes from her hotmail account. She still feigns interest in the Maple Leafs, even though she hasn’t been in a hockey rink since I played my last game at 17. She was so proud when I got my first TV deal that she organized a viewing party with her friends for the show, only to find out that I’d been edited out of the whole thing. She was infinitely more disappointed than I was. She’s just the best person in the whole world to me, my favorite person, and loves me unconditionally.

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If you read this whole thing through, just know that once the tiny terrorist who’s been gnawing at your sanity grows up, he will always and forever appreciate the sacrifices you made to raise him and the love you gave him – trust me, nothing goes unnoticed. 

As I always do when people contribute to The Rebel Mama, I asked Christian what social links he’d like me to post for him, to which he responded, “Don’t worry about my stuff; can you just post a link to my mom’s flower shop?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DUDE? Break my little heart, why don’t you.  Of course, I obliged.

Christian’s mom runs a cute little flower shop in Mississauga called Euro Flowers. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, you should definitely pop in!  They’re mid to high end, so please don’t complain that the flowers are more expensive than the ones at Costco or any convenience store. She knows they are, and there are two good reasons, a) she uses top notch suppliers so freshness and quality is superior and b) service. So if you need some florals in your life, make sure to pay this original #rebelmama a visit!

Oh and keep up with Christian on Twitter.

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