Bringing Up Boys


My Old Soul..

Our older son turns 20 today.  Our first born, of the golden hair and disposition to match, is no longer a teenager.  He is now an amazing young man; wise beyond his years, kind, inquisitive, fun to be with, and though the flaxen hair is gone, the sweet temperament remains. The boy was born an old soul. So call the Cliche Police but the twenty years has flown by and me, the girliest of girls (well, besides the swearing and frog catching- me, not the boys) never did get to experience braiding hair, playing with dolls, choosing dresses and sparkly shoes, or arguing over diaries with daughters.  Instead, my years were filled with;

Couldn’t resist this music for this post


Chaperoning first dates…

…Some more innocent than others…

Praising first swimming lessons…

Decorating Pirate ship rooms…

and outsmarting Leprachauns

Using telepathy to help guide balls over nets…

Dressing Power Rangers, Pokemen...

…and Ninjas!

Hooking up hoses…

silently mouthing lines in plays…

Making hot chocolate…

Capturing Moments

and still more moments…

Even the dog was a boy. Hell, so were our rabbits…and the infamous, beloved hamster Gomez, who disappeared from his cage one day. My distraught son and I slept on the kitchen floor in sleeping bags, ringing ourselves with peanut butter and apple slices in a failed attempt at recapturing the AWOL rodent.  He was apprehended a couple of months later, sauntering down the upstairs hall in the middle of the night as if he owned it, standing upright I might add, like he was simply out for his evening constitutional. God only knows what he had been eating all that time but he certainly wasn’t any worse for wear.

…and still, always mom with the camera!

…and the scrapbooks


Holding my breath…

Catching my breath…

Seeing them soar….


…and tucking them back in

Making sure a helmet was worn at ALL times (especially when the seat was up 🙂 )

…and always most of the time trying to remain calm 🙂

and finally wondering now, as my birthday boy shaves his beard and my baby boy starts creeping up over 6′ 2″ how could I have ever even imagined MOI having girls??!


Wishing all parents with little ones…  Days as long and sweet as the summer days when we were very young-

Everlasting and brimming with promise and pleasure.


And Happy Happy Birthday to my Golden Boy 🙂

Painting by Archibald Barnes.


  1. You made my day with this! Today is my birthday and I raised three boys – now 41, 38 & 34! It was a look back on yesterday for sure. I now have two grandsons – age 6 & 4 and I am reliving their father’s youth all over again; however, I was blessed this time around with a granddaughter who just turn four years old and has a gorgeous head of dark brown curls and huge blue eyes who I intend to spoil beyond belief with everything pink and sparkly. So far she loves it, but I must say in all honesty the boys were special indeed and still treat me as their queen! Thanks for the memories today.

  2. This post is just priceless and the music perfect with the photos.
    I’ve never had the joy of watching little ones of my own grow up but have certainly treasured watching others.
    Thank you for sharing and now I’ll share this with many friends!

  3. Boys are the best! My two little guys are now 29 and 31. I wish I could snap my fingers and relive a day here and there as the boys were growing up. Oh, I just did through your pictures! Thank you, Slim and Happy Birthday to your beautiful young man.

  4. I write with tears in my eyes…two out of three children are the greatest of boys with four boys of their own. Thank you for sharing as I will this with mine. Lynn

  5. My most cherished thoughts and memories are with my 2 nephews.You have raised 2 fantastic young men and must be very proud of them both.
    I cant believe he is now 20…Where do the years go?
    Happy Birthday!…..Love ya lots…Uncle David

  6. The first to reply…your sister would be proud. The boys are absolutely adorable! Cannot believe they are so grown-up. Nothing makes you feel older than realising your children are old. Pirate room is priceless! They’re very lucky to have you as their Mom! Love the photo of the rolled up dungarees and little chubby toes.

  7. As I raise my sweet golden girl and try to get her ready for the world, it warms my heart to know that out there somewhere there is someone raising golden boys. Thank you.

  8. Thank you so much! What an amazing bday legacy to your son(s). Made me mist up…Having a girl its so completely different. Had of course all the perfect photos especially that beautiful scrapbook. Save your younger one for my beautiful daughter, LOL i am sure you taught him to respect women….

  9. Thank you for making me remember the joys (and terrors) of raising boys (and one girl). Oh, how they made me grow and learn things I never would have imagined about the male race. The joy of raising an daughter is not to be minimized in the least. Now (how did this happen?) my older son has 2 daughters and almost a 3rd (in less than 4 years–crazy!!) and my daughter has 3 boys. And I sit back and look at them raising their broods and take pride that I was not great–but good enough to make them super parents. Best of all, I work non-stop so that I really can’t be the baby-sitter; just the enjoyer.
    Have a blessed time with your boys–amazing creatures.

  10. You brought tears to my eyes! I, too, am the mother of a boy with big blue eyes and once fair hair. He’s turning 17 this week. “My pride and joy – my golden boy,” I’ve always said to him, though his hair is darker and the boy is nearly a man now. Where do the years go? No, we mothers of boys don’t know about bows and sparkles, but there is something very special in the way a boy loves his mama, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Happy birthday to your golden boy.

  11. Oh Slim you touched me so. This post could have been mine. My own two sons are 38 and 32 and I laughed with them and cried with them over girls and sports and friends and school. I enjoyed their triumphs and felt sorrow for their missed expectations. But most of all I loved and love them and they me. Thank You.

  12. What a lovely lovely blog. Beautiful pictures, beautiful thoughts, beautiful memories. These two sons obviously have a mother who was pretty cool too! Not sure I could have kept up with two boys athletically as you have. As I read the deservedly glowing comments I have to admit to thinking, you fortunate women who had boys!

  13. Adorable , every photo, every thought. We all need to sit back and take a moment to reflect the utter joy our kids bring us. It goes in a blink.
    Happy, Happy birthday Golden
    Until next time slim, my screen is blurry also.ox

  14. Aw! This is the sweetest posting yet. Oh, how cool this boy must be–he has the coolest Mom.

  15. Sweet birthday wishes to your son. I grew up with three brothers and one uncle that was sort of my contemporary (though one of my brothers passed away). This post gave me such joy and many laughs. Thank you. All the best.

  16. I cried over this post. I can relate because I have two boys (now ages 10 and 7). I grew up in a family of girls, had mostly female cousins, and prissy female pets (poodles, shi-tzus, etc..) Before I had children, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have boys…now I can’t imagine having girls…and yes, we too have male cats, had two male many similarities! Beautifully written…Happy Birthday to your first born.

  17. Thanks Slim for this post. My own oldest just graduated from 8th grade and all 6′ 1″ of him will head off to boarding school in the fall. His little brother will enter 7th grade. How is this possible ? I share in your joys and honor the precious place we moms store of all the memories…

  18. I cannot think of a lovelier present—well, except maybe a Corvette—than a Mother can give her 20 year old son than this post. What a great tribute.

  19. This post brought back so many memories for ME! Pokeman, Power Rangers, the pirate ship playroom, all those cute haircuts on the boys – and oh poor Gomez, that was an adventure! I remember your youngest being in preschool!!!! And I really feel old knowing today is your eldest’s birthday and he is 20! Makes me hug my two little ones even a little harder knowing how fast it goes. Beautiful post!

  20. Such great pictures and memories. When I look at my girls I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I feel like I just had them and they’re all grown up. Now I look forward to starting it all over again with grandchildren one day.

  21. This was such a lovely tribute. Slim, “There’s nothing like a Guy” I too have lived in an all male world. Most pets were male, little league, tennis lessons, swimming meets, baseball etc. provided a happy, active life for our two sons. They are now 52 and 50. They each have two daugthters so I am the grandmother of four teenage grandaughters. Can you just imagine dealing with that! 🙂 I hope there will be a girl in your future. It’s another world! Congratulations and Happy Birthday young man.

  22. What a lovely walk into the past for any of us with sons. I loved the pictures; they reminded me of how many lovely ones I have and the transitions of age that seemed to flow so smoothly. But how did they get from baby to adult so fast? Another wonderful blog. . . keep up the good work.

  23. I know the normal modus operandi is to comment under a pseudonym, but in this case I would rather proudly identify myself. Who wouldn’t want to identify with two wonderful young men, and state his pride in their character and growth into manhood? Not to mention their Mother’s contribution – and our pride in Slim, her blog and everything else! Her Mom and I are truly blessed as parents and grandparents.

  24. Happy Birthday to your oldest. I wish that someday, when he meets ‘the right one’, she will cherish his children as his mother did him. This is a tearjerker.

  25. Beautiful and very touching. It is Tiffany’s birthday too – 28! Your dad’s post almost made me cry. You have such great pictures to go back and look at over the years. Happy Birthday to your grown up little boy.

  26. I am now almost bawling!!! What a lovely, creative and touching tribute to your boys!

    I had only girls; and you have inspired me to write to them….(I have; but not enough!)

    when children bring us so much joy… is imperative to tell them!

    Beautiful, beautiful. Happy birthday to him!

    When my baby turned 20! Yikes! She just turned 40!

    You will be a terrific “Granny” (or whatever you select…..or they do… your name……)
    Your grandchildren will adore you. My granddaughter explained to me last night……(“kids really like the grown-ups who like kids!”)

    In one sentence……there it is!!!

    Thanks for the lovely, lovely post!!!!!!

    ps is there something about this? we had all girl dogs and cats……now we have one boy dog. He lifts his leg……and every other boy dog does the same thing who visits! Ask your boys (including husband) what is that all about???


  27. hi slim,

    what a lovely post. i too am a mom of boys, 3. all grown up now. 22, 25 & 30. and we finally have a little grandaughter to dress up and take tea with. it’s the best reward after all those boys and all their friends and yes, all our pets were male too. but i loved every minute of being the only girl and wouldn’t trade it for anything. thanks for taking me down memory lane.


  28. Okay, now that I have wiped the tears off the keyboard, I want to wish your “baby” a happy birthday! What a wonderful tribute and the music was perfect. (So tell me, are there as few pictures of yourself in your albums as in mine? Somehow, I’m always the one with the camera and rarely appear in any of our pictures…)

    My own baby boy will turn 16 in a couple of weeks and his brother just turned 14. I know how you feel, no hair to wash/braid/style, and no angst over what to wear or who said what to whom. And then, last night, my husband said “it’s sort of nice living in a girl-free house”! Yes, I let him stay, though I did have to think about it. Maybe I need to up the princess factor?

    Thanks for a great post!

    • That is too funny Susan! your husband IS lucky you let him stay and yes, it sounds like you definitely have to up the Princess Factor! (I can give you some pointers if you start running out of ideas)

      And with regard to photographs of ME? Pretty much treated as a shrine, they are so rare 🙂

  29. I just returned from NY helping my
    Golden Boy move into his apartment in Soho.
    I had tears in my eyes. While in NY he treated me
    so kind. It’s so rewarding to see your kids grow to adults.
    Now when we visit we eat dinner LATE, share wine laugh all together, enjoy
    each other. oxoxoxox

    • Love that!! and NY- not such a bad place to go visit your son- So many fun things and great restaurants to discover together!

  30. Beautiful post Slim. Happy Birthday to your son. Great pictures, and how happy you and your prince must feel seeing them now, as such amazing young men. Keep sharing the memories.

    B J

  31. You made me cry. My oldest daughter turns 20 in September so watching your beautiful boys grow up in pictures takes me back to the various moments of her life. It has inspired me to create a similar homage to her. Have a wonderful day and many happy birthday wishes to your son.

  32. This too….prompts me to write to my boys about the joy they did and have brought to us. We struggle with the teenagers….in finding something nice to say, it’s like…..they miss so much stuff….that they are supposed to have done. So we often feel so bad that we have to hold them accountable. Well we don’t feel bad enough Notto do it….but then we are feeling more at odds with the boy…sometimes boys. (17,15, 11, 8) I need to start a little blog for them and for me…too many moments we are missing of celebrating the past, present and future really! Thanks for sharing your love with us!

    • Oh Lord- I am not even remotely WORTHY of such a compliment
      Hmmm….Atticus Paley…Slim Finch….sort of has a ring to it!

  33. Oh this is so beautiful. I raised two boys as well.
    You’ve captured it so perfectly, and you know what?
    Some day you might just get a granddaughter like I did.

    What gorgeous, handsome, smart, clever boys you raised!

    Thank you!

  34. Beautiful post, Slim. It seems more than a few of us can relate to the photos, or lack there of. Which leads me to share that many years ago, I found myself noticing that I was always the photo taker and there were so few photos of me with my boys, now age 30 and 25 yr. I vowed right then and there, that whenever I was out….anywhere…and saw a Mom taking photos of her family, that I would politely ask if I could take a picture or two of them together, including Mom. I hope it has enlarged the shrines across America.

  35. We met when Birthday boy was 5, baby boy was 1… that much time has gone by? Really?! Seeing and hearing the playback of their lives ~ your life, reminds me of all the joy that I have in my life… including your family!
    Thank you!

  36. I have just had a good old cry !!! Happy Birthday to your Baby !!!
    How lovely life is !!!!!!!!!

  37. Wow!
    There is no feeling better than crying after a good laugh..or is it the other way around?
    I’m still tearing.

  38. P.S.
    Thank you Slim for sharing your life, your joy, your experiences, your thoughts, and your fabulous wit!
    We all LOVE it!!!

  39. oh my gosh Slim, I had to go for the tissues and never came back to comment because this was the weekend ALL my boys (4) came to visit me after their European road trip. All safely home… Your pictures and sentiments are wonderful, your boys are beautiful and I share your wonder at how could they be all grown up already when I look at my guys. Still trying to get used to this empty nest…BUT, 3 of them brought girlfriends, so I may have a girl in my future. (and, they all passed the daughter-in-law test)

    • That’s great that all your boys are home safe and sound from their European Road Trip Marcia!
      I never did run into that testosterone fueled van of theirs but somehow I am guessing garden tours were not high on their itinerary 🙂

  40. Thank you for sharing the love.

    I haven’t heard “When You Wish Upon A Star” in a few decades. Did you know that Cliff Edwards (aka Ukulele Ike) was the voice of Jiminy Cricket? Check out his version of “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. It is sweet.

  41. Oh Slim,
    Just got back from college orientation for the last of our three sons and I was holding it together pretty well until I read your poignant post. I too was a “girly girl”, who spent every summer at a girls’ sleepaway camp and then two years at a girls’ school, and who had no daily interaction with boys. What a happy surprise the last 25 years have been! You captured the joy perfectly and completely….now would someone hand me a handkerchief?

  42. Well, if I could have included tissues for everyone I would have! Funny how wonderful memories can evoke floods of tears, isn’t it??!
    I did warn you about the music…I puddle the moment I hear it as it reminds me of all the hours spent watching Disney videos with my boys (sob sob)
    Thank you all SO much for your wonderful comments and for sharing all your stories as well.
    I promise my next post will steer clear of the need for kleenex 🙂

  43. My son is turning 2 in September. I am already sad thinking of him grown, independent, doing his own thing. Boys are the best, I am so glad to be blessed with one myself! Hope it was a special day for your oldest. Sincerely, Melanie

  44. Gulp!

    For some reason, I just happened upon this post today, as I try to tune out my 4- & 6-year-old boys who are vehemently arguing over whose toy gun goes with which knight (I don’t know why the knights have guns), and my cranky 1-year-old daughter who stubbornly refuses to take a nap. Thank you for the reminder that I need to cherish even these moments before they disappear!

    Must go rescue said guns from under the couch now…

    P.S. How old is too old for boys to cuddle with Mommy, because I dread that day!

  45. You make me cry with lovely memories of my own children and the time spent
    with them. oxoxoxoxoxRoxie

  46. My Boys are (almost) 12, 9 and 3… I love to see all of your pictures and relate them to my boys and the hope that I can continue to snap photos of them for many many years to come! Such a special post, especially for a first time reader….

  47. This brought tears to my eyes too. I have one son and one daughter, the best of both worlds!!!!! My son is MY golden boy! Always has been, always will be. He is 43 now….YIKES!!!!!!!!!! WHERE did the time go????? My daughter has my heart as well, she lives close by so I get to see her alot which fills my soul! This was a BEAUTIFUL tribute to your son. XO, Pinky

  48. Pingback: Happy Easter! « Slim Paley

  49. “Your killing me Larry” with the most heartfelt, beautiful post ever……Happy birthday sweet mom and dear friend….I would write more but the tears have prevented that…..xoxoxoxo

  50. Thanks Slim, Tears flow freely much of the time now as I am going thru a divorce after over 44 yrs of marriage. But the wonderful memories of those golden days with my boys, both towheads with blue eyes, now in their 40s and my daughter now in her 30s bring joy to my heart. Seven grandchildren later (three of them boys) I truly realize how blessed I am. Memories of picking up dirty sweaty clothes from the floor after the boys had fallen asleep at night and wondering what posessed them to save the various items found in their pockets???? I love that I was lucky and content enough to stay at home and have that wonderful time with them. Easter spent in Denver with beautiful loving granddaughters and now back to Ketchum tomorrow where I have begun my new life. Spring is the season of new life!!!

    • Spring in Ketchum…sounds like a beautiful place to begin a new chapter in your life Linda. I love Idaho and know it well. I’m sure your grandchildren will enjoy visiting you there too!
      I wish you the very BEST.

  51. Ah Slim, I feel so moved by your gift. This Easter weekend I spent many delightful moments with my two younger sons (30 and 26) and thought longingly of my oldest son (32) who is on the far side of this country (Canada) from us. Many mothers of boys -more so than mothers of daughters, tell me stories that bring back my own recollections- a life full of snails and puppy dog tails, fishing hooks and Hallowe’en costumes. Your pictures and soundtrack did it all over again. Thank you.

  52. This coming year our twins shall turn the page to celebrate “20” years and I think I need to start preparing a post such as lovely as yours. What a tribute to your son and the art of raising a fine young man.

Would love to hear from you!