Alva James-Johnson: The son I never had


I grew up with three sisters and always wondered what it would be like to have a brother.

My father, I’m sure, could have used the company. And it would’ve been nice to have someone to scare off bullies at school and around the neighborhood.

I have an older sister who did a good job protecting my younger sister and me. Nobody ever troubled us when she was around.

That was in the early years of elementary school. Later I toughened up. Living in Brooklyn, N.Y., it was a matter of survival.

Still, I imagine there’s nothing like having a big brother to really take care of business.

So, when I started my own family, I figured I could make up for my deprived childhood by having a son. God blessed me instead with two beautiful daughters, and I’ve never had any regrets.

I’m also not one of those mothers who keeps trying until she gets a specific gender.

Over the years, my daughters have begged for a brother. And I’ve always assured them that two kids are more than enough for me to handle.

Yet, I’ve never quite gotten over my curiosity concerning what it would be like having a boy in the home. Many of my friends say it’s a lot different than raising daughters.

They say boys are more rambunctious when they’re small and less communicative when they’re teenagers. They eat more, and tend to be less focused on academics, especially in middle school. That’s when their interest in girls and peer pressure really kick in.

Well, looks like I will finally get a little first-hand knowledge. On Thursday, my one and only nephew came from Brooklyn to spend a few days with the family. At almost 16-years-old, he was born smack in the middle of my two daughters, and they have grown up like siblings.

He’s also like the son I never had. So he’s perfect for my experiment.

I’m sure some things will change around the house. The girls and I will have to postpone the sappy Hallmark movies for a while, and switch to action flicks.

I also don’t imagine us baking cookies as a family project or shopping for hair products.

My nephew and my husband are already making plans to out-play each other on the basketball court. And we have extra milk in the fridge because, as his mother puts it, “He’s a growing boy.”

That’s something I would have overlooked if she didn’t remind me.

My sister does have a point. My nephew is really growing.

Just a couple years ago, he was a little boy with a high-pitched voice. Now, he’s tall and lean with a deep tone.

When did that happen?

He’s a cool kid who fits in quite well with our family. In fact, I told his mother she might not get him back. We could use a boy around the house.

My sister didn’t like that idea. He’s her one and only son and she plans to hang on to him for dear life.

Can’t say I blame her. Boys are hard to come by in this family.

Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.