Some people say it's a choice. I used to think it was a lifestyle that people entered into consciously. But I'm almost positive my three-year-old, Coby was - in the immortal words of Lady Gaga - "born this way." And though I might not always understand it, I love him regardless, and I respect who he is.
You see, my son is ...
... a country boy.
A cowboy boot-and-hat-wearing, shotgun-and-racecar-loving, hunting-and-horses obsessed, tractor-truck-and-tool-tinkering, sweet-to-his-momma country boy.
This wouldn't surprise me so much if we lived, say, in the country. Or on a farm or something. But we live in an area with like 400,000 people. With, like, museums and theaters and malls and traffic jams. And aside from the times when we visit rural Missouri, where Curtis and I grew up, Coby has had very little "country boy" influence from the people around him.
My own origins, and Curtis's, are from an area where people ride horses to bars. With their kids. Where you go to Walmart (in the next town over because yours is too small for even a stoplight) and it's perfectly normal to see an Amish buggy parked in the lot. Where a traffic jam means there's a slow-moving piece of farm equipment up ahead, and every boy's first summer job is hauling hay. Where, at least in my school, a hunter safety education course was mandatory starting in the sixth or seventh grade, and opening day of deer season is treated like a national holiday. But despite being steeped in that sort of upbringing, Curtis grew up to be an eloquent guy who grasps the concept of "manscaping" (thank. Gawd.) and loves a good Merlot.
The type of men I grew up around are genuinely good people. They'd give you the (flannel) shirts off their (hairy) backs. They're just a bit ... rough around the edges.
I always thought that country boys were the way they are because of their upbringing and their surroundings. But then I had Coby. And one day when he was just a wee tiny lad, barely old enough to form sentences, he grabbed a watergun, stalked around the house, and announced that he was "shooting deers." I was absolutely floored, because at that point he'd had ZERO exposure to anything hunting-related. He'd never been around anyone who did it; Curtis hasn't hunted in years. And I'm a bleeding heart who would rather feed deer than shoot them, so he certainly didn't get it from me.
As he got older and his interests developed, his inclinations became more apparent. Fishing. Horses. Four-wheelers. Racecars. Tractors. Perpetual hat-wearing. Outdoor chores and a strong work ethic, even at this age. Cowboy boots. And a level of innate sweetness and politeness that I've only ever seen in a country boy.
Did you know that some people are actually born this way? Because I had no idea. It has been a revelation. I thought it was a product of upbringing, but this little urban dude has country running through his veins. It's just who he is. And I love watching it develop.
You can't spell "cowboy" without "Coby," y'all.