Yes, boys and girls are different

Ten years ago, I found myself escorting a 15-year-old into my home. I hadn’t really thought about it much when I agreed to become a foster mom. All I knew was this small boy – who’d previously been my student – found himself alone. The spur-of-the-moment decision set me on the path to foster mom school – yes, there is such a thing – where one learns the proper ways to nurture children who’ve suffered in their lives.

As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy. Teenagers in the foster care system are hard to place, because, well, they’re teenagers. Not the most pleasant time to be a parent. Still, we persevered.

Later, two more boys who’d spent time in the foster care system called me Mom.

While the boys are younger here, they’re not often in the same place at the same time.

Today, my three boys are all in their twenties working toward their goals. They are positive, contributing members to society, working at their chosen professions. Which is a really big deal. The reason? Twenty percent of kids who age out of foster care become homeless immediately. Another 20 percent are homeless within four years. Twenty-five percent end up in prison within two years. Only 2.5 percent graduate from a four-year college, so when my youngest boy – now a junior at Arizona State University – graduates, he will be one of the very few who’s earned a degree.

As you can imagine, I’m very proud of my boys and I’m excited to see what they become.

I must mention here what a good sport my long-time partner has been, since Ryan was thrust into parenthood as abruptly as I was. He’s wonderful with the boys, all of whom needed a dad, maybe more than they needed a mom.

That said, recently, we had a change in the family dynamic. A young lady has come to stay. Also a former student, Makayla is a sophomore at ASU. She’s bubbly and determined and a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

So now Ryan has a girl, which is just a wee bit different.

“How does my hair look?” Makayla positioned herself in the living room, a tight bun situated atop her head.

Makayla is teaching Ryan that girls are different than boys.

“It looks nice.” I smiled.

Then she turned to Ryan.

“It’s OK,” he said.

I cringed. Makayla frowned and walked out of the room.

“What’d I say?” Ryan looked bemused.

“Not the right thing.”

Ryan spread his hands.

“Honey, she’s a girl. Just say she looks nice.”

“Of course, she looks nice.”

“Then say so.”

Poor guy. I almost laugh when he listens to Makayla talk about boys and clothes and hairstyles. He just looks so damned lost. “It’ll be OK, honey. You’ll catch on.”

The next evening, Ry and I were in the kitchen preparing dinner. Makayla walked in with a big bow in her hair.

Ry looked up. “I like the bow,” he said. “You look nice.”

Makayla graced him with a radiant smile.

Who knew my sweetie pie was such a quick learner?

Wild Horses on the Salt Cover 2


Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Order your copy here:

2 thoughts on “Yes, boys and girls are different

  1. annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

    Yes she is, Sharon! Great kid. She was the editor of our school newspaper and ran the class like a pro. The kids pretty much told me they didn’t need me because they had her. They were right. And she was tougher on them than I was. 😉


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