For the second year in a row we sent our oldest son off to summer camp. It was the same camp I went to as a kid, so I know it is fantastic and he has a blast while he is there. The thing I love most about sending him there is we get to hear great stories from him year-round, until we are ready to pack his trunk up again for the next summer.

As a mother of three boys, I know there is a fine line that I have to walk, especially as they get older. I can’t slobber my kisses all over them, or hug them in public, or hold their hand for fear of utter humiliation on their part. God forbid mom gets to show any affection to her baby boy in front of “the guys.” But I get it, I really do; and sometimes my husband has to reign me in and tell me to stop smooching all over him, because he’ll never hear the end of it.

But I still know that no matter how old he gets, he still loves dear old mom. It’s the times that we build a fort together in the middle of the living room and crawl underneath to talk about his day or to talk about him leaving for camp and all the fun and exciting things he is going to get to do. It’s the times that we go out on our special one-on-one “dates” just to have a little “us” time; and he hates it when I call them dates, but at the end of our dinner and movie together, he tells me he had a great time.

But the ultimate sign that I know he truly does love dear old mom, no matter how big he gets, is when he is sitting on the bus that is about to whisk him away to camp and two fun-filled weeks of excitement; and he finds a seat by the window to sit and wave to me and give me our secret hand signal for “I love you” until the bus pulls out of the parking lot.

As we all sit in the parking lot in angst of loading the kids on to the bus, I watch all the mothers of girls run around fixing their hair, tightening their hair bows, climbing on to the bus to take pictures of them sitting in their seats with their camp friends; and I sit there and wonder just how far my son would have to crawl under the seat, if I climbed on his bus to take pictures of him and his buddies, to avoid the total and complete humiliation he just had to endure by his “dorky” mom.

But even though I am “not allowed” by virtue of the “Boy Code” to humiliate, show too much affection, or annoy my sons in any way…essentially I have to remain calm, cool, and collected around my boys and their friends for the remainder of my life, showing no emotion whatsoever—it’s OK, because I know in my heart of hearts, that I am and always will be the first true “girl love” in their life.

And I can only hope that one day my boys find the kind of happiness in their marriage or relationships that I have found in my marriage; and I know that those girls will be the luckiest girls in the world if my boys love them even half as much as they love me and I love them.

People always ask me if I was disappointed that I never had a girl, and my response always is… “God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave me my three boys.”

So you see, even though boys’ love for their moms is slightly a bit more subtle than a girls’ love and affection; it’s the little signs you have to look for which make you appreciate their affection even that much more.

Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a local columnist based in Corsicana. She may be reached by e-mail at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Following Samantha’s blog at http://samantha-daviss.blogspot.com