Monday, April 18, 2011

Had to Share

I read this today, and I had to share it with you.  I can totally relate to all of the thoughts listed in this article.  Yes, I have four boys, but if you know me, you know that a daughter was in my dreams.  During each pregnancy, I was always ready to fire up my monogramming machine to put Mary Catherine on any and everything.  I am so richly blessed with my dear boys and will wait for wonderful daughters-in-law one day, instead. 


Wanting Daughters, Getting Sons

When I set out to find guest bloggers, my goal was to find parents whose life equations were made of different variables than mine, to reflect the range of ways to be a parent. Enter Allison Tate, who, lives in a house full of boys, and sometimes feels lost amid the testosterone.
Yes, Allison’s life is different — after a career in TV and film development, she is now a stay-at-home mom in central Florida, while I stayed in the work force. She has three children, I stopped at two. But the true difference is that she’s in the middle of it — raising three sons ages 6, 4 and 16 months. My tales of those stages are memories while hers are immediate. I have the benefit of hindsight; she has the edge of the moment.
Listening to her describe her feeling that she is not living the life she’d expected brought a particular pang of recognition. Like Allison, I always assumed I would have daughters. And I admire her honesty here in describing how she is still coming to terms with the fact that she will not.
When I conceived my first child, I wanted more than anything for him to be a girl. I whispered at night to my burgeoning belly, “Be a girl,” much to my husband’s horror and dismay. It’s not that I didn’t want a son. It’s just that I wanted to know for sure I would be able to have a daughter, and so having one first would get that worry out of the way.

I had been planning my whole life to be the mother of a daughter. I had mothered 22 Cabbage Patch Kids, named all my Madame Alexander dolls, and signed imaginary Christmas cards with the names of the children I would someday have.

My future daughter had a lot of Anne of Green Gables and Ramona Quimby to look forward to, as well as French braids and tutus and Mary Janes and apron dresses. She was going to watch “Felicity” marathons with me and ogle the new J. Crew catalog and have annual viewings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me under a blanket with hot chocolate and lots of whipped cream. She was going to be, I thought, my best friend. You know, until she reached her teenage years and all. But that would take a loooong time, and then she would come back to me and we could plan a wedding together and I could watch her fall in love and have babies of her own.

My worst nightmare, back then, was that I would end up being a Mom of Boys, one of those women with a “practical” haircut and flat shoes who spent her afternoons at the baseball field and washed a lot of sweaty athletic clothes. A Mom of Boys bought a lot of boring clothes for her children — polo shirts and khaki shorts and Nike trainers. She was looked on with pity by the Moms of Girls, who color-coordinated with their daughters and took them on trips to the American Girl store and “The Nutcracker” and who had princess birthdays and tea parties with their mommy friends.

As you have probably guessed, my first child defied me, as he continues to do to this day, and was, indeed, a boy. And I loved him with all my heart. But when I conceived my second child unexpectedly, I thought for sure it was fate. I wasn’t yet ready for another, so surely this one would be a girl. …

Nope, another boy. A sweetheart of a boy. A really, really good little guy. Then we had our third child, our last child, a child I thought for sure would be a little tomboy sister and … all of a sudden, here I am: Mom of Boys.

I now see it as a challenge to redefine this whole Mom of Boys thing. I’m not giving up my ribbon flip-flops and I am not giving up my Vera Bradley diaper bag. I still wear lip gloss and I do not in any way have a practical haircut. I can play Star Wars and Transformers, but I draw the line at Pokémon — I don’t do anime.

I trudge out to the soccer fields, and root for teams where the girls are the stars, if only because they are heads taller than the boys. I drool over their cute little pink Pumas and make sure my own boys have the cutest soccer water bottles and cute haircuts and cute backpacks. And I am making new literary lists full of Henry Huggins and “Superfudge” and the Hardy Boys and Magic Tree Houses. I’m still going to read them “Anne of Green Gables,” because they need to know about strong female characters (like their mother). They are still going to have to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me so they can see what a wonderful character George Bailey is. I want sons like George Bailey — sons who make good, close friendships and who can dream big dreams and who fall in love.

As I raise my children, I am forever conscious that I am raising little men. I want them to be men who take responsibility, who aren’t afraid of commitments and who thrill to the thought of a challenge or an adventure. I want them to be both spontaneous and thorough. I want them to be able to cry and show emotion. I want them to love and be loved.

They’re all the same wishes I would have had for daughters, when it comes down to it.

The clothes just aren’t quite as cute.

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