The odds were against us having a girl. Jonathan himself comes from a family of 4 boys, and his paternal grandfather was one of 9. When you flip a coin 9 times, and it comes out ‘heads’ every time, you start thinking it might be a trick coin. And maybe because the statistics were stacked against us ever having a daughter, we were both secretly cheering for the underdog.
The night after the reveal party, when our friends and family were gone, and Jonathan and I winded down from the excitement, I asked him, “Are you happy it’s a boy”, and with all the sincerity in the world he said, “Yes, I really am.” And when I followed up with the question, “Are you sad it’s not a girl?”, he gave me the same answer. “Yes, I really am.”
It was honest and ambivalent and captured my thoughts and feelings exactly. And I would’ve felt the same inner conflict no matter what color balloons were revealed. I have no clue how people go 9 months without finding out. I don’t think I could juggle the thought of both a boy and girl in my head for that long and then have to let go of one or the other. There has to be a significant amount of grief in letting go of the imagined son or daughter that wasn’t ever yours.
Fortunately, our baby will be born in a time where being a boy or a girl doesn’t solely determine the trajectory of your life. We live in a day in age where gender isn’t so cut and dry. Little boys can wear pink. Little girls can go fishing. Neither Jonathan or I are hyper-masculine/feminine, but more well-rounded in terms of gender roles.Maybe because of this, I’m not the best parent to teach a little girl what it is to be a woman. Afterall, I’ve struggled tremendously with domesticity and get little pleasure out of cleaning house, cooking dinner, or hosting formal parties. As a girl, I was more interested in wearing soccer shorts than dresses, playing in the woods than playing with Barbies, listening to Silverchair rather than N’Sync. Overall, I was much more snakes and snails and puppy dog tails than I ever was sugar and spice and everything nice.
My sister was the same way, and in her own way, my mom grieved over girls who didn’t wear makeup, dance ballet, or own curling irons. At the same time, my dad rejoiced in daughters who excelled academically and athletically.
So if I birthed a girl who was all about tea parties and tutus, I’d be at a loss. There’s a much greater chance that a boy will forgo those hobbies and delight in the fact that I can teach him to throw a perfect spiral and will gladly watch Harry Potter marathons with him.
So as I grieve the daughter that was not to be, I look forward to raising a *son*. To hopefully raise him to treat women with respect, to make responsible choices, to always lean first on prayer and his relationship with Jesus, to cheer on the Tigers in good times and bad, and to be a solid midfielder on the soccer field.
It will be a great adventure, one that I hope my relationship with my father, brother, husband, nephews, and my life as a tom-boy has helped to prepare me for. Unless he turns out to be one of those boys that has an aptitude for ballet. Then I’m back to being clueless.