No more babies. At least, that’s what my husband and I have decided. It just makes sense. We aren’t young whipper snappers any longer, we both just celebrated our 35th birthdays this summer. We already have two wonderful boys that fill our lives plenty enough, thank you very much. B. and I are finally starting to dream about days without car seats, diapers, naps, and temper tantrums. Days filled with family trips and our two independent boys – and even maybe more time for just him and I. Plus babies cost money, a LOT of money. Another baby means a bigger house, a bigger car, three against two, and no booths at the restaurants. It’s still fairly realistic and affordable to travel with just two children. They can fit in the back of even compact cars (at least, for the next few years). There is no odd man out; they are each other’s best friend. And call me selfish but I’m feeling ready to do more than change diapers and push kids in strollers. Not to mention the fact that I’m too vain to get pregnant yet again (there would be no hope for the pooch then, let me tell you). Seriously, we’re good at a family of four. And how lucky we are.
But every once in awhile, I hear a small voice inside making a little racket. And as we come up to September - 6 years since I conceived my first born and 3 years since I conceived my second – I can’t help but think that THIS would be the time if we were to try for a third. Because you know what that little voice inside my head keeps whispering?
“You never had a daughter.”
I always wanted a daughter. Like so many women (women like me who are only 10 year old girls playing dress up in 35 year old clothing), I think back to the days when I planned for my daughter. I kept diaries and swore that my daughter would be able to understand that what she was feeling was what her mother went through too. I used to brush the hair of my dolls and imagine having a daughter’s hair to brush. I always loved ponytails, with the little bobble elastics, one on each side of her head, hair swinging to and fro.
I know. This sounds ridiculous. It really does. Because here’s the thing. What IS my longing for a daughter really about? Is it for giving T. and C. the little sister they always wanted? Hardly. Is it because we need more women in this world? Eh, women are cool, but that’s not why.
Having a daughter is ALL about me.
When I was first planning for a family, I wanted a little girl that I could dress up in white tights with the frills in the back over the diapers. I wanted a little girl with cute bows in her hair and fluffy dresses. I wanted a little girl so I could re-familiarize myself with the Barbie section of Toys R Us again. I wanted a little girl to go to chick flicks with. To shop with. To talk about boys and read diaries and get pedicures.
Isn’t this outrageous? But I’m on a roll, I can’t stop now.
I wanted a little girl to show my scrapbooks to because I KNOW she would care. I wanted a little girl to gab about first boyfriends and share Nancy Drew books with. I wanted a little girl so I could show her my wedding gown and maybe hope she’d even like it or maybe even (dare to dream) wear it someday. I wanted a little girl to pass on the cool hand-made Thai dresses of my mother’s, that I wore and she could wear. I wanted a little girl to explain that O.B. tampons work soooo much better than Tampax, and then be able to get her a hot cup of tea when she had cramps. I wanted a little girl who might discover the wonder and excitement of the same women’s college I went to. I wanted a little girl to call me first when she got engaged and then keep me by her side for support as she planned her wedding. I wanted a little girl that I could help with through a pregnancy and be there when she was pushing because she HAD to have me there, I would have been her best friend!
I wanted a little girl so I could see myself come back around again.
I wanted a little girl because I was selfish.
So there you have it.
And are those good enough reasons to play with the odds, try for another baby and hope for a girl? Um… you’ve got to be kidding me, a resounding: NO!
Because all of that falala and frippery I’ve listed above is NOT what parenting is about. Its what *I* wanted in a parent-child relationship. But even if I had had a girl, whose to say she would have given a rat’s ass about Barbies? And whose to say my sons won’t adore and appreciate my scrapbooks after all?
Parents so often push their dreams and hopes onto their children. Our children should do what we did. They should do it better. And then they shouldn’t do what we did at all, why haven’t they learned from our mistakes?
My sons have taught me to look for so much more in parenting. While I have a brother and I was well versed in such boy obsessions as Star Wars, fishing, and Lego’s growing up - having two sons has offered me a clean slate of sorts. I’m not a boy. I had no expectations for how mother-son relationship would go. I never pretended my dolls were boys and I honestly didn’t spend hours dressing my dolls in basic Ts and khaki shorts. Having a boy was nothing I expected and everything I should have ever hoped for.
And so, now as a parent of two boys, I have learned what parenting is really about. Not outfits, toys and lecturing to them about what I did as a child. But its rather about sleeping upright in bed with your feverish baby, its about catching your son as he leaps into the pool, its about hearing him love to read, its about the same turkey sandwich everyday and demands of “snuggews (snuggles) on the couwk(couch)”. And love, this endless reserve of it; no matter what their choices, I’ve got their back. Heck, one of them could decide he DOES want to wear those cute stockings with the ruffles after all. Knock yourself out, kid. Whatever you want to do.
But I would publicly like to warn my sons now. Someday, a long long time from now in a galaxy far far away, if they do chose to marry and do chose to have a family and if one of those grandchildren of mine is a girl… oh, heads up. The scrapbooks, the diaries, and those hand-made Thai dresses will be resurrected out of moth balls and thrust upon that sweet little girl. The poor thing. Just you wait and see.