Before I was married, I — foolishly — planned out my family. I would have two girls and one boy (because a “psychic” told me I would have three children). I chose what their names would be and how many years apart they would be spaced.
And then along came my husband, who did not like any of the names I picked, did not want to start a family as soon as I did, and who only seemed to have sperm carrying Y chromosomes.
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When it was all said and done, we had five sons and no daughters. Each time the doctor told me I was carrying a boy, all I could think of was dirt and bugs and sports and potty humor… everything I hated. My visions of neat, quiet little girls having tea parties were replaced by noise and chaos and roughhousing. I was never a guy’s girl. I never hung out with boys, never really understood them, and never dated much. Admittedly, they kind of scared me.
Being a mom of boys terrified me.
Our fifth son was a “whoops” baby, conceived after our eldest son’s death from cancer. I was so hoping he would be a girl. I had given away all of my blue baby items and very desperately wanted to replace them with pink ones. No such luck.
For years, I would walk into stores and stroll slowly through the girls’ clothing section, running my fingers along the pink, silky fabric of dresses and picking up soft tunics and leggings, hugging them to me and imagining the little mini-me that I was never destined to have.
OK, so I still do that.
I would see pictures on social media of my friends and their daughters at a “spa day,” all dressed up at the theater together or at their daughters’ dance recitals, and I’d get so jealous that I didn’t have someone to share that with. I’d think ahead to the future and wonder if I’d ever get to see my grandkids, or if my daughters-in-law would prefer their own mothers over me as I always choose my mom over my mother-in-law.
Don’t get me wrong; I adore my sons.
All blond-haired with blue-green eyes like their father, they have completely different personalities. They do love potty humor, but I have to admit that I laugh at it more often than I ever thought I would.
When they were little, I was amazed by the fact that they loved to play with the mini kitchen set I purchased for them just as much as they loved to play with the trucks their dad bought for them. They found dirt, rocks and mud wherever they went; but not one of them liked to touch or play with bugs (Thank goodness!).
While not sports-obsessed, they play just enough to keep themselves busy, and I’m finding myself getting into the competition and the excitement of their games. They love when I read to them, and one even wants me to help him write a book. They all deeply care for animals and enjoy movies, and there just might be a future thespian in the mix. I have someone to go to the theater with after all.
They are sensitive, they care what people think and they get sad, moody and quiet just as much as they are wild, crazy and loud. Surprisingly, they are teaching me as much as I am teaching them. They are teaching me that the male of the species is not as one-dimensional as I once believed, and that doesn’t scare me anymore. They can be macho and sweet — all at the same time. They don’t have to play sports to be successful at something. They can appreciate art, drama and music. They can be silly and want their nails painted bright orange, too; and that’s totally cool with me.
My husband once suggested that we adopt a little girl. I considered it for about one second before saying, “No, I don’t think so.”
I don’t want my boys to think they are not enough for me. I don’t want them to think they don’t complete the visions that I had of a family. Plus, I realized that I didn’t need a daughter to complete me as a mother. I stopped needing that long ago.
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My boys complete me in ways that daughters might not. They’ve taught me so much about myself and the opposite sex through raising them in ways I could never learn from any other relationship. I also realize that having daughters no more guarantees spa days and dance recitals than having sons guarantees sports stars and macho-ness.
You know what I’ve discovered that is pretty great? The solo spa days my boys love to get me as gifts so I can have quiet time away from them once in a while. Who knew I’d love that so much?