You finally got your girl.
I am sure there are those parents out there that have more children for specific gender attainment, but I can assure you, I was not one of them. If they are circling our communities, there are only a rare few who offer transparency on this very guarded subject. Yes, I am speaking of the people who long for a son or a daughter so much that they consider or actually have additional children in hopes of achieving the closing their familial gender gap. I am not throwing stones as I have come clean with my want of lots of children but I never longed for a son or daughter to that degree. I never have been heard offering the words, “You finally got your girl.”
Perhaps all husbands want sons, mine certainly did, though I was indifferent. I was thrilled to be having a baby after a miscarriage and eager to begin the parenthood journey. We opted for the “surprise” route which did make for a lot of fun conversation and according to my dad, the proud new father walked into the waiting room and announced proudly, “It’s a boy!”. When our second baby was coming along a year and a half later, I hoped for a boy as I wanted to have a namesake for the brother I had lost. Adam Russell Harrold Wood was born with ax full head of black hair, a virtual beaver pelt, and we were thrilled.
Did I long for a girl? Two boys. Perfect. They were close in age and would always have each other, best friends in theory. They do get along quite well though their interests greatly vary but the younger agrees to play basketball so that the older will join in a Nerf war. They share common ground with video games and wrestling, hide and seek, tag in the house. The activities that irk me but I try to remain quiet with clenched teeth as I imagine the ceiling above crashing upon me. Their sister always following close behind, my third child, a daughter.
The daughter I had not longed for, in all honesty. My mother and I have always been thick as thieves but also close in a way that comes from the clinging after death and I liked having her all to myself. How quickly I adjusted to being a mother of boys and relished in the over abundant love I received particularly from her. Shoes, girl time, lunch out, all just for me. I remember her voice over the phone when I revealed the news a girl was coming our way and her incredulous disbelief and the weeping that followed stumped me. My mother wanted a girl? I was shocked at her reaction, tears of joy and thankfulness. I was a little annoyed too. Did she not love my adorable sons, now ages 1 and 2?
It wasn’t that I had taken an adamant stance against a daughter, but having three boys followed a trend I had admired and thought was perfect in a dear friend’s family. The grass had been so green, I couldn’t imagine anything any better. And then along came Blair, the daughter who like her mother and grandmothers, was not created to follow the rules. My own mother, sweet as they come, had been sent home from school for the face punch she unleashed in defense of one of her four brothers. I was the mother that really did have my own desk out in the hall and I was the target of frequent admonishments from teachers and relatives alike. You name it and they scolded me. In the days before behavior color charts, I would have been frozen on red, not a color fortunately that my children have ever known.
Yes, I finally got my girl and yet, I didn’t. I imagine a girl in the truest sense of the word, light and airy, polite and kind, almost an ephemeral being cloaked in dresses with perfectly kempt hair and tidy fingernails, ankle socks and English footwear. This is the daughter I don’t have. There are remnant pictures of her though, age two and still compliant with my wishes, hair bows and Papa D’ Anjo dresses, double buckle shoes. Not that I had dreamed of this feminine creature, but mothered her generically those first few years until I got to know MY girl, the daughter that seemed a strange creature and that had transformed my husband into putty.
One thing I have learned from having too many children is that they are filled to the brim with distinct personalities that are as God given as the shape of their snub noses or the length of their tiny toes. During that ultrasound my doctor, also a dear friend, had said, “I think you want to know what you are having this time.” And there she was, just a tiny person on a black screen. My daughter, my only girl and I love her as I love my sons and I try a bit harder to embrace her and raise a mother that I will be proud of too. I hope she is the type that will make her own way in the world and welcome her own children joyfully, boys or girls. No, I didn’t want for a daughter but I certainly did need her.