When I learned that I would never have a daughter, it wasn’t easy. But I’ve been surprised to find through the years just how much I love being a boy mom.
“It’s positive….I can’t believe it!”
I took the pregnancy test one Monday morning before work and told my husband as we were getting ready. I called my Mom. Immediately. And within hours, the tutus at Target never looked more precious. My baby girl name list was 20 long (seriously!), and the boy list—well, I didn’t love too many boy names. I had the perfect nursery color scheme planned, filled with corals and turquoises, quaint little birdie mobiles and pom-poms.
Sonographer: “It’s a boy.”
My husband winks and smiles. I feel a tinge of disappointment. And then guilty for the disappointment. How many friends do I have right now that are struggling in every way just to get pregnant? Who are fostering-to-adopt and then heart-wrenchingly torn away from their little one as the courts decide it’s time to “give him back”? How many miscarriages?
And then my baby boy is born. What an incredibly beautiful day that was! The longing for a girl was long forgotten, and all 9 lbs. of our little man brought immeasurable joy to our lives. Besides, we both agree that three kids would be a nice number, so we’re going to try a couple more times anyway.
Sonographer #2: “It’s a boy.”
Another wink and smile from my husband. Another tinge of disappointment, and this time there is a slight sting in my eye from a small tear. How did this tear get out? This is so embarrassing. Even now, my husband will giggle when he tells our friends that I actually cried when I found out we were having a boy. I finally admit to him that I don’t really like him to tell people. Those feelings were so personal, and quite frankly, I’m embarrassed to have been so disappointed over that. Besides, it was just one, small teensy tear. I didn’t—you know—cry.
From the moment we brought our second-born home, it was like he and his brother had this instant bond. Even today, our oldest is fiercely protective and will hug and hold his little brother when he is hurt, scared, or sad. I wouldn’t trade either one of them nor their relationship with one another for anything in the world. Not even a little girl.
Besides, we’d like to try again. The odds are good….
The third time is a total surprise, meaning that it happens way before we planned it. But it also means that I get to dream and hope again. I’ve been keeping my old, super-girly bedroom furniture around just in case I have a daughter someday. So I chalk-paint it and love the way it turns out. You know—just in case. I rehearse how I’ll tell my mom if we find out that it’s a girl: “Mom, I have bad news. You’re bank account is about to take a serious hit….from all the dresses you’ll be buying!” It makes me giggle when I think about telling her.
As much as I hype myself up about this one, though, there is a part of me that thinks it’s probably a boy. I don’t know why. What does it even look like to be an all boy mom? What about all those wonderful times my mom and I shared together? I won’t get to share them with anyone? What about when my boys get married? I wonder if anyone will call me. Or actually want to come see me. For some reason, this is what scares me the most about being a boy mom. That, and how crazy and loud life is when you only have boys.
Sonographer #3: “It’s a boy.”
I don’t cry in the office.
I cry in my shower at home.
I talk to a friend of mine who is also having her third son, which is her last child. She says that she was so disappointed for a while, but now it’s really ok. She doesn’t feel so sad anymore. I kind of think that she is probably just saying that as a way to “will” herself into being ok with it. Because personally, I feel really, really sad, and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever not at least wish that I had a little girl in my life.
Since this will be my third C-section, and because I have an autoimmune disorder that puts my babies at an increased risk for a total heart stop, my husband and I decide that I should have my tubes tied after this one. So that means it’s final. There will be no “surprise” girl later.
My last little sweetie is born, and he is so beautiful. I love him so much, and enjoy the fact that I actually kind of know what I’m doing a little more this time around. He just slides into our family like he has always been here. And in a way, he has. I believe this was always God’s design and purpose for our family. It was always going to be this way, and I take comfort in that.
But as the weeks pass I can’t shake feeling sad about knowing that I will never have a daughter. Even after a year, I still quietly sigh when I see a bouncy-haired little girl skipping in the tutu from Target. I just file it away in my “don’t think about it” mental folder.
And then something happens.
I learn more than I ever thought I would about the construction vehicles at the construction site. I actually kind of think they’re cute because my son loves them. In fact, everything in boy-land starts to become sweet to me in a way I never felt before. Seeing a toddler boy in a baseball cap rivals a little girl in her Easter dress any day. I could name every Transformer, and to be honest, they are pretty cool. In fact, Barbie and her friends have actually started to seem like they might be pretty boring company.
As my children grow, I begin to know them better. Night feedings and diapers turn into blossoming personalities. I learn their strengths and weaknesses, and I am entirely invested in nurturing them and meeting their needs. It becomes less about my dreams and so much more about their precious little hearts. They become real people. God has entrusted me with three little souls to nurture and teach about Him, and when I reflect on that, I am so, so grateful.
And just when I think I’m grateful enough, my oldest will effortlessly pluck the fly that’s been pestering my kitchen all day right from the window, like he has a special power or something. He’ll smile and let him go out the back door. And my grateful meter goes up 10 times more, and I think, “It’s nice having boys.” My boys will giggle together for hours, sharing cars, Legos, and silly jokes that don’t make sense. It’s so wonderful to know that they will be a band of brothers. I’ve grown to love the simplicity of getting a boy dressed and his hair semi-combed. Easy peasy. I love the boy sense of humor, and growing up with 4 little brothers of my own, I have to say that brother humor is the funniest. My brothers still crack me up like no one else.
My mother once told me that there is something special about that mother-son relationship, and I didn’t quite know what she meant. But as my boys grow, I think I’m beginning to understand. Who said that a mother can’t have a deep and abiding relationship with her sons? That they don’t talk? Or dream or learn together? They may not be interested in getting a pedicure (even though I’m sure they would have a great time with the nail polish), but they sure do love their mamas.
I thought about my friend the other day who said she feels ok now with having only boys. And I realized that she wasn’t just saying it to make herself feel better. She actually meant it. And that I feel that way now too. The sadness is no longer there.
Would I still like to have a daughter? Sure, that would be pretty great. Do I long for a daughter the way I used to? No. I’m content. I realize that I have what I always longed for in the day to day job of nurturing my little ones-whether they be boy or girl. Sometimes I think I would be open to fostering-to-adopt a little girl, but then the reality of my life usually hits home. My plate is full!
Perhaps someday she will make a way into our world, but if she does, it will be a pleasant, unexpected bonus. For now, just let me have my boys.