We’re in the pool on the 4th of July, and another mom is sitting near us. I’m holding Ben, and Seth and Evan are happily walking around us.
She leans in. “How many boys DO you HAVE?” I tell her. She laughs a sharp laugh. “You’re INSANE! I just have two boys, and that’s bad enough. But wait, your 5-year-old is going to start kindergarten this fall, right? You won’t know what to do with yourself….”
I smile apologetically and give my standard answer. “Actually, I’m beginning to homeschool this fall. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.”
I get a stone faced stare in response. “Well, I know I sure like dropping them off at school every day.”
How many times have I had this conversation now? It feels like at least a hundred… (Though easier than this conversation, I guess.)
I’ve been feeling some renewed gender angst lately for a few different reasons. It’s no secret that I had a major meltdown and a huge pity party when I found out that Ben was going to be our 3rd boy. It took me a solid year from that 18-week ultrasound to (mostly) get over it. I’m doing a lot better than I was.
I feel all the guilt that many think I should that I’m not perfectly and completely grateful to have 3 beautiful and healthy sons. But having a daughter was a deeply held and highly cherished dream for me, and it hasn’t died easy, despite my efforts to put a stake through its heart time and time again.
Pool Mommy isn’t helping matters.
But she did help me to realize a thing or two.
I LIKE my boys right now.
Yep, I like them, and I enjoy spending time with them. I don’t want to change my daily life, and I don’t want to really change anything fundamental about who they are. They’re awesome.
Sure, they can be rough and tumble occasionally, but its not all the time. For the most part, they are sweet, imaginative, grateful, fun, smart, and snuggly.
The culture around me seems to assume that I spend a lot of my time tearing my hair out and wishing that I didn’t have these dirty little hellions. I hate those stereotypes, and at least in my family, they. aren’t. accurate.
I tend to fear and obsess about the distant future. My grief about not having a daughter doesn’t usually have anything to do with me feeling like I’m missing out on something in the here and now. My fears are about what life will be like for me when they grow up and have their own families. The fears are mainly about a different kind of letting go that you must do with sons that isn’t required with adult daughters.
But you know what? I can fret about that for the next 18 years, or I can decide that I’m just going to enjoy what I have now. God didn’t give me a choice about whether or not I’d have a daughter. The only choice I have is about how I’m going to enjoy the wonderful sons I have right now.
And I do enjoy them. I’ve decided to tell perfect strangers that more often. “Oh, my 3 boys? They’re great! I love having these boys.” Because it’s true. I do.
Take that, Pool Mommy.