It happened again yesterday. I was in a store with my two little boys, standing in line at the register, when a friendly cashier tried to make conversation with my sons. She was very sweet, actually, but, clearly noticing my very large belly, she had to say it, too.
"Boys, is Mommy going to have a baby girl? You two could use a little sister!"
The boys were distracted by something else, as toddlers sometimes are, so I was forced into answering for them.
"Nope, another boy," I told her with a smile on my face.
She looked visibly upset: "Oh, no. You have to have a daughter. Someone for those boys to protect. There's nothing better than a daughter!"
I glanced back at my two little boys, who were standing right behind me, holding hands with one another. The older one was leaning down and saying something sweetly to his little brother, probably reminding him to stay close to Mommy, since that's what I'd told my oldest his job was: to keep his brother close by.
I didn't really know how to respond to this seemingly well-meaning stranger, so I just smiled in response. She handed me our bags, I thanked her and told her to have a nice day, and we went on our way.
But as we exited the store, I wanted to say a million different things: "Because I have any control over the gender of my children? Are you saying I placed my order incorrectly somehow and this third boy was some kind of fluke? Should I try 16 more times until I get a girl, because I'm pretty sure that we are incapable of producing one of those, if experience has anything to do with it." And lastly, "I don't even want a girl."
And there's the truth of it. I don't even want a daughter.
There was a time when I did, though. I always pictured my family with two children: one boy and one girl. That's "picture perfect," right? That's how my own family had been when I was growing up, and it was pretty nice. Perfect, in my eyes, even.
But that didn't quite pan out, and after the ultrasound where we found out the gender of my second-born, I was surprised. I'd had dreams that the baby was a girl. I'd felt like the baby was a girl. The baby was, without a doubt, a BOY. I spent about 10 minutes of my life being disappointed, but then I realized how stupid that was because I had a healthy baby on the way, and it would be nice to have two boys, to give my son a brother.
After he was born, though, I always had this feeling like someone was missing. Was it a feeling that we were missing a girl? No, not necessarily, but I did still have the idea that we should have a girl in my head.
So we tried for baby #3, and when we lost the baby during the second trimester, we found out that it had been a boy. This is when things changed for me.
After the incredibly difficult period of time following my miscarriage, I realized something about having children. We can try, we can plan, and we can hope, but nothing is truly within your control. This is when I grasped how grateful I was for my two healthy, happy little boys at home, and I decided that yes, someone was missing from our family, but it wasn't necessarily a daughter who was missing: it was just another person.
And that person is my baby BOY who will be here in just a few short weeks.
In the past few years, I've grown to love being a mom of boys. I love how rough and tumble they are, how they can fall down and shake it off without even batting an eye. I love what their interests are, how we play with trains and trucks and action figures, or we go outside and collect sticks and rocks. I love that they love their mommy, their number one girl, and at the end of the day, I'm the one they want to cuddle. Having sons is perfect in my eyes.
So the next time a stranger wants to tell me that I need a daughter, I hope that stranger (whomever it may be, since it's happened quite a few times in the past couple months) will consider what the word "need" means. A "need" is something a person cannot live without. Food, water, shelter, oxygen: those are all examples of needs. Having a daughter would be a want.
But I don't want a daughter. I'm completely and totally happy with the hand I've been dealt, and my heart is overflowing with love for my three boys. I think we'll be just fine without any daughters; my three sons are enough for me.
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