Thursday, February 26, 2009
We were on a family vacation when I first suspected I was pregnant.
I was a mother to three boys. I had accepted the fact that I was to be one of those daughter-less mothers who had to live vicariously through other's little girls and future daughter-in-laws. And I was okay with it.
Once my suspicions that I was pregnant were confirmed, I wasn't surprised to find myself assuming it was a boy with a secret hope that maybe, just maybe, this time it would be a girl.
What did surprise me, however, was when I had an ultrasound at 15 weeks and, when told that we were expecting a girl, I felt a sense of disappointment.
For almost 17 years I had been a mother to boys and had longed for a daughter. Yet, now that in just five and a half short months my prayers would be answered, I was dealing with a sense of disappointment; a sense of dread.
What was wrong with me??!!
For a couple of weeks, I just couldn't explain this emotion. Of course, expecting that I would be on the receiving end of odd looks and rolling eyes if I disclosed my feelings, I told no one. But as the weeks wore on, I came to realize just exactly what it was that I was feeling: a fear of the unknown.
After all, I had caring for boys down to a science. Clothing, diapering, potty training, the rough and tumble natures....I wasn't equipped to raise a little girl. While I had never been much of a girly girl myself, I had lost even more of my femininity living in testosterone dominated house.
As the months continued, I knew that I was having a girl but just never came to fully accept it. As a matter of fact, I half expected the day she was born that we would suddenly discover she had grown a penis.
I was wrong.
In January 2009, after a short four and a half hours of labor, my beautiful daughter entered this world with a loud but lady-like cry; complete with her precious little lips puckered into a pout and eyes that sucker the coldest of hearts to love her.
Just 24 hours later I was able to bring my baby girl home. A home that still brimmed with camouflage, toy trucks, hunting gear and a complete room dedicated to a college football team. And in one small space sat the evidence of things hoped for and expected: tiny pink onesies, hairbows, and frilly sleepers.
Later as I held my daughter, rocking her into a peaceful lullaby, I couldn't help but to cry. A cry that I came to realize was one as much of joy as it was of relief. I would know, after all, what it was to love and raise a daughter of my own: to know the fun of shopping for cute little dresses with those adorable bloomers; to know the joy of slumber parties; to feel the pain and shed the tears with the first breakup; to share in the excitement of wedding plans; and to be there when she needs her mother when she becomes a mother herself.
Without realizing it, all this time I had lived knowing that the old saying "A son is a son until he gets a wife, but daughter is a daughter for life" was true; that someday my boys would grow into men and become very independent from mom - which is what they are supposed to do and I will, although sadly, encourage them. Yet with a daughter I know, while she will grow and gain her own independence, there is always one person she will need....me, her mother.