If I hadn’t been laying down already, I probably would have fallen over. “I think you’re finally going to get a little girl,” the ultrasound tech said. I have to admit my heart dropped and even a few tears squeezed out. I sat in the bathroom when the ultrasound was done, and prayed, “Are you sure, God? Are you absolutely sure I can do this? Because I’m not!” In case you don’t know, we have a house full of boys. Five of them. They are my life, my heart, my everything. They are a bundle of dirt, energy, gas, and a sloppy wet kiss all rolled into one. We love having a house full of boys, as I've said before here. We’ve never really wanted a girl. When strangers would ask us if we were going to try for one, we’d laugh and say we’d probably have more, but they won’t be girls. In fact, it was so far off my radar, I had not even thought about the fact that this baby I’m carrying might be anything else other than another boy.
Growing up, I always felt easier around boys. They are oftentimes easier to get along with, not having the pettiness or complicated emotions that go with girl relationships. Boys typically cause less drama (though I have a couple that would give any girl a run for her money in this department). I’m not very emotional, and I tend to not have a lot of patience for emotional outbursts, crying, or hurt feelings. Boys seem to require less stuff, and we really don’t have room for a whole new set of clothing and toys that inevitably come with a girl. I cringe at the potential “I’m in charge” and “I’m the princess” shirts she’ll receive. Boys can be a handful, but girls have their own set of difficulties and pitfalls that come with raising them; I know because I was one. I also don’t want to share my husband with anyone. I seriously asked him if he would still love me as we drove home from the ultrasound. I’m sad that Boston won’t have a brother super close to him in age like the other boys. Then there are the little weird insecurities I have when I think about her: Will I screw her up? Will it be weird nursing a daughter? What if she only loves Daddy? Will I be able to love her the same as I love my boys? Am I enough for her? Will it be weird to no longer be the mom with all the boys, just the mom with all the kids?
You should hear some of the comments people say to us when they find out we have all boys. “Oh, I feel so sorry for you!” “How do you do it? I only have one boy, and he drives me crazy!” “Wait until they’re teenagers and you have to feed them!” I try to smile and nod and be polite, but sometimes I want to scream. We live in a society that seriously undervalues boys and men. The innate desire to fight and defend, their lack of touchy-feely emotions, their energy and lack of stillness, their competitive spirit—these are not usually considered assets to our society. But our boys are valuable because of their boyish characteristics. They are valuable and precious and loved. And this is the main reason I’ve never really wanted a girl: I never wanted my boys to feel less-than. You should also hear the things people say to us when they find out we’re having a girl this time. “Finally getting your girl!” (Assuming we’ve been waiting for 9 years for this moment) “Oh, now you won’t be alone anymore!” (Do these people realize I have 5 kids and am NEVER alone?) “Well, you can be done now!” (I’ll have five more if I want, but thanks anyway.) And that’s the one that kills me. Many people assume we’ve kept having children because we were trying to have a girl. One lady actually said this to me when I told her we had five boys. She rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, were you just really wanting a girl or what?” I got a blank stare when I said that no, we just really like our kids. Because no one in their right mind would keep having children just for the sake of having children, especially if they kept coming out male. I never want my boys to feel like we kept having more children because we were trying to get it right—that they were the wrong ones we didn’t really want. I’ve dreaded them being ignored for her when we go places just because she’s the only girl. I don't want them to feel like they are loved less and she’s loved more. When we told the boys they were having a sister, I let them know that we would love them the same as we always have; that having a girl wouldn’t make us love them any differently. They looked at me like the thought had never occurred to them. Maybe I can let that one go, but I still worry. I'm their mom, and it's my job.
So you can laugh at my insecurities. You can tell me it will be fine when she gets here. And I know all this. But it’s taken my heart a while to adjust. Having a girl will change our life, but I’m gradually getting excited. I smiled when I found myself in the little girls’ aisle for the first time at a store the other day. Suddenly, despite her brothers' very loud protests, there will be some things that are pink, and possibly dolls and princess dresses and tea parties, though I’m sure with five older brothers she’ll be just as rough and tumble as I was a young girl. Now when there’s a ladies’ event at church I won’t have to go alone. I’ll be able to do her hair. The boys will hopefully learn to be a little more gentle, a little more sweet, and they might start closing the door before the use the bathroom or strip naked. One of the boys hopefully commented that now he has a sister, she can do all the work, and he won’t have to do any chores anymore. (Nice try, kid.) Our family isn’t incomplete without her, but it will be completed when she gets here. That’s the dichotomy of having another child regardless of their gender—you don’t know they’re missing until they get here, and then you wonder what you did without them.
I’ve always said that I never wanted a girl, but if God gave us one, it meant He knew something about me that I didn’t. Now it’s my turn to actually believe my words, and trust Him. He knows what He’s doing. And when she comes, for a while, she’ll just be a baby in need of love, care, and a lot of snuggles. That I know I can handle. Her brothers have given me lots of practice.