It's funny, because there has never been a time in my life where I was glad to be a girl. I never particularly liked little girls. More often they sort of repulsed me. They tend to make me physically/emotionally/mentally icky. The way a lot of girls look and act and feel. The sappy clothes that somehow can morph into questionable moral choices by the time a girl is eight. And those silly headbands people would strap on to their bald baby girls in an effort to tell the world that the child is, in fact, a girlchild and not a boy dressed in pink. The idea of cleaning out girl parts when changing a bad diaper. Tiny Barbie shoes all over the place that only get picked up when the real things like puberty and self-image and one thousand other things that seem so complicated become present.
I realized long ago that most of what I find repulsive in girls of all ages are things I find repulsive in myself. It's an Issue, with a capital I. I am fully aware of this fact.
Thin or messy hair.
Large breasts, especially at a young age.
And so on.
At that moment I realized I would never have a little girl of my own, something shifted. All the names we had picked out for Jacob before we knew he was a boy and the ones we had this time- they would never turn into real live people. Goodbye to Cecilia Rose and Sophia Rose and Ava Rose. I'll never have to struggle with your hair and the many accessories that come with it. I'll never have to play dolls or horses or stickers or nail paint salon day with you. Never have to buy your first bra, hopefully not at age 8 like mine was bought. Never have to decide when is the right time for leg shaving and make up wearing. Never have to explain tampons. I'd be sure to let you know that the applicator isn't part of what you wear. I wore applicators for the first year or so I wore tampons. No one told me to take them off and out. It hurt, but I thought it was just part of becoming a woman. I'll never stay up and wait for you to come home from your first date or watch you leave for prom with a sick and elated feeling in my guts. Watch you walk down an aisle. Have a baby of your own. Watch your heart break. Watch you put pieces back together.
Not that any of that is guaranteed.
Not that I particularly looked forward to or enjoyed most of the Female Rites of Passage myself. Most of them I felt pressured to do. Pressure that it was the "right" thing or the "normal" thing to do. The "nice" or the "polite" thing. The thing that "ladies" do.
It's funny how I was perfectly 100% fine with never having another child after Jacob. I didn't want a child after Jacob. I didn't want this child. Until I did. Sometime around the 8 or 10 week mark.
There is a lot of guilt in that. In not wanting a child that is already here. Already here inside you. Of course there are alternatives. Information to be gathered. Choices to be made. Choices that were made. Choices that were hard to make.
After all that guilt and all the gathering and all those choices and all that thinking and all that bonding and all that everything else, the feeling I got when I found out I was having another boy really hit hard. Hurt hard. Again with the guilt and the processing and the feeling and the tears.
Nothing. Something. A weird sort of loss. A loss of something I never had to begin with.
I'll never be a rockstar.
Or a movie star.
Or a child prodigy.
Or an astronaut.
Or a veterinarian.
Or independently wealthy.
Or eighty hunousand any other things that I've hoped I would be.
Or the mother of a little girl.
Yesterday I found an index card with a little girl handwriting on it in front of my house. Hearts and loops and somehow much more careful and intentional than little boy handwriting. It made me a little angry, a little happy. I bent down and read the card:
We all hope and pray and wish for healthy babies. When people ask us what we think we are having, we say things like "oh, it doesn't matter/I don't care as long as it is healthy".
Our children hope and pray and wish the same for us.
It isn't hard to find out where someone lives. Even if that someone is an 11 year old girl (who turns 12 next month, one day before my birthday. It's crazy scary what you can find out on the internet in two minutes). Especially if that little girl signs her notes with her full name. I dropped the card in her mailbox so she might be able to put this where it is meant to be.
So she can give this to her mom. Who was only 28 years old and has been dead for three years last Sunday.
We aren't guaranteed much in life. I guess it's pretty damned important to celebrate every tiny thing we are given, even if it's not necessarily what we want.