As I was vacuuming, my mind was doing its typical wandering. It was either that or reflect on the horrific size of the dust bunnies in my house. But I got to thinking of a snippet of a conversation nearly 7 years old. And once my mind got on that track, it has stayed there a bit. So, please indulge me as I do a bit of pondering on the subject of “Deserving a Daughter.”
This is my daughter, Amelia. She is perhaps the kindest person I’ve ever had the luck to meet. I also think she’s pretty perfect in lots of other ways, but I know I’m biased as all get out on that one. For example, I thought she was the most beautiful baby in the world back when she was an infant. In hindsight, she was not nearly as cute as she is now. (Anybody else experience that phenomena? I keep doing it, over and over, with each of my three kids – proof I cannot learn a darn thing.)
At first blush, Amelia and I have very little in common. I was a tomboy who despised pink and all things girlie; Amelia lives for dresses and nail polish. Of course, I had a dad who thought little girls were not nearly as good as little boys, and she has a dad who thinks she’s a princess. Perhaps that makes a difference.
And a princess she is – at least on her dad’s side where she is the only girl. So you can imagine how much pink and polish she gets from her assorted relatives who don’t have little girls to dote upon. (Yes, I know I’m ending that sentence with a preposition, oh well.)
So back when she was just an infant, I was having a lunch-time conversation at work about life with a newborn, and a newborn daughter to boot. One of my co-workers (who is a fashion-plate, I might add) noted my typical look which is just one step up from my previous “it’s perfectly fine to wear wool socks with your Birkenstocks” attire and noted that I wasn’t exactly the right person to raise a daughter. Sons, yes; daughters, no. Or, as she put it, “You don’t deserve a daughter. A girl is wasted on you.”
Now, it has already been firmly established that there are many voices playing in my head at all times. So, the kind and compassionate voice reminded me that when someone really wants a daughter and doesn’t have one, perhaps one might sound a bit bitter on the subject. Another voice reminded me of the inherent humor of the situation which allowed me to just laugh it off as the funny little quip it was intended to be.
And yet, do I deserve a daughter? And if I do, just what makes me deserving of one? Is a person more suited to parent one gender over the other? Would Amelia be happier if she had a mom more likely to want to spend the day shopping or paint toe nails or play dolls or dress in matching Mother-Daughter outfits?
I believe the only thing a person must have is love in his/her heart to be “deserving” of a child. When you parent mixed genders, you quickly see the differences between individuals – some of which are likely caused by gender and some of which are likely caused by all the socialized behavior that comes with relationships.
That said, I certainly hope I deserve my daughter. If for no other reason than she has made me a better person just by being in my life.
My husband and I had the perfect arrangement for creating our family. We would decide to have a baby and I’d get pregnant. The pregnancy would progress along text-book lines and a perfect and healthy little person would come into our lives. All followed my perfectly controlled plan. And then I miscarried our second child.
One morning I woke up not feeling pregnant and by that afternoon I was told to go home and let nature take its course. As I left the clinic, my midwife gave me one more hug, another tissue, and this bit of advice: “Try to let your life just be, instead of trying to control it so much. Just enjoy what is offered to you.”
Thirteen months later Amelia Grace was born and I have tried to enjoy every bit of her and her brothers. Do I deserve her? I sure hope so, because deserving her means I deserved the chance to learn acceptance and patience from both the blue and pink perspectives.
All three of my kids have given me so much, and I am blessed by each of them. Thank you Little Miss Amelia for giving me the chance to know I can parent a daughter just as well as a son.