Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's a.... HUMAN BEING!

We had our "big" ultrasound this past week, and were so thankful and relieved to hear that the baby is developing perfectly and looks as healthy as can be. We also found out that this tiny stranger cohabitating with me is a boy. I would be lying if I said that we were not at all disappointed.

I wanted a girl. In fact, I desperately wanted a girl. I didn't know how desperate this desire was until we found out for certain that there would be no girl babies in this family. But then an argument started brewing inside my head and my heart, and several days later, I am pleased to announce I was utterly defeated in the argument against myself.

As my brain tried to sort out and make light of the disappointment I felt, one sad voice would argue, "But you'll never be able to shop for all those adorable girl clothes!" A quieter voice, but one filled with wisdom, answered "Yes, fine, no cute girl clothes... except for all the cute girl clothes you can buy for yourself!" Huh, I thought. That's a good point. And really, aren't I the one who gets the most pleasure from cute clothes? Franky, like most kids their age, Aidan and Leo are happiest when completely naked.

Then, "But you'll never be able to get pedicures with a daughter!" "No," acknowledged the wise voice. "But you don't even like pedicures. You can't stand the sound of the nail file, or the way they scrub your feet... you have no patience for the time it takes for the paint to dry!" This is true, I thought...

Next (the sad voice, quieter, losing steam): "But no dollhouse! No room painted pink!"
"That's right, probably no dollhouse. But you didn't even like dollhouses when you were a little kid, because they seemed so tedious and too tiny for the likes of you. And you hated pink! If the pink room is that big of a deal, have Jeff paint the powder room pink." Huh. This was getting harder.

As I continued to weigh in on the trivial matters of my mind's argument, several things dawned on me. One, some of the really "girly girl" stuff, I couldn't stand as a child, and can't stand now. I used to hate the color pink, despised wearing anything froufy or frilly, and preferred feminist Free to Be stories like Atalanta over traditional fairy tales. So it's a relief that there will be no arguments over a "no Barbie" rule in the house, and no worries about a Cinderella-obsessed daughter. Two, I realized that for all of my non-gender rhetoric, (in graduate classes in education, at playgroup, and forever filling a certain dear friend's ear with all my rants) I was completely genderizing this amazing person inside me, failing to see him for what he is - a miracle, a human being, a blessing - and instead thinking of him only as a body part.

And finally, the most important realization of all. I cannot think of a single thing that I will truly "miss out on" by not having a daughter, because there are countless scores of women - and men - who have made it so, who have fought hard, and are still fighting, for gender equality. I myself am working to deconstruct the stereotypes. I have boys who love to cook, to watch me sew or knit, and who are learning how to dust the shelves and sort laundry (making sure to put their pink shirts in the "color" hamper). Our sons play with dolls and strollers. They have dress up clothes. They have a kitchen set, a pretend iron, aprons to wear while cooking, and vacuums and dust mops to use while cleaning. They have trucks and tools, a workbench, lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and a bunch of other toys that can be grouped and stereotyped.

I am having a human being. What more could a girl want?

"We've begun to raise daughters more like sons...but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters." Gloria Steinem


Julia said...

Beautiful post, and congratulations! You are and will continue to raise amazing boys who will become amazing men. Then they will bring home lovely girlfriends, eventually marrying a special one, and you will be (you WILL be) an amazing mother-in-law who will delight in spending time with the new daughters in her family. Maybe no doll houses, but surely a pedicure should you change your mind about them.

Emily said...

Yay Anne! I miss you!