Friday, June 3, 2011


I grew up in a hyper/overly-masculine house.  ESPN played on our television like a broken record, even when the whole family was sitting to watch and half the family had no interest. The females did the cooking and cleaning and the males did the . . . well, lounging. Or playing. While Mom had the biggest influence and presence in parenting, dad dominated for no other reason than possessing maleness. I grew up with the distinct understanding that to be strong meant to adopt masculine traits and yet those traits made you a freak of a female. I was always classified as the Smart One while my brother was the Jock. Even though I was far more athletic than academic, I was a girl and therefore not a serious athlete. I remember feeling meek and insignificant and confused by all of these messages. I can’t identify exactly when the confusion confounded into resentment, but it did. I can still remember the day I was asked what class I was taking in summer school at the university. When I responded with “Women’s History,” there was a sneer and then a question, “Why would you wanna take a class like that? What could there possibly be to talk about?” And there it was. My whole life of confusion in one simple statement.


Of course, if you know me, you know that bringing value, life, and significance to women through history has become my life’s work since that fateful summer. But I digress.


My whole point is that it was a very male house. Femaleness was a curse, an insult, and something to endure. Not something to celebrate or find value in or enjoy. And I always wanted a sister. Desperately longed for a sisterhood. I wanted a little sister to teach and guide and love and a older sister to help me navigate my way. As I grew older, that feeling never went away. If anything, I grew to envy even more the relationships of my friends and their now-adult sisters. They have this built-in companion, one who knows them better than anyone and who unfailingly supports . . . in sisterhood. I always know that no matter how close to get to some of my friends, they will always have their sisters and therefore friends are just . . . not their sisters. That desire I had as a child to find comfort in other females only intensified in womanhood. Heaven knows it only gets harder to figure it all out.

As a result of my childhood, I always assumed I’d be the mother of boys. I felt that I’d be better at raising boys and certainly more comfortable, having shoved (or been shoved?) into the world of boys since I was very young. And as I evaluated my own desires, I came to realize that I didn’t necessarily desire sons as much as I just figured that’s what I would get. The thought of having a daughter only creeped into my consciousness when I was pregnant with Amelia and when it did, I came to the frightening epiphany that I wanted a girl. Desperately, longingly wanted a daughter. I wanted to have that relationship with my daughter like the one I had with my mom, even if it would be more difficult for me to navigate. I also assumed by then that there was NO way we’d have a girl. Just not possible. I even (confession alert)bought boy clothes while pregnant and never even went into the girls’ section. I planned for a son.

And then with this pregnancy, I thought for sure AGAIN that it was boy. It had to be. Just had to. Isn’t that how it goes? You get one of each. A perfect set? Not only that, but I also figured that since I am only just now getting used to the idea of having and raising a daughter that I’d be thrown for a loop with a boy. Not that I even think they need to be raised differently because of course I don’t. But by now, I’ve got the girl thing in motion and feel confident with it. Change in any way just would make it complicated. I once again, began picking out boy clothes and getting my mind set on having a son. It’s really not bad having a son and I would have been excited about it. . . however, with the possibility in front of us, I couldn’t help but wonder . . . hope . . . that we’d have another girl.

And now here we are. Probably about a  month away (maybe less??) from having our second daughter. Daughters. Sisters. I never got to have a sister but Amelia and this baby will. I’m so happy for them. And maybe even a little envious. Except that I get to be their mama and live within and then probably later, just outside of their sisterhood. I will, at the very least, get to observe it up close and foster it as much as possible. And for me, I find complete and total joy in having a home and family that will be almost exactly the opposite of the one I had in terms of gender identification.  Where my girls (I love, love, love that we will have ‘the girls’) will be free to be whomever they want and tackle the world without boundaries. Where Daddy gets roped into dance parties and plays model for makeup practice because he doesn’t see any of it as beneath him. And where female is synonymous with strength and happiness and possibility. And where athletic and wise and confident are not considered masculine but human and where loving, kindness, and feeling are not considered weaknesses.  I love that we shall have giggly slumber parties and screaming emotional meltdowns. That we’ll share openly “I love yous” and hugs and kisses . . . into their adulthoods.


And I love that our girls will be sisters.

1 comment:

Monica said...

You rock. The end.