In the last two weeks I’ve had over a dozen run-ins with complete strangers who have raised all girls. Some with four. Most with three. All without boys. I know my situation makes me aware of these things more than normal and I know the natural curiosity of people is to ask what our third is, but the point wasn’t the commonality (although it made us strangers feel connected in a unique way) the point was the encouragement.
In all these occurrences not one single person complained, passed down the double-edged warnings, or gave me a congratulatory eye-roll. You know the one that says–I’m smiling for you, but laughing internally once they all start their periods.
And I’m not saying girls are harder than boys. Or less valued or wanted. I don’t believe in any of those statements. I have no opinion on the difficulty of raising boys and I may never have one. I’m saying there is something unique about a family that is all one either way. There is an obvious concentration of maleness and femaleness that intrinsically sets a different mood for that household. Not that we don’t have toy cars, watch ninja turtles, or enjoy wrestling over here, because we totally do. But even putting that aside, if my husband and I only get the opportunity of raising girls it will mold and shape who we are and what we do for the next 25 years in a special way.
The beauty of all these run-ins though was the comments and feedback and support I got from them. The one today particularly struck a cord with me. He was a father of about 60-70 years and was watching me grab coffee while I waited for an oil change. Roma sat on my left hip, her hair a wild array of curls, and her face covered in a chalky white substance from the candy necklace that the teller at the bank gave her twenty minutes before. She looked like an adorable hot mess. And she was handing out giant, gap-toothed smiles to anyone who was breathing. I’m so proud of that kid and she’s not even two.
As I held her, I poured cream and sugar with my right hand and then stirred it while scanning the floor and whisper-yelling, “Eliana!” in an effort to get her to stop touching the candy displays. This sweet man stood next to me and in the most gentle voice said, “I bet no one ever told you you’d be doing everything with only one hand for the rest of your life.” At first I didn’t catch on. My guard was up and I was waiting for him to complain about Eliana or start tapping his foot because I was taking too long stirring. When my brain connected with his words I chuckled. “Oh yeah,” I said. “It gets a little dicey when dealing with hot substances and children under 7.” I gave him a little wink and ushered my belly out of his way, very carefully trying to avoid spilling the coffee all over myself or Roma.
He laughed in return and continued to tell me about his life. “You know, I have three daughters. All of them much older than you. And not a single day goes by that I don’t talk to each one.” And my mind immediately aged my husband forty years. I saw him sitting down on a leather chair, pulling out his cell phone, and making the calls…
Eliana. Roma. Lucia.
“Hey sweetheart,” he would say. And on the other side I pictured our daughters. Middle-aged and smiling, answering on the first ring, because it’s their dad. And he always calls. And they always love it.
It took all my emotional might to not break down and cry at the words of this sweet man. I caught him looking at me several times as we waited to leave and I could read his eyes. He was thinking about his girls when they were this age. He was thinking about raising them. And how much he loved them. And how much joy they brought him. And I assumed they might just get two calls that day.
But you know what I didn’t see–him thinking about his son. The one he never had.
I know we can take things in our lives and perceive them how we choose. Perception is fickle and beautiful and can be easily manipulated. But I have felt this deep, internal joy about my children, even Lulu who isn’t here yet and I am so full. Full of life and love and peace and happiness. And with each run-in with a person who had all daughters I felt God. I felt him holding me. And I felt him reassuring me and encouraging me. He was telling me that he has beautiful plans for our daughters. That he knows exactly what he’s doing. That he has a purpose and that all three of them are right where they need to be. In our home and under our care and love.
My heart about damn near exploded. Maybe it’s because we’ve named her. Maybe it’s because it’s our third. Or maybe it’s simply the growth and wisdom of my heart, but I’ve never felt such raw anticipation to meet a child. I feel her kicking and I think about delivering her and I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so so overwhelmed.
I have been blessed with making life and it’s been easy for us. Getting pregnant mostly requires my husband and I to just look at each other. And I don’t say that to slap the faces of all my friends who either can’t or have had difficulties. You know my heart prays for you daily. But, I say it because I am honored. And I don’t want you to think for a single second that I take that for granted.
I may never be famous. I may never break records or make millions of dollars. I may never do wild and amazing things. But I have been blessed with daughters. And I will spend my days molding and shaping each and every one of my girls into the beautiful and fierce creatures they were intended to be.
They may not be quiet, but they will wonderful. I can promise you that.