Sweet Resignation

It is with some (small) measure of regret that I must hereby announce my resignation from MOAB: the Mothers Of All Boys club.

Yes, that’s right:

These Walls -- Sweet Resignation -- It's A Girl!

I. am. in. shock.

All (yesterday) morning, I prepared myself for my afternoon sonogram by gearing myself up for boy #4: “I’ll be able to say I have FOUR boys!” “The (soon-to-be-not) baby will have a brother close in age to him, just like the first two do.” “Every time somebody stops me in the grocery store to say, ‘Three boys?’ I’ll be able to chirp back, ‘Four!’” “We won’t have to buy new clothes. Or toys. Or anything else!”

And then the time came. I lie on the table looking up at the screen, thankful to get to watch my baby move his hands, his legs, his back. Thankful for a strong heartbeat. Thankful for organ after organ that checked out as they should.

But we were kept waiting on the bits we were most curious about. I stared at the screen, Brennan stared at it, my mom stared. Baby was uncooperative. He had his legs together; he was hunched into a ball.

Then finally, “he” was pronounced to be a “she”!

“How sure are you?” I asked the tech.

“Very sure.”

“Still a girl?” I asked again and again, while the tech moved on to other parts of my baby’s anatomy.

“Still a girl.”

I think it will take some time before this new reality settles in. I might not even fully believe it until I hold that baby in my arms. But for now, I’m so happy. Brennan is too, though his happiness is (and this is typical for us) more muted than my own. Me: “This is so exciting!” Him: “This will be fine.”

This evening we celebrated our baby girl (ack! I can’t believe I can say that!) with a nice dinner out, just the two of us. Then we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a bouquet of pink roses and went home to tell our boys that they’d be getting a sister.

The oldest jumped up and down. I don’t ever want to forget the look of joy on his face! The middle one – who has been insisting all along that the baby is a girl to be named “Saturday” – hugged me tight and squealed and said, “Mommy, I wuv you because you’re having a girl.” The (soon-to-be-not) baby just toddled around in his diaper, looking cute.

We’re so fortunate – to have each other, to be part of such a loving family, to have three beautiful boys and now a sure-to-be-wonderful girl.

Thank you, Lord, for these most incredible of blessings.

Thank you.

Updated to add: Head on over to the blog’s Facebook page to see a video of Brennan and me announcing the baby’s gender to HER big brothers! (And if you haven’t already, please ‘like’ the page!)

These Walls - Sweet Resignation

Wonderful Because They’re Them: Thoughts on Mothering All Boys

This is post 2 of my series of 7 posts in 7 days. All the time, I run across news articles or blog posts or radio segments that make me want to answer them aloud with my own take on the situation. So that’s what I’m doing this week. For each of these seven days, I’ll take a recent item (by someone more original than myself) and I’ll comment on it. That’s it, but that’s something!

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This morning I had my 12-week sono. Thankfully, all went well – Baby Walsh #4 looks just as we hoped s/he would. As usual, I loved the chance to lie back and watch my baby on the screen, wiggling his body around and holding his hand up to his face. (Yes – I said “his.” No, I don’t know that the baby is a boy. It’s just that with three boys already, I’m much more used to the masculine pronouns than the feminine.)

As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder who this little guy (or gal) is. I thought of my three boys at home and how little I knew of them when I first got this glimpse at their own wiggly little bodies. And how five, four, and almost two years later, I can’t imagine life without them. It boggles my mind to think of how much is yet to be revealed about this child, and how much I will love him.

I thought, too, on whether this child will be revealed to be our fourth boy or our first girl. Watching him, I realized that I can hardly help but think of him as a boy. It’s what I know. So as much as I’d love to have a girl, I know I’ll be fine if he indeed proves to be a he. He’ll feel familiar to me. And I’ll feel a surge of pride at having a pack of four fine boys to call my own.

These Walls - Wonderful Because They’re Them: Thoughts on Mothering All Boys - 1

If the baby should prove to be a girl, well, I can only imagine that I’ll stumble out of that exam room in a stupor of disbelief (and joy).

As a mother of three boys, I run across “I Love Being A Boy Mom” blog posts all the time. Mostly, they don’t do anything for me. I find that they tend to either wallow in the misfortune of being surrounded by boy grossness, or serve as overly-enthusiastic cheers for Team Boy.

I’m in neither of those places. I happen to think that my boys are the most beautiful creatures on this earth, so I don’t exactly appreciate diatribes against the publicly-guffawed-about trademarks of their gender. But neither do I appreciate the assertions that “Boys are the awesomest ever! Because sports and loving their mamas and not being emotionally complicated!”

I don’t need to be told that my boys are wonderful because they’re boys. I know full well that they’re wonderful because they’re them.

All that said, a couple of months ago, I came across a Boy Mom post that hit me in just the right place. The author reviewed many of the challenges of having boys, but she did so lovingly, almost tenderly – I felt like I could see the smile she wore as she wrote.

When I’m introduced to another mother of only boys, there are a few seconds of expectation. As if maybe we are going to have a secret handshake. Or maybe we are going to say, “Hey, are there black handprint marks all over your walls? Me too!”

Instead, we just nod our heads and exchange a little smile, knowing we are kindred spirits. Having boys leads to a set of personality traits, namely that you’re not fussy and that you roll with the (actual) punches. If you have a bunch of boys, you’ve probably seen a femur up close. You can get blood out of anything.

Moreover, the author acknowledged what most of the Boy Mom posts don’t – the bittersweet sadness of never getting to mother a girl.

We boy moms won’t go prom dress shopping. We won’t pick the wedding venue. We won’t be in the delivery room. We won’t ever, ever sit on a toilet before thoroughly inspecting it first. But we will strive to raise kind, conscious, able young men. All of this is acknowledged when boy moms meet and exchange a little nod and a smile. The nod is for the food prep and the property damage. The smile is for all the rest: the sweetness of a little boy, and the way he grabs your heart with his dirty hands and never lets go.

This is where I am, even as I stare up at that screen, watching my baby. The one who is still completely mysterious to me. The one who could be our fourth boy, or our first girl: I’m a happy woman in love with my boys, who would gladly welcome another. But who, if I indeed end up with a pack of all men, will always think a little sadly on what I’ve missed.

And that’s fine. I am neither a wallower nor a cheerleader. I’m a mother. I don’t need to be told that my boys are wonderful because they’re boys. I know full well that they’re wonderful because they’re them.

These Walls - Wonderful Because They're Them: Thoughts on Mothering All Boys - 2