I had an ultrasound today. The tech moved over my round belly, 20 weeks full of baby and decreasing muscle tone, and found what she was looking for. I blinked. Yup. I’ve seen that before.
I had panicked, silently, at the thought of having a girl. Would I have to invest in nail polish? I don’t have any. Or a hairbrush. Is there a video I could watch on how to fit a toddler into tights? I’d have to learn how to apply makeup! I’d have to actually watch Frozen! Could we still go frog catching for fun? Would mud pies be off the menu? Could I still get nerf guns for everyone for Christmas? I’d have to change our “Act like a man” mantra…
I’ve got baby boy number six growing inside me.
Here we go again.
I don’t have this parenting thing down. Not by a long shot. But after five boys in the last eight years, I’m fairly confident with parenting the whole camouflage and peeing-standing-up crew. Practice makes – well, not perfect, but certainly better. There was once a study that claimed that 10,000 hours of practice will make you an expert in that area. True or not, if you claim only the 24 hours every day of every year that my oldest, the eight year old, has lived, that’s over 70,000 hours of my life that I’ve parented a boy. Add the hours of each of my other boys’ lives to that, and I’m clocking over 210,000 hours as a mother of boys. That’s a lot of miles of train tracks, a lot of energy, matchbox cars, aliens, robots, bugs and beef jerky. I’ve got this. Sorta.
For years, every time I’ve been pregnant, people have commented sympathetically, “I hope you have a girl this time!” Or “You must still be trying till you get a girl!” Sometimes I wondered, “Why? Does it really matter?” Will the world tip over from too much concentrated testosterone if I have “too many boys”? I suspect there are others who make up for the lack of hairspray and ovaries in my house. Am I missing something that I need to make life complete?
On the flip side, how could a girl after so many brothers not be messed up? Would she end up ultra-sparkle, spoiled, petted, princess pink? Or would she be such a tomboy that she could’t handle barrettes and compliments? Would she be scarred for life? When boys start climbing the walls in here, I just send them outside to run 5 or 6 laps around the house. It’s almost always a cure for what ails them. But girl drama? What do you do with that? Hug them? Buy them new shoes? Give them a time out in the lego corner? Five times I have wondered, “What was God thinking?!?” as a fresh bundle of life was handed to me in the maternity ward. Who am I to be given such a blessing – and such burden – to raise this particular life? Today, I wonder it all over again. I’m five feet tall, an introvert, who likes to bake chocolate things and read and drink tea. And now I have six strapping boys who all take after their six-foot-something hockey player dad. Does it make God chuckle to look at my family?
As I lay on the table in the dark room, it didn’t matter to me if I would emerge planning a tea party or another jersey for our homemade soccer team. All that paled before the unknown of their health. Would the baby’s nerves or brain be growing outside its tiny body? Would its heart function? And on top of all that, I wondered if it would even live outside the bubble in my womb. Wardrobe color paled in comparison. Whatever is given, it is not by accident. But I will never take a completely formed spine or four chambered heart for granted.
Here am I and the children God has given me. There is no lack.
I am getting really good at homemade beef jerky and the different meanings of Tarzan yells.
I just need to buy that farm now.
And maybe a fresh set of ear plugs.
Because of course – it’s a boy 🙂