I may as well get this out there in the open before some insensitive being ‘jokingly’ tells my boys, “Did you know your mummy wanted a GIRL?” I’d better say it first rather than endure heart-breaking, grief-stricken looks of “Is that true?” from them. You know the look I’m talking about; big, gorgeous, brown, eyes laden with unshed tears, a quivering lower lip and a look of betrayal that goes straight your heart and stays there for as long as you live!
Yes, it’s true. I wanted a daughter. Both times round. The first time it didn’t happen, I thought, “Oh well, there’s always next time!” The ‘next time’ came and went, and I struck out again. I thought to myself, “Great! Now what?”
I mourned all those pretty dresses, multi-coloured hairclips and ruffled underwear that I was never going to buy. I lamented all those Cinderella and Snow White theme birthday parties that I would not be able to plan and throw. I kissed goodbye to all those Nancy Drew’s and Malory Tower’s that I would never get a chance to read to her. No make-believe tea parties, no collecting Barbies, no giggling over girl stuff, no advice on nail-polish and make-up and sigh, no sharing deep-dark secrets like first crushes, the ‘IT’ girls, heart aches and what I really thought of Daddy when I first met him.
Was my life only going to be about cricket, football and broken bones? Would I have to be tortured by burp contests and food fights at the dinner table? Did I have to pour buckets of water to separate my two future WWF wrestlers-in-the-making as they practice the Death Grip on each other? Was I going to end up with a permanently hoarse voice thanks to non-stop yelling about toilet seats and smelly socks?
I don’t think I need to spell out that I love my two boys beyond words, beyond measure, beyond every conceivable and inconceivable thought in the universe. They are my heart’s song and my soul’s laughter. Just the mere thought of them brings a lump to my throat and I am so incredibly blessed that they are mine.
But there were times when I missed holding that bundle of pink in my arms. Yes, that’s right… ‘were’, not ‘are’. I made my peace with all the girlie thoughts and realized that I had been presented with a wonderful opportunity here!
We women, aren’t we constantly cribbing about the lack of broad-minded men around us? Men who are free from the traditional thought processes of the patriarchal system? We keep bemoaning the fact that while the previous generation, especially our moms, did a great job in bringing us girls up, they forgot to erase the ‘God complex’ from their little boys’ minds. So, while they raised us, their daughters, to believe that we were no less than men and could scale the highest mountains and swim the deepest seas…they forgot to impart that bit of wisdom to their sons. Suddenly, a whole generation of men was left unable to cope with these strong-willed, free-spirited, independence-happy, beautiful, brilliant women, who were breaking down walls, scaling corporate ladders and achieving many firsts. These men were left feeling defenseless that their arcane methods of ‘taming the shrew’ would no longer hold them in good stead. So while our moms were teaching us to be the best that we could possibly be, they neglected to share this new bit of philosophy with our brothers.
It’s up to women like me to set the balance straight, so that some semblance of order can be restored and peace can prevail. Maybe the Battle of the Sexes can finally reach an easy truce.
Of course I’ll teach my boys karate and kickboxing. But I’ll also teach them the art of whipping up a perfect Irish Cream Soufflé. I’ll endure hours of Bruce Lee’s and spaghetti westerns, but by Georgina, I’m gonna teach them how to sit through a chick-flick. When they tell a girl they’re going to call, they’d better mean it. If a female of the species beats their pants off in a game of chess or even of one-on-one basketball, they should know that it’s a talent to be admired and NOT an effort to be dismissively praised. They have to learn that news of their sweeties’ success should be met, not with condescending pats on the back, but with heartfelt roars of approval, a bottle of well-deserved bubbly and a toast for her future triumphs.
This is all so exciting! There’s so much to do! So excuse me while I put away my dreams wrapped in pink. I now dream in blue, green, yellow, gold, silver and all the colours of the rainbow. I want to colour my boys’ world with sensitivity, imagination and intelligence!
I’ve been blessed with two boys who are simply amazing. Fifteen to twenty years down the line, I hope all the women they meet think so too!
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