Sunday, August 14, 2011

White Picket Fence

I do not have a daughter.

I am the second oldest of eleven kids.  Of the top five, four are girls.  So the bottom half of my family is very boy-heavy. I helped raise those brothers.  I held them, and played with them, and rocked them. So raising boys now is familiar, and comfortable, and joyful.

I am not one of those women who has always pined for a little girl.  The thought of raising a girl, in fact, has made me nervous.  I have enough estrogen for an this household.  I love little girls, and I have a few very wonderful ones in my life.  I was thrilled when my ultrasound showed boy parts.  Both times.  Plus I adore my stepson, as you well know.

But I want a daughter for life.

When I see moms getting pedicures with their teenagers, my heart hurts.  When I think of not having a daughter to watch go through her married...having children of her own, well...that kills me a little.

I watched The Help last weekend (which has a thousand lessons in it...I should probably dedicate an entire blog post to it, in fact.).  In it, there is a scene with a younger-self of the main character and her maid.  It's an intensely maternal moment and it struck me in a place I can't describe to you except to tell you that it made me weep on my husband's shoulder upon returning home from the movie. 

I love my family.  I love it so much that I'm planning to put up a white picket fence next spring.  True story.  My boys are awesome and healthy and someday they'll marry well and I'll have daughters-in-law, and granddaughters if I'm lucky. And I have little girls in my life to bond with, and love.  And I'm grateful.

But I'll mourn not having one of my very own for just a little while before I move on. (Because it's okay for us to grieve for things we don't have, so long as we're thankful for the gifts that we do have.)

It's my mom's fault, really.  If you know my mom, you'll know that she's kind to everyone.  She's gentle. She's an amazing listener.  I told my mom everything growing up.  I spent countless hours with her in the kitchen (not helping...just watching her work and visiting (she was a far superior mother than I was a daughter)).  I'd be sad, and I'd sit in the living room.  She'd give me some time, and then she'd come in and touch my hair, giving me permission to cry.  She loves me so deeply.  I think she's still mad at the first guy who broke my heart.  So you don't need a psychology degree to see how her beauty as a mother inspired me to want to provide that for another human being.

I'll be 35 on my next birthday.  It would be more information than you'd like (and inappropriate on a public blog!) if I shared with you why I'm pretty sure that the childbirth chapter of my life is closed.  And I trust that God knows best.  And I trust that my boys will always love me, and share with me and want to be with me.  And who knows...maybe I can even drag one of them for a pedicure someday.

Thank you to my God and my dear husband for understanding and kindness and patience, and Kleenex.  And for my white-picket-fence life.


elizabeth said...

Oh, my dear. Of course you can grieve. It sounds like a loss. The loss of things that are not physical - like dreams or ideas or hopes - hurts too. So very much.

I am sending lots of love. (And may your Kleenex be extra-soft.)

Ang Campbell said...

{{{{{hugs}}}}} Now I understand the FB request. I'll keep looking tomorrow :) And yeah, I totally and completely understand the grief. When the u/s showed Toby was a boy I wept and wept and wept. Willy was horrified and thought it was because I was sad to be having a boy. It had NOTHING to do with having a boy!!! It had everything to do with letting go of the idea of ever having a girl. And those are two very different things. When we're little girls we play with GIRL dollies. We don't grow up really imagining having sons! We dream of the daughter. Then we're blessed with sons and we fall in head-over-heels love with those boys and wonder if maybe having a daughter is actually overrated because dangit those boys are AWESOME!! But I think there's always that little spot in our own little girl heart that yearns for the experience of having a daughter. You know my story. We thought we were done fo'sho after Toby. That's why I was so emotional to learn he was a boy because I was just certain I was having to let go of my dreams of a daughter. I have to tell you that when I was searching for that letter, I went back and read my own blog entry from the day before Molly was born and I still remember how intense the feeling of melancholy was about coming to the end of my Queen of the Castle era with my three sons. There is something amazingly special about the relationship between mother and son(s). Yours is no exception. I love the way you love your boys :) They're so blessed to have you as their mama!!

Ang Campbell said...

Uh. Sorry for the novel ROFLMBO. Man I need to learn to shut up sometimes...

Brita said...

Well said, Leanne. May you be blessed with lovely daughters in law and maybe even some princess granddaughters some day.

MindiJo said...

This is a really beautiful, heartfelt post. And I'm sorry that you haven't gotten your pedicure partner yet. But you will someday, in some form.

And you are so very much like Sandy. <3

Joanna said...

I'm sorry, friend. I love you.

Diane Lindquist said...

Oh, Leanne, what a beautiful post. I am so sorry you are grieving the loss of your dream daughter. Deep hugs to you. We also saw "The Help" this weekend and I was very moved. I have started taking littlest one in my arms and telling her "You are kind. You are smart. You are important." Just like the little girl in the movie, she repeats at least part of it, with a big smile. The lessons we learn from movies and books .....

Leanne said...

Me too, Diane! I said it to Jack twice yesterday and the second time he said, "I know mom. You already told me that." I'm going to keep telling him though. I love it. I've always told them, "I love you because you're so kind. I love you because you're smart, and you're nice to people..." etc. This is my new line. Kind, smart, important. Those are perfect attributes!

I miss you. Lets get together.

What wonderful friends I have. Thank you all for your love. Its so fantastic to be understood. <3