I become very jealous of people when I hear they have a baby girl.
There, I said it.
I love my four boys. I can't imagine life with a daughter. I can't imagine my life being any different than it is. I have four sons, and I don't regret having them, I don't regret having four, I don't regret any of it. I love my sons. I love saying I have four sons. I love saying "my four sons." I like to think I'm raising four boys who will become four wonderful men and marry four wonderful women and provide me with scads of grandchildren, boys and girls. I like to think I'm contributing positively to the next generation of men, a generation of men who are respectful of women, honest about their emotions, not afraid to express love, abhorrent of injustice and violence. I hope that I am raising four intelligent, ambitious, successful human beings who will make the world, or their little corner of it, a better place by the fact of their being in it. (Is that a bit arrogant? Maybe. But isn't that what parents really hope for in their kids? That they are raising people they will be proud of?)
But when I see a friend post a picture of their new baby girl, or a picture of their little girl in a cute dress, or talk about their little girl doing something girly like having a tea party with her dolls or wanting to paint her nails or do her hair...
I admit to being jealous, and a little sad.
I always assumed I'd have a girl. I thought if I had four kids, they'd be two girls and two boys. I thought I'd have a girl first. You want to have a girl first, you see, because then she'll help with her baby siblings. She'll be a little mama.
What I have are four boys. And my oldest boy? He helps so much with his younger brothers. And my boys like getting new clothes, and my second boy once asked to paint his nails, and there was that time four of us sat and had a tea party together (granted, we made gross pretend soup, but still, it was kind of a tea party).
But there was this one time, when I was pregnant with #4 and hadn't found out the gender yet, that I saw a cute little yellow dress at Kohl's in the toddler girls section, and I picked it up and admired it and then put it in my cart and started toward the register, and then laughed and put it back on the rack when I realized what I was doing. But I really was going to buy it, because I was sure I was going to have a daughter.
I was supposed to have a daughter.
I always imagined how I would raise a girl. How I would teach her about life and womanhood, and how I would be clueless about makeup and fashion, and how she would see that you can grow up to be a strong, happy, fulfilled woman even without those things, and how there are lots of ways to feel fulfilled in life. I thought I would be there for her when she was pregnant, and pass along all my knowledge about pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding. Not that I can't do those things for a future daughter-in-law, but it's not the same, in my mind.
I joke about how I'm so relieved not to have a girl, that I don't have to deal with the tween girl hormones or synced up cycles. I laugh and say I'm so glad I don't have to experience the drama of the 4-year-old girl or the terror of the teen years.
I joke, and I smile, and I laugh, but...
I love my sons so much, and I hope that I'm able to teach them all the things that will make them exemplary husbands and fathers, even though I'm not sure I really know how. And I love my sons so much, and one day they'll bring home a woman to the Passover seder or a Shabbat dinner or to Thanksgiving and say, "Mom, I want you to meet my fiancee," and then I can look forward to having a daughter-in-law and granddaughters to bond with.
And I love my sons so much, and four kids is plenty, and I don't think I can do it again, the pregnancy and the birth and the baby years and the toddler years and the diapers and the sleepless nights, even if it meant I would have a daughter. Even then.
So I mourn the daughter I will never have.
And I'm sad for myself when my friends have baby girls.
And I gather my four beautiful sons into my arms and I love them so much and I can't imagine my life any other way.
G-d gave me boys.
I am a mother to sons.