When I found out that Oliver was an Oliver rather than an Emma, I went through a period of mourning for the daughter I wasn't to have. Having grown up in a female-heavy family and with a sister to whom I was really close, I wanted and assumed I'd have daughters. And honestly, it took a few weeks to get over the realization that I wouldn't go dress shopping for Prom or a wedding, wouldn't be the grandmother of my girl's children, heck, wouldn't have daughters who would call me all the time like I call mine. T never calls his parents just for the heck of it, and I hate the thought of staying at home, giving more than my all, for 20 years to then be at the end of the contact list. Hells bells on that. A lot of folks insist that won't happen, and I like to think that's true. For now, I'm relishing the extremely close -really, sometimes things feel terribly umbilical and I beg them, let's please have some space- relationships we share. The funny thing is how I actually feel like I ended up with the best of both worlds. Jack loves fashion and is such a sweet, sweet soul. He is everyone's friend and is gentle and kind. Last summer before school started, I asked if there were any clothes he needed, and he immediately replied, "yes! Seersucker shorts, a black safari hat, a black belt with a silver buckle, and a white button-down shirt." I tell you I was so thrilled that I bought him everything except the hat, simply because I couldn't find one. Oliver is definitely all boy- more rambunctious, less cautious but as dear and darling as can be.
I think about this sometimes when I see fraught mother-daughter relationships, laden with history and expectations, when I look at many teen girls today, what they wear, how totally unwholesome some of their "role models" appear. I think about how emotional and dramatic the teen years were for me and how insufferable us girls must have been at times. I ponder how much I've changed, how much tougher and less emotional I am now, and some piece of me wonders if I got what I was best suited to parent and nurture. I want my boys to be thoughtful, emotionally aware men who are confident in their masculinity and in the qualities they have that are too often ascribed to the feminine domain.
I'm going to have a glass of wine. What a whirlwind day!