As Clay Brizendine anticipates the birth of his third daughter, he questions why society keeps expecting him to want a boy.
Society does a lot of things to us. Sometimes things are very easily seen and need no explanation, but others are more stealthy and don’t go noticed until they happen. This is one of those moments for me.
I am a father of two girls, and after a miscarriage late last year that took our family a while to recover from, I am excited to share that we’re expecting our third daughter in December!
Apparently, and written somewhere in stone, is a rule that as a man and dad, I’m supposed to want a boy. He’ll carry on my name. He’ll play sports with me. We’ll bond over things like fishing and electronics and cars and women. I’ll have someone else in the house who ‘understands’ me and can know what it’s like.
But I have to ask—why do any of those things have to be with a boy? Why can’t I do that with my daughters? That doesn’t mean that I have to raise them as boys either. It means nothing more than exposing them to varied things to see what they like and then fostering those they show an interest in.
If my girls know about boys and cars and sports, then they’ll be the coolest kids on the block. If they want to carry on with my current last name, there’s nothing in the law that prohibits them from doing that. I can teach them what the axles on my car do, how the internet works, and what a 2-seam fastball looks and feels like just like I could a son.
And you know what? I grow from all of this as much as they do! I’m also exposed to dance recitals and cheerleading and getting tangles out of wet hair after a shower. I get to learn more about societal influences than ever before. I get to share in the Daughter/Dad relationship, one that comes with unbridled love, emotion, and communication that I never expected.
I don’t have a son, and so naturally it’s hard for me to compare the two; I’m sure plenty of you out there with both can tell me the ups and downs of having both genders as children. And I have to say that I would have been just as excited if this were a boy. It sounds trite, but after having one child who spent time in the hospital after she was born because she wouldn’t eat, and miscarrying with another, I just want this baby healthy. But I can’t say that I feel like I’m missing out on anything… that somehow my life isn’t whole because I don’t have a boy. The only part that’s missing is from the miscarriage.
My wife says all the time that she was given girls for a reason. And I think the same thing for me. The world needs great and wonderful PEOPLE, and I’m hoping that in some way I can contribute to that with all my daughters.
—photo by flickr/basheertome