Now that the whole world (including my next door neighbor!) knows I’m pregnant, everyone keeps asking me the same thing – do I want the next one to be a boy or a girl?
And of course, because it’s me, I can’t answer that question with a simple yes or no.
Before Eli was born, I really really really really wanted a girl. And I wanted a girl until the minute he was placed in my arms, and then of course as I have stated one hundred million times since then, I wouldn’t trade him for all the girls in all the world. I mean, honestly, I couldn’t care less – he could be a girl, a boy, an iguana, or Stuart C. Little, he’s my Eli. He’s not what I had cooked up ahead of time as what I wanted, but luckily, someone else is in charge, because he’s what I got, and man, he’s so so so so much better than what I thought I wanted.
The best way I have ever been to able to describe it is that sometimes I look down at this little blond creature lurking around my knees and I think “Oh. You. Yes! It’s YOU. If I had known you were going to be YOU, I wouldn’t have worried at all.”
So this next time. I don’t know. If I have a boy, I will be thrilled, because it will be a brother that Eli can drink too much beer with some day and who can give him a scar over his eyebrow and I have a perfect boy name picked out and because when I think about NOT having a boy, not having another gummy toothed chicken legged snicklefritz, I feel sad. Plus I already have all the clothes.
But oh, a girl. I am not sure how to say this, but I just…I think of not EVER having a girl and that feels impossible. It doesn’t have to be NOW, but some day I want to buy EVERYTHING in the little girls department of Target and make pinafores and take a little girl to the Nutcracker in a new Christmas dress. I want to share Anne Shirley and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frankie Landau Banks with my daughter and I’m sure this is some kind of horrible thing to say but I just can’t see Eli curled up with Rilla of Ingleside, you know? So. It doesn’t have to be NOW, but some day. Because I just can’t imagine not having a girl ever.
So if this is a girl, it kind of takes the pressure off. I don’t have to HAVE a third kid, a third kid can be like, optional or a fun accident or whatever!
And I won’t lie, I think it’s a girl. Even though I have a bad track record in this particular area, it feels like a girl. When I talk to the baby, I talk to her, and I call her K Dub, and I remind her that I am totally not going to let her wear any makeup until she’s at least sixteen as revenge for this terrible morning sickness. (although to be fair Eli is totally not allowed to wear any makeup until he’s sixteen either.)
I just have this vision. A vision of five or six years down the road, on a hot summer day somewhere in the great state of Vermont, of a skinny girl in a faded one piece yellow swimsuit, standing on the dock of a lake with a strap hanging off of one bony shoulder. She’s turned half way away from me, this girl with Mr. E’s dark hair and blue eyes, and I can see one drip of water slipping off one dark wet flip of hair, and I know that she is my daughter.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to let go of that girl, even if she’s not mine to know in this life.
I think I kind of just said I want both. Did I say that? It’s so true. I want a girl AND I want a boy. But since I am fairly certain I am not having twins, I’ll just say that it makes no sense and it isn’t really fair of me to say this since I am getting a BABY out of it either way, but I think whatever I’m having, I’ll have to say goodbye to a some one, a dream, one way or another. And I think I’ll be really sad – there is real loss there. Whether you are saying goodbye to skinny boy chicken legs and JKF Jr. rompers, or saying goodbye to pigtails and pink ribbons, it’s loss. It’s still goodbye.
And I hope to remind myself of Eli – of how I look down at him and know that he is just who he was meant to be, just who I need, just as he is. That what I wanted had very little to do with it. That it’s just his Eli ness, really, that matters, not the dresses or the rompers or what books he’ll love, or any of that.
And also? I really can’t wait to meet you, whoever you are.
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