We call him "The Boy." Even the girls do it now.
After three beautiful baby girls, I never thought we'd have a boy. If you read back in my blog entries, you will find a post on my "gender disappointment" upon finding out we were having our third daughter, Ivey. Our crazy, wild, amazing Ivey-girl. We love her.
Still, it took some finesse, convincing my husband we could have one more. Just ONE. Four kids would be it, I promised. Still, Ivey was well past her 3rd birthday when we conceived. A four year gap wasn't what I'd had in mind, but having the girls smooshed into existence within a three-year time frame was busy. Very busy. And tiring.
And as much as I wanted him, a son, a boy for my husband, a brother for my daughters... AS MUCH AS I LONGED FOR IT... I knew there would always be something else, who knew what, that I would also want, that I would beg for, that I would be sure would make me truly happy. It's a horrible, but all too familiar cycle that we humans insist on putting ourselves through.
I didn't want to admit I could really think that way, but I knew it was true. And before we had or attempted to have our little fourth being, I knew I had to be okay with a girl. Not just okay, but ready, willing, wanting another girl. I would not go into this pregnancy like the last one. I would not allow myself to grieve a girl.
And so I prayed. Prayer is often not for the One we pray to, as much as it's a way for our own hearts to settle; a way for us to love Him and so love ourselves. A way for us to show willingness to be changed.
So I prayed that I would have a baby. Not a boy, or a girl, just a baby. God knew my heart. I could not deceive Him, even if I'd tried. And my wants changed.
I became grateful. I saw my girls, and the joy they brought, and the love they shared, and the differences they each brought to our world, and I knew I'd be happy with another. Another PERSON. People are mysterious, and amazing, and unique, and that God has allowed us to make them just blows my mind.
But this time, we had that boy. And you know what? He isn't the end-all. I'm not "complete" with him because he's a boy. I love him so much that it hurts -- because he's my baby.
And part of me is a little angry at the stranger in the grocery store for making that insightful, albeit thoughtless,
Although I know it's just a sideways congratulations, I always take a peek at my 7-year-old, just to make sure she's okay. I never, ever want my girls to think we had to just deal with them till we got a boy, or that we kept trying till we got what we really wanted all along. I want them each to understand how loved they are, all of them, Declan too. Not for being boys or girls, but for being our children.
And believe it or not, when I now see a newborn baby girl, I miss it. I miss my baby girls. They will always hold a special spot in my imperfect heart because it was those girls that made me this mom. My little loves. My gifts. And now my little bonus gift is here, and life is not complete or perfect, it just goes on. And parenting continues, and newborns steal our sleep, and frustrating days still come and threaten sanity.
But we are a family. And I like it here.