Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Celebrating New Life


It's been a nice, slow morning.  Blaine was cheerfully up and at'em by the time I complied with my snooze alarm and peeled out of bed.  I fixed him a ham and egg sandwich on an english muffie while he squealed about his field trip this afternoon.  I sent him running out to his ride, thankful for his good night's sleep and pleasant demeanor.

Carter was crying for me now, so I scooped him out of his crib and into my bed with a bottle.  We snuggled and played and and called my mom so he could yell 'HI-YAH!' into the speaker phone.  I put him on the floor and let him make mischief out of the books and magazines on my bedside table while I lay still with my hands on my belly.  I closed my eyes and tried to feel the baby move.  Still nothing.  It's still a little early for me.  I wondered about the little human swimming around in there and marveled that I've gotten to carry four babies in my womb.

It wasn't until I'd gotten out of bed, changed Carter, started on the laundry, and laid out my  new bathmat that Roger finally emerged, his cheeks rosy, his blonde hair poky, and his smile large as I congratulated him on staying in his own bed all night. 

I sat down on the stairs for a minute.  Carter, diaper clad, came and buried his smiling face in my lap.  Rog ran to the step above me and threw his arms around me, nuzzling his face into my neck.  There I sat, in a little boy sandwich.  I knew nothing could ever feel more rewarding than that.  I thought back to the moments in bed this morning, trying to guess if my little womb-dweller is a boy or girl.  And it just didn't matter.

I have evolved.

I've thought about gender a lot over the last couple of months.  I've thought about why I'd love to have a daughter.  I've thought about why I'd love to have another son.  I've thought about why I get panicky every time I have to tell someone "it's another boy!"  Some reactions are sweet: "Wow, you're almost up to a whole basketball team!" or "What an army of missionaries you are going to raise!"  Some baffle me: "Wow, there's probably going to be a huge war..."  Some, though well intended, tend to irk me: "Well, you're lucky.  You don't want a girl.  Girls are so dramatic."  (Apparently those people have spent little time around my eldest son.)  And some make me sad: "Oh, Anne!  Are you OK?" (Why wouldn't I be?)

In some ways I'm sure I caused that particular conundrum myself. After all, when the ultrasound revealed that Roger was a boy 4 1/2 years ago, I admitted to this very audience that I cried. And I'm always saying things about how fun it would be to have a daughter. (What mother doesn't want a daughter?)  And with number 3, I planned on a boy so I wouldn't 'be disappointed.'

This time is different because I finally understand an important distinction...*

So I want to clear some things up.

First. Here is why I hope to one day have a daughter:

I would love to have a little girl to dress just the way I like. I'd stick little bows on her bald head and make barrettes for her when she has a little blonde bob (this is all hypothetical, so I'm allowed to picture her as a mini me). I'd make her room as cute as could be. I'd probably buy her an American Girl doll and hope to high heaven she wants to take Ballet like I did.

But if I never have a daughter, I won't be devastated about missing out on any of that stuff, sweet as it is. If one day Taylor and I decide we're done, and we find ourselves with only strapping, handsome, wonderful sons, I might be bummed about a few things. Like not having someone to take shopping when all of the boys go to the Priesthood session of our church's General Conference and Thai food afterwards (as per family tradition). And not getting to help my daughter plan her wedding. And not getting to be on the mother end of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship, having experienced how wonderful the daughter end is. Those are the things that would make me sad for a bit.

But even now, I'm increasingly content that that could be my reality one day.

For several reasons:
1. I have beautiful nieces, who I'm sure will let me curl their hair for prom and take them shopping and even help plan weddings and be in the brides' room of the temple to help them feel beautiful.  I have eight amazing nieces, and that would be enough.  I used to not believe that, but now I do.

2. One day I will have several daughters-in-law, and, if my relationship with my m-i-l is any indication, those will be amazing, close, glorious, understanding, feeling relationships.  I used to not believe that would be enough, but now I do.

3. I have talked to God about this a lot.  I told him I'd like to have a daughter, and I know He heard me.  I know that because He's heard and answered prayers my whole life.  I also told Him that I want what His will is for me.  You don't always get what you want, you know.  And doing His will is enough for me.

4. I LOVE my sons!

*So here's the conclusion, and the distinction I referred to earlier:
In 12 days Taylor and I are going to walk out of an ultrasound and start sending out texts and emails and facebook statuses and a blog post with the news of our new baby.  We pray it will be healthy and perfect, but even if it isn't, we hope you'll celebrate a new soul with us.  It might be a girl, in which case we hope you'll celebrate a new soul with us.  And it might be a boy, in which case we hope you'll celebrate a new soul with us.  Because, here's the big epiphany: Not having a daughter and having a son are two totally separate things

Interestingly enough, I started this post this morning, and am just now finishing it after the children have finally gone to bed.  In the interim, I felt my baby for the first time today.  Waiting for the left turn signal into the mall, there it was.  Nudge, nudge.

Let the celebrating begin.



Jessica said...

Just read this and I totally know what you feel. I'll have to re-read it when I'm having #4! That's a great epiphany to have. I always tell Kallie she has to be my little girl too!

lori said...

loved this, Friend. You are a wise woman and a wonderful mother. Can't wait for news about your new little soul! He/she will be lucky to be your son/daughter!

Barb said...

I have two boys and I have already felt this same peace you describe. I am not close to being ready for #3, but I have a calm feeling about being the mother of only boys. It would be a joy! I loved this post- beautifully written.

families are forever said...

I love when you first feel the baby move, so exciting, plus some of the nausea seems to stop! Celebrate!!!

Sunshine Girl said...

I am just so excited for you and your little family! I think you are all so wonderful! Who wouldn't want a Mom like you?

Vicky said...

Loved this post, Anne. You are always inspiring to me.

I never yearned for a girl, but now that I have one people are constantly saying to me "Aww, you finally got your girl!" As if my boys weren't enough. Bugs the heck out of me! But I also love having a daughter more than I ever thought I could/would.

Your kids are lucky to have you!

Katie said...

A healthy baby is the biggest blessing on this earth! It helps that you and Taylor make particularly adorable ones. Heavenly Father knows just what He's about!

Congratulations all around!

Marlo said...

Anne, you made me tear up when the baby moved at the end of your post. I love this post. This is something I think about often, having three little girls of my own. I always thought I would have sons, and frankly never thought that much about daughters. That being said, I love love love my girls. And all I really ever want each time is for a healthy baby I can squeeze. So let's celebrate. I'll be thinking of you.

Marlo said...

And can I put in a request for some arranged marriages with some of those blondies? Then when you ar the cool MIL you take me shopping too. Win win win, as Michael Scott would say.

emily said...

oh, this is so beautifully written. i've loved reading every word! rejoicing with you in new life ... in the gift of carrying precious babes in our wombs.
beautifully, exciting times!

Sugar... said...

I love it, Anne! I had Halle first, and then finding out with this one that it is our fourth boy in a row, I will admit that I totally cried. I didn't cry because I was sad about having a boy...I cried for Halle. I wanted her to have a sister, a pal, and a girly confidant. I cried for a few moments and then I was so happy! Happy to see a healthy baby, happy to have another little Cole, William, or Andrew, because heaven knows I LOVE those boys. :)

And I totally know what you mean about people making sad comments. My least favorite is when people take a look at my family and say in a reassuring tone, "Well, at least you got your girl!" It makes me mad that they say it in front of my boys as if they are second rate, and then the fact that it implies that you can't live a beautiful life unless you have a daughter. Ridiculous!!

I wish you guys the best, and hope you see a clear image of a thriving baby...boy or girl. ;) You are awesome!

Jodi & Dan said...

Geez, Anne, thanks for making me cry! You are as amazing as ever. I loved reading that. Being a mother is a joy!!

jayniemoon said...


Valerie Holbo said...

After having 3 girls and one boy, and watching my firstborn daughter cross back over the veil in her infancy, the only thing I that I'd had more. Celebrate each one! They are all unique, and motherhood is the greatest gift of all.

Kate said...

you are one lucky mama! your boys are so darling! charlie is still talking about roger. he seriously loved him. play date when i come to oregon? and can i say again that i loved seeing you?

i love your insight on this whole topic. this whole thing clicked in my mind when you and sarah were standing in front of me and it hit me (yet again) that, yes, people actually do get pregnant (duh, right) and then you said you feel the same way about girl babies. people are actually successful at having them :) haha!

love you to pieces and can't wait to hear the amazing news! bottom line, you get to have a new baby to snuggle by the fall! jealous!

tyler + nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki Douglas said...

Beautiful thoughts, Anne. Thanks for not giving up the post even though you couldn't write it all in one sitting. Inspiration for me.
And congrats on #4!

I, too, find so much comfort in life knowing that EVERYTHING is as it should be. It doesn't matter what happens...God never chooses the second-best way, He always sends the best way to be the best me.