I never thought my first child would be a girl. I often dreamed of having a bouncing baby boy, one who I could call “son” and chase around the house as he mischievously ran around in his diaper. I thought that if I had a boy first, my second would be a girl. It would be the perfect family, my daughter having a big brother, and my son being a “mommy’s boy”. I had it all planned.
What I learned (and I guess I knew all along because I am not irrational) is that we have no say in the gender of our babies, regardless of our plans. Duh.
So, when the ultrasound tech, in her thick Eastern European accent, said “you’re having a girl”, and I said “really, how do you know”, and she said “because there is no penis”, I was sent into a mystical fog of pink. For the first three seconds, I was shocked. At the fourth second, I became smitten and terrified.
You see, I have never been a super girly-girl. I have never really liked shopping. I know what I am going for; I go in and get out as quickly as possible. I am not a huge fan of dresses, although I do enjoy cooking and baking, as well as having manicured nails and good hair. I’m not a huge fan of gossip (although we all do it without meaning to). But this all leads me to my next question: why does any of this matter?
The answer is that it doesn’t. Whether you enjoy being in the kitchen or in the garage does not make you male or female. I am a woman because of how I was born, not because of what I do. I know how to change the oil in my car, and I also know how to make the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. I can use tools to put furniture together just as well as I can use hair-styling tools to create a beautiful beachy-wave look. None of it matters, and this is the conclusion I came to when my daughter was born.
I had spent so many hours worrying about how I was going to raise a little girl. However, when she arrived, everything started clicking into place and it became as easy as breathing. She is the light of my life and the way I am going to raise her is as follows:
I am going to let her know how much I love her, every day. She will never have to second-guess if she comes first or not because she absolutely does.
I am going to let her choose what she wants to play with and what she wants to wear. If my little one wants to wear a t-shirt with sparkly unicorns on it or with monster trucks, it does not matter to me. If she chooses to play with Transformers instead of Barbies, that’s okay. She can play with both. That’s fine too! Play is play.
If for extracurricular activities she chooses to play hockey instead of taking ballet classes, perfect! She can partake in whatever activity she wants as long as it will be fun for her, and help her to build her character.
I will never limit her and the dreams she has. She can aspire to be whoever she wants. I will not tell her to be a teacher or a nurse because those two paths are typically what women choose. But, if she chooses to be a teacher because she loves children and loves guiding, then I support her 100%.
I will always be there for her. Always. This does not need any further clarification.
I will teach her how to be a good person. I want her to be the girl in school who invites the “nerd” to have lunch with her. I do not want her to be one of the mean girls. I will show her that every single person on this planet is of value, regardless of shape, size, gender, colour, race, or economic background.
I will remind her that we all make mistakes. Kids are really hard on themselves sometimes and this hinders growth. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves and move forward.
I am going to teach her to defend herself. I do not just mean physically (although she will need to know these skills as well). I want her to be able to say “no”, but I also want her to be able to fight for her beliefs and not be afraid to speak up when necessary. I do not want her to be so quiet that she is never heard. I was the quiet little girl and I missed out on lots because of it.
I will show my daughter that it is okay to feel. It’s okay to feel so happy that you want to dance, or so sad that you just need to close your door and have a little cry. Emotions are valid, and they are healthy. They promote personal growth.
Lastly, I am going to tell her every day that I am proud of her. Children need positive reinforcement.
After going through my list, I came to one conclusion. I would raise my boy the exact same way. All children are miracles. I hope to one day be blessed with a son, but if I am given another daughter, so be it. I look forward to seeing what my kids will teach me because I am already learning so much from my baby girl. I am learning about how humans develop and grow, but I am also learning about who I am as a person. Thanks to her, I am discovering strengths I didn’t even know I had. Thanks, to the love of my daughter.