It’s been over 2 years since I realized I was pregnant with Bee. And, although I knew I was having a child, it would still be over 3 months before I learned whether she would be a boy or a girl. 3 months of name planning with the hubby. 3 months of searching for two perfect cribs. 3 months of planning the bedroom theme for both a boy & a girl.
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Hubby & I had a bet. He bet Bee was a boy. I bet Bee was a girl. And the stakes were high! We almost never went out to eat, but winner got to pick a restaurant to celebrate at on the following Saturday.
The day of the ultrasound seemed to draw out. My appointment wasn’t until 4:15pm, over 12 hours after I woke up for work that morning!
I remember being so excited to finally leave work and head to the hospital. All I cared about was learning the gender! What were we having?
After that day, my baby would no longer be an “it”. “It” would be a he or a she.
Once we got to the hospital, we had to wait in the waiting room for about 15 minutes. Then we had to wait patiently for nearly two more hours while the new ultrasound tech in training struggled to complete a procedure that normally takes about 30 minutes.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the woman overseeing and training the newbie asked if we wanted to know the gender.
Hubby & I both replied with an urgent, “Yes!”
The more experienced technician took the wand from the new guy, rolled it around my belly for a couple seconds and stopped.
“Do you see that?” she asked.
This was my first child, I had no clue what I was looking at. I remember saying something to the extent of, “Uh, sure… yeah. I see something, I guess.”
She asked if we knew what it meant and we both just sort of gave her a confused look.
“You’re having a girl!”
Immediately I looked at my husband and began my verbal celebration. I won! I got to pick the restaurant! WOOT! In. Your. Face.!!!
In all honesty, I didn’t care whether our child was a boy or a girl. Hubby was the one who initiated the bet and he was the one who was really hoping our little Bee would be a little Max. After 5 miscarriages and 8 years without answers, I was simply happy to have a healthy baby, regardless of gender.
On the drive home from the hospital I started telling family members the gender of our unborn child. I texted my mom saying, “Your granddaughter weighs a whopping 9 ounces.” I sent very similar texts to my mother-in-law, my brother and my sister-in-law. I was so excited to finally have an answer! I now knew the name of the baby growing inside of me.
We got home & life went on. I showered, I made dinner, I watched some TV. Then I got on Pinterest.
I had created three boards when I found out I was pregnant. There was a general baby/parenting board, a board for Bee and a board for Max.
Max didn’t even exist, so I decided I needed to delete his board.
As I scrolled through the pins on his board. I just couldn’t bring myself to delete any of it! The rustic crib, the 8 different styles of rustic crib bedding that Hubby couldn’t decide on, the cute mounted stuffed animal heads… all the camo overalls and flannel onsies. We had big plans for Max. He was going to be a boy and treated as such.
As I sat at my computer staring at all of the little boy things, I began to feel a little sad. I looked over at Hubby and told him deleting the board felt like I was killing someone. Someone whom I’d never met and would never meet. Someone who didn’t even exist.
He laughed at me. Then he made fun of me.
My husband isn’t exactly the sensitive type and, honestly, I try to avoid wearing my emotions on my sleeve, too. His sarcasm and jokes snapped me out of that hormone induced emotional state & I, too, began to make fun of what I’d just said.
And there it was. With the click of a button, the idea of Max died. The football games, the baseball practices, fishing, hunting, catching frogs and snakes. The scraped up knees and broken bones. School suspensions, his first fight, his first girlfriend. His wife and the kids who would carry on our last name.
My little boy.
He had never existed and he never would.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that boys and girls are very different. And I believe they should be treated as different people. Boys should be raised as if they will one day be men and girls should be raised as if they will one day be women.
Call it closed minded, call it bigoted, I don’t care, but Max wouldn’t have been caught dead in a tutu whether he “believed” that’s what he wanted to wear or not (sorry, Jen Anderson Shattuck, but you’re only doing your son a disservice by teaching him it’s okay to dress up like a girl).
And yes, I’m still going to teach my daughter how to do some things that might be considered by some to be “boyish” & “manly”.
She will learn how to hunt, how to fish, how to clean an animal and how to skin it. She’ll also be taught how to cook what she kills and how to preserve it. She’ll know how to change a tire and handle basic maintenance and upkeep on a vehicle. Because in my mind, these aren’t things only men should know or activities they alone should take part in. These are skills that may, one day, come in very handy. These are skills that could save her life.
I don’t mean to sound like one of those “The End Is Near!” loonies, but if there is ever a time when we can no longer rely on the grocery store to supply us with our food, my daughter will know how to get food herself. And if she gets a flat tire in the middle of no where, she shouldn’t need to rely on a strange passerby to help her fix it.
Had Bee been born Max, he would have been expected to participate in boy activities. Football, baseball, wrestling. And you can bet your ass he wouldn’t have seen the inside of a dance studio or been allowed to try out for the high school cheer leading squad.
If he was a “naturally” sensitive & emotional person, well, he would have probably grown to hate his parents. He’d never own a single pink item, even if it was his favorite color. He would have been taught that only babies and girls cry. He would know that men are supposed to protect and provide for their families. He would have learned the term “woman’s work” from his father regarding anything related to cleaning or cooking. And he would have known that his mother thought very little of any man who openly expresses his emotions with tears.
Whether it took or not, we would raise him to be a man. The stereotypical, old school, most likely chauvinistic (by today’s standards) male.
A rare and dying breed.
A man who wouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what he believed in, to do whatever he needed to keep his family safe, fed and comfortable. The kind of man I would be proud to see my daughter marry.
Today, this type of man is hard to find.
It isn’t how people raise their sons anymore. I’ve been noticing it more and more recently. Moms who coddle their young boys. Moms who hug them and hold them and rock them when they smash a finger or stub a toe. Moms who treat their young men with the same empathy & sympathy that should only be shown towards girls.
And, unsurprisingly, as the number of soft moms seems to grow, as does the number of young “men” who are hurt by words, who need a safe place, and who believe in bullies.
It’s absolutely disturbing to see so many “men” who aren’t really men. I feel like one of the luckiest women in the world to have actually found a real, strong man. A man who I’ve never seen cry, a man who doesn’t share his “feelings” unless he has to, a man who wasn’t raised to believe in bullies. His parents did an amazing job of creating a real man and for that I am forever thankful.
Moms, please… for the sake of my daughter, for the sake of my future grandchildren, for the sake of America.
Do us all a favor and stop treating your sons like girls.
Stop turning them into women.
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