A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a garage sale paradise. The sale belonged to a woman who spent more money in the last few years at Gymboree than I've probably spent on clothes for myself in my entire lifetime. Seriously. It looked like a Gymboree store had thrown up on her driveway. Even better, the majority of the clothes were in Elena's size.
As much as I could go on and on about garage sales and my love of Gymboree, that's not at all what this is about. It's about boys.
As I was paying for my mountain of clothes, I made a comment about how even though I had scored some serious deals, I wish she had boys stuff, too. She looked at me in total seriousness, and with disdain for all things testosterone dripping from her voice she said:
"Yes, but that would mean I would have a boy."
I'm a calm, peaceful, and in most cases, non-judgmental person. It took every fiber of my being not to lean across that flimsy card table and smack that woman.
If you had asked me when I was pregnant the second time around what sex I was hoping the baby would be, I would have honestly told you I didn't care. I would have also told you that I would be more at ease with a girl. I knew girls. I knew how to change a girl's diaper. I knew that they weren't all sugar and spice and everything nice and I liked that. I knew that my girl could be prissy and dressed up in glitter and tulle one day, and the very next day be dressed in smelly hockey gear and dreaming of the day she could check someone into the boards.
I didn't know boys. I mean, I know my husband and all, but most days he's still a mystery to me. The thought of having a little boy in our home that was all about crashing!banging!destroying! scared me a little. The thought of having a little boy in the house that was the exact opposite of that (i.e. a mini me) scared me, too. Do men have this same feeling at the thought of fathering little girls?
But still, with all my apprehension about boys, I was never vehemently against having one. This lady gave the me feeling she would have sent him back, in hopes of getting an exchange for something that fit into those cute Gymboree frocks.
I never asked for my boy, but I give thanks for him every day. Yes, he is every bit the boy that this woman (and myself) was a bit unsure of. He is snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. He sees the tiniest of bugs and squats down low, demanding that you take notice as well. He sees the tiniest of planes high up in the sky, points and shouts, demanding that you care about such things.
He hears train whistles and sirens and stops dead in his tracks. We have books about tools. We have even more books about trucks. I read stories about garbage trucks, school buses and backhoe loaders. For pete's sake, I can know distinguish between a skid steer, an excavator, and a backhoe. I drive across town and pay $5 so my son can touch a fire truck.
But here is what that woman couldn't possible have known. Just like with girls, you get some of those expected behaviors that come with each gender. Then you get the other part of them, the part of their personality that is their essence, that has nothing to do with gender. It's not boy, it's not girl, it's your baby. And it's awesome.
All that boy stuff that she was so happy to be without? Yeah, it's there. It's dirtier. The clothes aren't nearly as cute. But there's also this:
Who wouldn't want a little slice of that?