It was in Walmart when it happened...........because EVERY good story happens in Walmart. (Remember this story.) It was one of those rare days when all three boys were home, and apparently bored, so they decided to accompany me on my shopping trip.
We were in the cleaning supplies aisle, when I first heard her voice. "Three boys, huh? Awwww".
It was the "Awwww" that caught me off guard. As a seasoned mom of 3 boys, I knew immediately where this conversation was headed. Usually I just laugh and smile, and if I'm feeling particularly salty, before they can say it themselves, I tell them how full my hands are. I turned to see a mom, who looked relatively close to my age, but her boy/girl twins were far younger than my own children.
I laughed and said, "Yup, three boys". I had to bite my tongue from adding a smarmy remark like, "I really should be stocking up on bleach. You'd be amazed how often they still miss the toilet". I don't think she would have appreciated my humor, since it looked like her kids were still in diapers.
I turned my attention back to the shampoo, realizing that it was probably time to pick up some more hair dye.
"But you won't get to go to dance classes, or Girl Scouts. Don't you just want one more and hope it's a girl?"
I completely understand that 85% of these comments come from well meaning places. I'm a girl, and therefore I must want more like me! Girls are the best, I should know because I am one. What could I possibly have in common with a hairy little beast who will one day just leave me for another woman.
In my experience, these comments usually come from mothers with young girls. Rarely have I ever met another mom of all boys ever say to me, "I wish one of them had been a girl"; even as a joke.
I've learned that mothers of all boys are a special kind of crazy, and I am honored to be part of a club full of Lego towers, Nerf wars, and bathrooms that will always smell like the NYC subway -- and I get it! We're kind of like an enigma. As women, why wouldn't we want to raise someone with whom we could braid their hair, and paint their nails, and sit through 8 hours of dance recitals on Saturdays with?
Allow me to let you in on a little secret. My identity isn't suddenly lost on me because I'm the mother of all boys. I'm not any less "girl" because I'm not raising a daughter, and as far as I know, a little piece of me hasn't died because I can't braid my sons' hair, or paint their nail,s or go shopping with them for a prom dress.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel like I'm missing out on ANYTHING when it comes to being a mother, solely because I'm a mother to only boys.....and you shouldn't either. I promise you that these three boys bring me more joy than I ever though imaginable, and mothering them, in all their testosterone-fueled glory, is right where I'm supposed to be.
Do I tell her that when my third and final baby was a boy that of course I felt a twinge of sadness and mourned right then and there the fact that I would never experience that wonderful mother/daughter bond that I have with my own mother; the one that has brought me so much joy -- or is that a silly conversation to have here among the shampoo and conditioner.
I wasn't sure if I should excuse myself and pretend I didn't hear her, or if maybe I should tell her that there are so many other things that I will get to enjoy as a mother of all boys. Or maybe I should just turn and bolt, because that wouldn't be at all awkward, right?
"My mom is already the best girl there is."
And from another;
"Our family is perfect the way it is."
And finally --
"Moms got her hands full as it is. She'd go crazy with another kid".
I have NEVER been more proud of my three boys than I was in that exact moment. You know, I worry a lot about what they are hearing when someone says "You know, it's still not too late to try for a girl". It hurts my heart to think that they'll internalize that, and feel as if they're not enough. As if I could ever wish them to be anyone other than who they are. As if their parts, or lack thereof makes a lick of difference to me.
It was in that exact moment that I realize I couldn't have said it any better myself.
I laughed. "Nope. These three right here are more than enough for me", I said with a smile, and as I turn to walk away, my 12 year old stops me in my tracks, gives me a high five and says "How's that for being on team mom"?
No, my friends, I'm not missing out on a thing.