On Not Knowing.

I like being a mother to boys.

I like watching them, the way they laugh, carry themselves, the way they stand.

The way they eat with abandon.

Run with purpose.

Communicate with abbreviation.

As much as I like having boys, I confess to not knowing how to raise them.

They are completely foreign territory- a different landscape of possibility.

And it kinda’ scares me.


I grew up in a house full of girls. Like, really full. As in 5. (Melinda-Katie-Betsy-Colleen-Kara)

Sans brothers. None. Zilch. Zero. Zip.

So I have not even a small inkling on how to do this.

And sometimes I make mistakes.

I don’t like that part.


Know what’s funny? Paul grew up in a house full of boys. Like, really full. As in 4. (Peter-Paul-Robert-Russell)

Sans sisters. None. Zilch. Zero. Zip.

So he has not even a small inkling on how to raise a girl.

However, he makes less mistakes.

We come at this parenting thing from sliiiiightly different angles.

(We’ll be sure to let you know how it all works out in the end.)


See, not having had brothers, I, being the middle child, thought life would be so much better if I did have one.

I was wrong, of course. ‘Can’t imagine life any differently; can’t imagine any day without my 4 sisters.

But you know what? I have some good friends who grew up with the gift of a brother. And from them, I hear that brothers are pretty spiffy, too.

I like boys.

I like learning new things and watching them grow and seeing how they view the world.

I even like feeling a little bewildered at times.

I like uncharted territory. Even if it is a little scary.


I remember people saying things to me things like, “I hope you get your girl one day!” or, “Waiting for a little daughter?”

I never really got it. I would look at them blankly, not really understanding. Sure, a girl would be nice. Um, but so would a boy, you see? It’s probably because my parents never- not even once- made us girls feel like they were ever ‘hoping for a boy.’ My Dad made us feel like we were all he ever wanted. My Mom went through our teenage years loving the opportunity of having 5 girls. (Yes, you did read that correctly.)

Similarly, I watch Paul’s mom and see the joy she receives from being with her boys, laughing at their antics, listening to them talk about trucks and gears and rod knocks. And every time, she smiles and has a (slightly bewildered) light in her eyes that shows just how nice it is to raise sons. She loves her boys.

Now, I already knew from my own childhood experience, that girls are fun. Full of words and emotion. Girls are the known for me, the natural, the easy part. I already knew that it would be nice to have a daughter. And it is.

And though part of the unknown, I also thought that it might be nice to have sons.


It is.

(Yes, that’s Nora’s mitt in Connor’s hand. And he doesn’t care in the slightest that it’s pink. I asked him if it was okay to blog these photos, because he was using a girl’s mitt. He looked at me blankly, said, ‘Huh? Why? I don’t care. It works.’ Yes, it does, my boy.)

March 3, 2011 - 8:55 am

r - Spring Fever………. playing baseball in the snow :)

March 3, 2011 - 10:22 am

Vicki - I love this post–especially Conner’s response!

March 3, 2011 - 10:38 am

Jenna - This was beautiful. Thank you for writing this so eloquently. I’m from a family of three girls, my husband is the oldest of five boys. We have one son and I just know when we have a 2nd child people will make lots of comments. A child is a gift, regardless of the sex. Thanks for writing.

March 3, 2011 - 10:46 pm

Shara - Ah – thank you for addressing one of my pet peeves. Aren’t we just supposed to love our children? Male or female should be irrelevant. Alas some people just don’t get it. :(

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