The mind is a funny thing. Even though my wife has now entered her third trimester, I still feel like we just found out we were pregnant again–this time with a boy. Before my daughter was born, it was so difficult to imagine another person living in our house, using all this new stuff we had purchased expressly for her and becoming a permanent member of our family.
Nevertheless, I spent the majority of that pregnancy being completely obsessed with the impending birth — checking in on the weekly progress of fetal development and her current fruit size, blogging about all the theoretical parenting issues I was prematurely grappling with, and generally immersing myself in the anticipation of fatherhood.
Now that we are a party of three and have a toddler running around who requires our constant attention — seemingly even more than when she was a helpless newborn — I have hardly had time to notice this current pregnancy, let alone reflect on the fact that I am a little more than two months away from embarking down a completely new path: becoming the father to a son.
That’s another cruel trick my mind has played on me. You’d think it would be easier to picture yourself having a baby after you’ve done it once. And if we were having another daughter, maybe that would be true. But a son? What’s it going to be like to have a son?
The irony here runs deep. As one of four boys — and with my youngest brother being born when I was 14 — I spent most of my life having no idea what it would be like to have a sister or a daughter. Before Maddie’s birth, I could not comprehend how it would be to raise a baby girl. Now I can’t seem to picture it any other way.
With the state of gender politics in the world today, it’s hard to decide if it will be more difficult to raise a boy or a girl, but now I get to try not to screw up one of each! Honestly, I think having a son and a daughter who are close in age could be an extremely helpful tool in that process. If I can teach them to understand, respect, love and protect one another, hopefully they will extend those courtesies to all members of the opposite sex.
That’s an easy sentence to write and a difficult sentence to live, but I cling to the hope that the strength of our family unit and the values I can try to instill in my children through example and habit will be stronger than the pressures, temptations and devolving moral compass of our society. I have a feeling that I’ll have a lot more thoughts (and blog posts?) on this as the years roll on.
For now, I’m making a point to take the time to visualize a life with my son in the same way that I did before my daughter was born. While these visions can never fully capture or predict the reality of another unique human being entering my life forever, the love, excitement and joy that they build up within me are transcendent.