Ultrasound pictures from every appointment I’ve had so far hang from my memo board.
My Facebook inbox is filled with messages from moms looking to sell their double strollers.
My Google history has gradually changed from searches like “why is my toddler suddenly pooping in the bath” to “when should siblings share a room” and “what is a Finnish baby box”.
The big-eyed lady from the What to Expect app tells me I have 14 weeks and 4 days left to stop procrastinating and organize the closet already.
These are all indicators that a second addition is on the way, which still hasn’t sunk in despite Lucy’s kicks and squirms and my inability to carry on a conversation without burping. And not only is our family expanding, we’re switching it up. A girl is coming. Another girl will be in our house. My husband will say things like, “Hurry up, ladies” and whatever else a husband-dad says when there’s more than one female in his life. Even my laundry is telling me the obvious now that colors like lilac and pastel pink have intermingled with Elliott’s bold greens and blues.
A friend of mine asked me recently if I was excited about buying girl clothes, and before I could filter my thoughts, “no” left my lips. My honest answer took me aback as much as it did my friend who was most likely expecting a response filled with excited giggles and daydreams of hair bows. Being so honest, even if it was a surprise to me, gave me pause which has allowed me to reflect on my answer.
It’s not that I’m not thrilled to have a girl or wish I was having another boy. I’m truly, from the depths of my being, so happy we’re having a girl, and I’m beyond in love with this little bitty. I cannot wait for Elliott to have a little sister to love and play with and protect. And I am pretty pumped for her to own at least a few giant hair bows, if she’ll wear ’em.
But if I’m being real with you, then the truth of it is – I’m scared.
I thought my fear stemmed from being overwhelmed. I mean I’m about to have two under 2. I can barely keep up with my 19 month old as it is, and as Will and I were discussing this morning – we forgot what to do with a tiny baby! We took shifts or something, right? I remember there being a lot of poop. How often did he eat? Was it every 2 hours? I can’t remember. Oh no.
Yeah… little bit overwhelmed. That’s for sure true. But I think ultimately my fear boils down to two big questions:
What if she’s nothing like me?
In other words – what if I can’t relate to her?
A few days ago I met a couple while Elliott and I were out on a walk. Their little girl, soon to turn 5, was zonked out in her stroller while we talked. They asked me if I knew the gender, I told them I was having a girl, and their comments poured in upon hearing this news.
“You think you’re busy now, just wait.”
“Our daughter wants everything to be pink. Everything. If it’s not pink, she doesn’t want it.”
They had a lot of input to give but I couldn’t really hear anything due to my own thoughts whirling around. I think hearing the word “pink” so many times is what caught me off guard. I wasn’t much of a girly girl in my childhood, from what I remember. There are indeed pictures of me playing dress up in tutus and I remember begging for barbies when Christmas or my birthday rolled around. But I also remember being the only girl who was invited to an all-boy party because I played Power Rangers on the playground instead of “Save the Princess from the Bad Guy Part XXI”. Once I remember being furious with my mom because she sent me to school in a new pink dress with matching pink shoes which I knew would greatly reduce my ability to play baseball at recess. There were girly things I liked, but there was also a lot I didn’t like or understand about being a girl which is most likely why I had more boy friends than girl friends. I even quit Girl Scouts because it felt like all we did was make cards and crafts while my brother and boy friends in Boy Scouts were canoeing and spelunking, and I wanted so badly to do those things too. For most of my childhood, it was legos over barbies; ninjas over animals.
So – what if she’s all frills and tea parties, and I don’t get it?
What if she’s everything like me?
Back in March, Will, Elliott and I had the pleasure of visiting my parents back in the States. During our stay, I was tasked with going through a giant box of my belongings from kindergarten all the way to my senior year of high school. (I did take pictures of my best finds which will be shown to you in a separate post so get excited.) I pulled out colorful artwork and embarrassing school photos, hilarious poems and hideous journal entries. It was admittedly fun to see my life reveal itself in this way through markers and chipped paint until I came across a ziplock bag filled to the brim with notes. The fun took a bit of a nosedive after that. I read notes I’d written where I was gossipy and mean. I read notes written to me that were equally so. Some notes were about breakups I endured – the kind where your teenage heart is convinced you’ll never “love” again. And then I came across notes I just didn’t want to read, like the ones I received during my senior year when my best friend and I parted ways. Or the one that was written to me in response to a grade-wide incident of which I was falsely accused; an accusation that was so blown out of proportion, the school faculty had campus security watch my car so my tires wouldn’t be slashed. You can bet I recycled every bit of that piece of paper.
So – what if her teenage years are exactly like mine, and it’s too hard to do over?
When I found out I was pregnant with Lucy and morning sickness set in with no intention of leaving, I searched Netflix for a show I could both put up with and not feel horribly guilty showing to Elliott over and over while I laid on the couch with a bowl in my arms. The heavens smiled upon me and gave me Mister Rogers, whose words are now helping to ease my anxieties about having a daughter. In many of his moving episodes, he says:
“You are a very special person. There is only one like you in the whole world. There’s never been anyone exactly like you before, and there will never be again. Only you. And people can like you exactly as you are.”
― Fred Rogers
So – Lucy is going to be Lucy, not Holly. I may be peppered in here and there, but ultimately she’ll be herself, and it’s my job to love her exactly as she is. My personality, my experiences, my weaknesses, my likes and dislikes – those don’t define the Lucy that is to come. She’ll have her own personality, her own high school woes. She’ll define herself, and I have the gift of holding her, playing with her, talking with her, listening to her, and standing by her as she does.