We are thrilled to announce that we will be welcoming into our family another baby girl! Eliza had us all convinced it was a boy, so when the ultrasound tech said “girl,” Greg and I were both in a short but profound state of shock. I hadn’t really allowed myself to consider one option over the other but still, hearing that this babe is another girl, created a giddy yet panicky feeling inside of me. Greg quickly overcame his shock and settled into the idea of being a girl-only dad for at least the foreseeable future. I have always told him that more girls need a dad like him, with his innate kindness, warm-heartedness, and encouraging spirit. Now another little girl will be so lucky as to have a dad that will treat her with love and respect and that she should most definitely plan to duplicate someday for her own partner.
After hearing the news and sharing with our families, I started to contemplate our future with a house full of girls and that panicky feeling returned. I am beyond excited to get to reuse Eliza’s things and to have an excuse to buy more bows and cute clothes but along with raising these girls will come much more than just braiding hair and convincing them to go along with my wardrobe choices. Growing up, I only had a brother, although we were and are very close to my girl cousins. This brother-sister dynamic in a family is something that I understand and find predictable. My brother and I had different interests and different relationships with our parents. There was no hint of competition or comparison of us or those relationships because they were so different. Our relationship with each other, until very recently, was mostly me being an additional mother and him lovingly annoying me. The more I think about it, it is still like that, actually. So, learning that the life I am currently growing is another female threw me for a loop when considering my future relationship with my girls and their relationship with each other.
As a mother to girls, there is so much I want for them and so much that I know they will be looking to me for; guidance, self-love, purpose. This is a daunting but completely beautiful challenge. After being a mother for just two short years I have already learned that Eliza learns infinitely more from watching my every move and listening to my attitude and words than she ever does from my actually telling her something. Knowing this, has caused me to reconsider, or at least be aware of, the way I approach each day, my relationships and myself. I want these girls to be joyful and hopeful, to not inherit my sometimes negative and cynical outlook. It is not enough for me to just tell them to be joyful, I know that I need to live that way myself, that they need to see a strong female example of confidence, joy, compassion and perseverance in order for them to realize and value those attributes in themselves. I also want them to know that I accept them, that I love them both equally and uniquely. I am most anticipating watching them discover their unique selves with their own gifts and passions and helping them to cultivate those talents, whatever they may be.
Having never experienced a sisterly relationship, I also became anxious about what their relationship would look like. I, of course, went straight for caddy and competitive being in our future. I thought of one feeling bad because of the other’s beauty or popularity or success. I thought of one not feeling as loved or supported as the other. And then I talked to one of my girlfriends who only has sisters and she said, “but they are my best friends.” Immediately my anxiety melted away. What a wonderful thing for both of them to have! A best friend from the beginning and another girl to walk through life with, to ask advice of, to lift each other up and to be each other’s defenders. Their relationship will be such a gift to both of them and a joy for us to watch grow.
As I think about what the future has in store for our little family, well first I tear up, and then I become overwhelmed with gratitude. We are so incredibly lucky to be on this journey with each other and our soon-to-be two girls. Our life will be messy. I will forget about the example I am setting on numerous occasions. I will cuss too much and not allow myself enough grace. The girls will get annoyed with each other, and me. They will throw things and cry uncontrollably. Greg will be surrounding by so much estrogen he will have to have an eternal stock of whiskey and a big screen in the garage. But life will be full. There will be laughing and dancing, singing along to loud music and the constant shouting of “watch me!” There will be pony tails bouncing, shoes flung by the door and playing dress-up in mommy’s closet. There will be dinners around our family table, watching the stars on summer nights or the snow fall as Christmas approaches. There will be triumphs and then setbacks that make the triumphs that much more sweet. And through it all, so much happiness and the constant knowledge that we have been given the opportunity to contribute the absolute best parts of ourselves to the world; girls that will always lead with love, overcome fear, exude compassion and confidence, and bring joy. MEB
P.S. If anyone has any recommendations of good books about raising girls please send them my way! I’m going to need to soak them all up!