Yesterday as I was swiping a finger across my laptop's trackpad, the notepad on the dashboard popped up on my screen with the list of girl names I had been keeping around for inspiration. None of the names were “the” choice, but they were names I'd heard that made me pause, so I wrote them down, in hopes that either they would become The One, or would prod The One to show itself front and center. I looked at the list for a minute, and then went to delete them. But I couldn't do it.
The thing is, I think I'm sad. It feels unexpected, this melancholy. I can say without hesitation that I felt absolutely neutral going in to the 12-week ultrasound about the gender of this kid. In fact, if anything, I probably leaned a little tiny bit toward boy, only because that was just always how I thought things would shake out. (When I was younger, I thought I would have only boys.) So when the ultrasonographer said “girl,” I didn't have a “Yay!” moment, or a “No!” moment, just a “Oh!” moment. And then I started planning.
See, I think that's where I ran into trouble. This is the way I work: Every morning when I wake up, I think of the thing I'm most looking forward to that day. It could be anything—coffee on the way to work, lunch with a friend, my bed at night (this happens the most during pregnancy, I think), whatever. It's like the gas in my motor (uh, that's how motors run, right?) or the spark for my fire. I think anticipation is really important to me—knowing something specific that's on its way and conjuring up all the ways in which that thing will make me happy. So after that 12 week appointment, I got to conjuring. And boy howdy, did I conjure up a lot.
Rosie has turned my feelings about being a mom to a girl right on their head. I had no idea what to expect when she came along, and frankly, I was terrified. I didn't think I would be very good at it. I mean, who knew anything about girls? Not me. Would I even like what girls liked? What if she wasn't anything like me? What if she was exactly like me? I kind of freaked out, I'm not going to lie. There were tears on her ultrasound day, and man, if that won't just ratchet up your mom guilt quotient a good thousand percent or so. But then she came out, and was Rosie. Not just some girl, but the best girl. My girl.
Getting to know her has been one of the best things ever to happen in my life, and I think that has something to do with my excitement about another girl on the way. I'd get to do it all over again, but this time without so much of the fear and trepidation. Just pure excitement.
So when there was more to be seen (if you know what I mean) than we anticipated last Wednesday, my initial gut reaction was a little bit of a “Oh no!” like the feeling you get when you raise a glass to your lips expecting to sip some sweet tea and instead get a swig of orange juice. You like orange juice, it's just not the taste you were expecting.
Understand: I am not disappointed that this baby is a boy. I just need time to shift my brain a little, prod it around to THERE'S A BOY IN THERE and get those good juju vibes aconjurin'. I know they'll come. Waiting for Noah was one of the best periods of my whole life. I couldn't wait to meet my boy, and when I did, I loved him automatically and feverishly, like someone struck down with an incurable malady. (I've never gotten over it, really.) With Rosie, though, it was like a slow and steady fire. She was born, and I felt like I didn't know her. But little by little she peeled away my fears until I was left bare and wholly hers. And now, of course, I join in all the cliched statements from soap operas and country songs across the nation: I can't imagine this life without her.
So there you have it. I would have loved to have another girl in this family. Go figure. If I could have told myself of three and a half years ago how things would shake out, we would have had a good laugh together over a (non-alcoholic because we're both pregnant) beer about it. And now, after I put away all the girls' clothes and hats with pink bows, I'll move on to the boy section of the baby name books and start stockpiling the list of things I'm looking forward to about having a baby boy.
I think there are going to be right many. For all of us.