We are two weeks into school, and while I am missing the fun of having my boys at home, I am loving the flood of "girl-time" I am enjoying with my daughter.
What is it about having a girl that is so different? We communicate differently, we play differently, she (obviously) dresses differently. I relate to her in an entirely different way than I do with my boys. Maybe the difference is me.
I remember feeling like I was having a girl when my daughter was not yet born. My husband and I had made the conscious decision not to find out the baby's gender. We hadn't with any of our children. And with the earlier two, I never had a clear feeling of what the child was. This time was different. Although I didn't share it, when I thought about the baby or talked to the baby, it was always a "she".
On the day we went to the hospital, even our doula said, "You know, I have a feeling this one will be a girl." Nancy, our delivery nurse said the same thing. I just smiled, telling them we would soon find out, wouldn't we?
Sure enough, it was my beautiful daughter, and I cried. I was completely unprepared for the flood of feelings I would have about this new little life, this girl.
I had always been a little afraid of raising a girl. Boys, I told everyone, are so easy. They are straightforward. They are fun. I had the impression that girls were temperamental, over-emotional, and tough to raise. After all, I was one. (And from what my mother has told me, I wasn't exactly pleasant to raise. Yes, the truth hurts -- especially from your own mother.)
But once I had my own delicate, tiny daughter in my arms, I didn't care about tantrums and stubbornness and drama. She just was so overpoweringly beautiful.
I still gaze at her in wonder when she's not paying attention and ponder the unfathomable gift of her. I say my silent thank-yous and try to hold that image of her in my mind to recall at those times when she's being impossible.
So, now that "our boys" are in school, I have all morning to put her, my youngest, in the driver's seat. She can pick out beautiful clothes. I can paint her toenails. We can pick flowers in the garden or water with her plastic watering can. We play dolls. (Don't tell her brothers, but Batman likes to ride around in the Barbie convertible with Polly Pockets... And Polly always drives.) We shop together and go to the playground together. We play soccer with the surprisingly girly Dora soccer ball.
But aside from the games we play and the feminine things like painting nails, I can't think of anything I'm doing differently with her. All the same, everything we do feels new. She is just such a blessing.
I jokingly call her "mini-Me" from time to time. My husband laughs and hugs us both. And I can feel our bond growing stronger. The other day, she put on her feathery pink princess cape, looked at me, and said, "Okay. All set!" She marched into our room and said, "Daddy, will you marry me?"
I thought my husband was going to cry. He said, "Of course, I will, princess!" And he picked her up and danced around the room with her, just like Prince Charming. Afterward, I think his smile lasted all day long.
I think I know just how he feels.