Friday, April 23, 2010

someone like me can learn to be like someone like you

well, as you might have heard, it's a girl.

though it was very obvious to anthony and myself what kind of parts we were looking at as the goo-covered wand passed that way, when the doctor announced the prognosis on the privates, in my excitement i literally almost quoted cate blanchett in lord of the rings: “i cannot deny that my heart has greatly desired this.”

which is true. i’ve received advice from lots of random people of late, and they all had the same thing to say: “oh, you’ll love it no matter what it is.” i always wanted to answer by saying, “sure, long as it’s white,” just to put somebody else on the receiving end of not knowing how to respond to unsolicited comments. not that they weren’t right.

but i’ve always wanted me a little girl-child; when i was much younger, it was mostly just because girl clothes tend to be way more fun and adorable to buy (this still kind of figures in). but these days i reckon the psychology behind it runs a little more deeply. i do think the impulse is mostly selfish: the desire to bring up a lil somebody in your own image. i’ve always had a hard time imagining how i would be able to connect with a son once he got to a certain age. but i’ve never had trouble with the idea of wanting to be close with a daughter, to supply information to her that i was woefully ignorant of as a minor, and, subconsciously, to impose my own interests on her, however selfish that might be. essentially, i’ve always wanted to raise a smaller, smarter, better-at-electric-guitar and less-prone-to-reading-fan-fiction version of myself. can any other would-be parent really and truly attest that they’ve not felt the same?

my friend leah, who just had a man-cub in november, told me that, quite honestly, she wanted a boy all along. she said it was because she thought she’d be less inclined to deal with the drama a girl brings along with her.

i didn’t take this comment as meaning that girls are inherently melodramatic (though that seems to be the consensus on which most female sitcom characters are based). i took her to mean that girls have it rough in the world. i don’t know how much rougher girls have it than boys, because i’ve never been a boy. it occurs to me that everybody i know has had it rough at one point or another. and that’s something i know i can bank on for my kid, too, because it was true for me, and it was true for you, and for everybody, even the lord and savior of the world, jesus christ himself. though he had it worse, i suppose: sometimes, when i, melodramatically, proclaim that "it's the worst day ever," anthony will check my 'tude by saying, "yeah, tell that to jesus/anne frank/hiroshima."

anyway, i know my kid is going to have some hurts, and already, less than four months before we’ve even met, i want to grieve for my kid. concrete is going to scrape some knees. swings and slides are, at times, shoddily made. sometimes it’ll rain on beach day. people will be mean. the person you like will like somebody else. failure will come out of nowhere. you won’t get exactly what you hoped for. and the things you always accepted as true will, one day, seem suddenly nebulous.

how do i explain all this to my baby child, before she figures it out on her own?

well, i guess don’t. i guess that’s the next hurt i’ll face in my life.

still, if i can selfishly impose one personal trait on my kid, it would be the impulse to recklessly charge into situations, regardless of the pain they may or may not reap, because it’s in these same situations that really awesome stuff sometimes emerges. in my case, for example, a daughter, to be expected shortly. i can’t complain.

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