With a girl that came along after four boys, the question I most often get is, "So, is it so different, having a girl?" I've always shrugged and said, "I don't know..." Now I have a better answer.
This feel luxurious. I really does. All of my boys are at day camp this week. It's just me and my little girl at home during the day. The house is quiet. The house is clean. With a pack of energetic boys like mine, it's easy to forget that the world holds such possibilities as a quiet, clean house.
In this quiet and clean space, while Baby Girl and I share a cup of morning coffee on the couch and then sit on the floor by her play kitchen to stack wooden cookies, I've had a chance to ponder a question that I'm asked all the time: is it so different having a girl?
Let me start by saying - she's only eighteen months, but Baby Girl is tough. She is fearless of heights, she jumps off the side and straight into the pool, she loves to grab the biggest dog she can find by the scruff of it's neck. She loves to be grimy with sand from the sandbox and she loves to dig a fist into her yogurt and paint it all over herself.
Also, when I took her shoe shopping today, her eyes got huge and she couldn't grab enough pairs. When I put a frilly dress on her, she walks up to the Engineer and pats her tummy, like she's asking him - "Don't I look pretty today?" She loves to push little stuffies around in a baby carriage.
Is it really so different, though? I have two boys who are very particular about their clothes and one who constantly covets a new pair of shoes. I have one boy who was fascinated by a doll when he was a toddler. Is it really so different?
It's totally different.
Because even my clothes-obsessed boys have different reasons for wanting to look nice than I do. My most baby-attuned son will never grow up to be a mother. It's normal that my boys - while they are young - will imitate some of the things I do. But as they mature, their lives will become less and less like mine. They'll move into a role that is one that I admire - a role like their father's - but the experience of which is unfamiliar to me. And that, too, seems normal - the way it should be.
But my girl...
One day, with help from heaven, she'll feel the heady thrill of being adored and she'll realize the power and responsibility of being someone's everything. She'll discover that she can see something growing where other's can't (yet) and she'll learn to dance between thrill of bringing something to life and the heartbreak of letting it go. The more she matures, the more her life will become like mine, and that opens up the possibility of a special relationship born of similar experience - like the one I have with my best girlfriend: my mom.
Even though, right now, the mechanics of having a little girl are pretty much the same as the mechanics of having a little boy, I'm finding that the answer to that unfailing question Is it different having a girl? is: Yes, it's totally different being a mother to a daughter."