We were in Walmart when it happened. Because isn't Walmart where the best stories take place? More specifically, we were in the hair care aisle trying our hardest to find a purple shampoo to act as a stand-in until my go-to brand arrived in the mail.
If you're a faux-blonde like me, you know that even one wash with well water without your trusty purple shampoo can do bad, bad things to your hair and having just had fresh highlights I wasn't about to let the brass monsters come creeping in. Mama ain't got time for that!
I digress. Where was I? Oh, right there in the hair care aisle at Walmart with all three members of my man-tribe in tow. Only one of them was buckled giving the other two free reign to pick up every. single. bottle with any hint of purple writing on it and yell, "IS THIS ONE, MOM?"
That's when I heard it.
"Three boys, huh? Aww..."
It was the "aww" that caught me off guard. As a seasoned mom of three boys, I knew immediately where this conversation was headed. Usually I just laugh and smile and if I'm feeling particularly prickly, before they can say it themselves, I tell them how full my hands are. You can imagine my surprise however, when I turned to find another young-ish mother staring back at me, her boy/girl twins watching a movie on her iPhone from within the large basket of her cart. I was surprised to see one of my own staring back at me and if we're being honest, a little disappointed too.
I laughed and said, "yep, three boys!" And in an attempt to add levity to the situation, I quickly followed up with, "I really should be shopping for Clorox- who knew there could be so much pee on bathroom walls?!"
She didn't laugh, perhaps because her son didn't look old enough to be out of diapers or perhaps she just wasn't feeling my wholehearted attempt at being funny that day.
I shrugged my shoulders and turned just in time to catch several Lightening McQueen bubble bath bottles from meeting their demise as my two-year-old teetered precariously from the cart trying to grab as many as he could and hurl them into the cart. It was time to give up the hunt and get moving.
"But you won't get to do dance classes... or Girl Scouts! Don't you want just one more and hope that it's a girl?"
I completely understand that 85% of these comments come from well-meaning places. I'm a girl therefore I must want more like me! Girls are the best, I should know, I'm one myself. What could I possibly have in common with something that has a penis and will eventually grow up and leave me for another woman? Or man, even? (Hey, it's 2017 folks...)
In my experience these comments usually come from mothers with young girls. Rarely have I ever had a fellow mother of all boys turn to me and say something like, "I wish one of them had been a girl!" even in jest.
I've learned that mothers of all boys are a special kind of crazy and I'm honored to be a part of a club full of sword fights (moms of boys know what kind of swords I'm talking about) and bathrooms that will forever smell like NYC subways and I get it! We're kind of like an enigma. As women, why wouldn't we want to raise someone with whom we could braid their hair and paint their nails and sit through 8 hours of dance recitals on our Saturdays with?
Let me let you in on a little secret. My identity isn't suddenly lost on me because I'm the mother of all boys. I'm not any less "girl" because I'm not raising a daughter and as far as I know, a little piece of me hasn't died because I can't braid my son's hair or paint his nails or go shopping with him for prom dresses.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do not feel as if I'm missing out on ANYTHING when it comes to being a mother solely because I'm a mother to only boys and you shouldn't either. Please, please do not have pity on me or feel sad for me because of what you think I'm missing out on. I promise you that these three boys bring me more joy than I ever thought imaginable and mothering them, in all of their testosterone-fueled glory is right where I'm meant to be.
Do I tell her that when I found out my third and final baby was a boy that of course I felt a twinge of sadness and mourned right then and there the fact that I would never experience the kind of mother/daughter relationship that I have with my own mother that has brought me so much joy or is that a silly conversation to have among rows and rows of shampoo and conditioner?
I wasn't sure if I should excuse myself and pretend I didn't hear her, or if maybe I should tell her how there's so many other things that I'll get to enjoy as a mother of all boys. Or maybe I should just turn and bolt because that wouldn't be at all awkward, right?
Before I could say anything, however, a little voice arose from beside me.
"I yike to dance. Wook at her butt!"
And then another,
"My mom's a girl, She's my best girl."
"My mom's got her hands full with me and my brothers. She'd go crazy with another kid!"
- - - - -
I'd never been more proud of my three boys than I had been in that exact moment. You know, I worry a lot about what they're hearing when someone says something like "you gonna try for a girl now?" It hurts my heart to think that they'll internalize that and feel as if they're not enough. As if I could ever wish them to be anyone other than who they are. As if they're parts or lack thereof make a difference to me.
It was in that exact moment I realized I couldn't have said it any better myself.
- - - - -
I laughed. "Nope. These three right here are more than enough for me," I said with a smile and as I turned to walk away my six year old stops me in my tracks, high-fives me and says, "how's that for being on team Mom?"