Sweet baby James.
It’s no secret: when we were planning on having a third baby, we were having a boy. It wasn’t that we hoped we would have a boy, or we wished for a boy – we thought we were having a boy. Tom and I both had a feeling that there was a boy waiting to join our family, and we flirted with not finding out the sex of the baby at the 20 week ultrasound because we were just so sure. That pregnancy was so different from the first two (I was so big, carried differently, had hyperemesis) that the idea that there was just one average sized little girl in there was laughable. No, I was carrying a boy, or maybe two.
It’s a touchy subject, this gender disappointment thing. “What do you MEAN you are disappointed that Becky was a girl?” the critical voices in my brain say, aghast. But it wasn’t that I was disappointed that the baby on the ultrasound was a girl.. it was that she wasn’t a boy. We felt, and still feel, like there is a boy missing in our family, and the fact that our third child, the child who was going to be our last child, was not that baby boy… well, it meant we had to reorganize our plans. Our family. Our home. Tom and I sat in the parking lot of the ultrasound lab, alternately grinning like maniacs and looking confused. This baby, our sweet Becky, is exactly who she should be, and we cherish her, but we also long for the little boy.
We have shifted our ideal family from three children to four. We avoid talking about whether we would go for five should the next baby be a (very loved) girl, but we also talk about where we could add bedrooms in our home should we need a few more. We coo at baby boys in supermarkets, we hold up small blue things in stores, we debate middle names (he will be a Thomas, but will likely go by his middle name to distinguish him from the 4674 other Tom’s, Tommy’s and Thomas’s in his family). We don’t plan on meeting this baby for a year, hopefully longer (my poor body needs a break), but we anticipate him all the same.
Which brings me back to James, my friend Gretchen’s little boy. When she confirmed that they were having a little boy after two girls I admitted I was jealous. Overjoyed for her and her family, but also oh so envious. That was what my family was supposed to look like. I lovingly bought James gifts, hoping that someday Gretchen would be able to loan them to us for our little boy. I knit hugs and kisses into every stitch of my strip of the blanket our tribe made her, and prayed that someday they would make us a little blue blanket as well. I cheered when he was born, and breathed in deeply when I was able to hold him just a few days later. I adore him, and I reach for him, cooing and making a fool of myself to make him smile. And each time, I think ”Okay. I can wait.
But not too long.”
(Becky loves to snuggle James as well. Hopefully she will be a bit less smothery and a bit more helpful by the time she has to give up the baby moniker.)