A Promise to My Sons

This is a repost from 2011, shortly after I found out our fifth child would be our fifth son.

I didn't want to look at the screen during my recent 18-week ultrasound.  This was the big one, the one where the doctor would check for any physical abnormalities.  I didn't want to look because, the last time I checked, my degree is NOT in prenatal medicine and I would have made things up as I looked at the grainy ultrasound images.

I also didn't want to look because I didn't want to see that telltale genitalia that I have seen four times before.  I wanted to hold out a little hope that I could have a girl...and that she would be healthy.  Instead, I searched Hubby's face as he watched the screen, watching for any telltale frowns or delighted smiles.  Instead, he had the stone cold expression of...well, a physician.

It was excruciating, as the ultrasound student went over every measurement, every area of the baby's body twice, even three times.  God love my doctor, when she came in, the first thing she said was,"The baby looks just fine."  She has delivered three of my babies and helped me with two of my miscarriages; she knows me, and I'm glad.  I guessed that the baby was a boy based on something Hubby said to Doctor, and I was right.

And I was so not surprised.

And I was a little sad and disappointed.

Hubby called me later from work and asked me how I was feeling about the news.

"I'm so relieved that the baby looks good!" I responded in an overly cheery voice.

"Not that news, the fact that it's a boy."  Damn.  He can always see right through me.

I admitted my disappointment.  I admitted that I had accepted not having any more babies, and to have to start over only to get the same thing was...disappointing.  But, as I thought more and more about it, more about how he is looking healthy, more about how my boys say the sweetest things to me and love to cuddle, I got more and more excited.

My plan for the past 18 weeks had been for a girl, and this little girl was going to make me a better mother, a better woman.  I needed her for that reason.  There are way too many things that I have slacked on in my life, in my womanhood, in my mothering.  This little girl was going to save me from being a complete failure, because, after all, I couldn't set that kind of example for her.  I couldn't eat poorly and fail to exercise, or let my appearance go to pot.  I couldn't have low self esteem and use that as an excuse for not going after my dreams or even having friends.  No, I needed to be the stellar example of health, pride, beauty, and confidence so that my daughter would grow up with those qualities as well.  After all, I have wanted to start a blog for years, and only did so after I found out I was pregnant.

So, why can't I let my sons see that?

I am a stay-at-home-mom.  They are with me more than anyone else.  They learn from me and my example more than anyone else's.  Why can't I offer the same promises to them?

There is a "repost" going around Facebook that starts out, "My promise to my kids..."  It says, in part, "I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you crazy, be your worst nightmare, embarrass you...hunt you down..." and it claims to be all in the name of love.  I've never been a "reposter,"but it did prompt me to think of my own promises to my boys:

1. I promise that I will keep myself healthy, to be a good example to you, to have the energy to play with you, and to be around to see all the important events in your lives.

2. I promise that I will not nag you, but rather teach you to take care of yourself, so that you can, and so that you know all women are not nags.

3. I promise that I will learn how to change a tire, mow the lawn, fix something mechanical so that you know that women are strong and can take care of themselves.

4. I promise that I will always kiss your boo-boos, fix your favorite food, and buy you clothes that you like so that you know that women love you in a special way that treats you like you are special.

5. I promise I will never let you hit me, push me, or talk down to me so that you learn how to treat a woman, how to treat any person.

6. I promise I will have and let you see that Daddy and I have a loving, respectful, fun relationship so that you have an example to follow in your own relationships.

7. I promise to let you try sports that may seem dangerous or instruments that are annoying because I believe in you and your talent.

8a. I promise that I will let you quit the above sports or instruments before you get too frustrated or down on yourself.

8b. I promise that I will not let you quit said sport or instrument if you are simply "having a bad day," because I know you are not a quitter.

9.  I promise to be proud of any man you grow up to be.  I may expect you to be a doctor, an astronaut, a scientist...I'll be happy for you if you love what you do, follow your passion and try your best.

10. I promise to try to like something about every girl you bring home. If you like her, there must be something good about her.

The promises are potentially endless; but in the end, I think my biggest promise should be to promise to keep my promises. Because, after all, isn't that what our children expect?

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