Six years ago today, I became a mother of boys. Plural. And it wasn’t long after Billy put our second baby boy in my arms that the questions began.
“Wow. Two boys. You must be….busy.”
“Are you going to try for a third?” Third is always code for girl.
“At least you don’t have to pay for any weddings!” (always said with a chuckle).
The comments and questions come in many variations, with different tilts of the head, raised eyebrows, and innuendos hidden by smiles. And every time I hear one, my blood boils.
Because what you are saying – to me and to him – is that we are lacking. That he is not enough.
I’m sure you don’t mean to. Or maybe you do. But either way, on behalf of every parent with same sex children or only children or no children, I respectfully say right now just bloody stop. Stop implying that our families are incomplete. Accept that we know joys you never will and vice-versa. Boys. Girls. Boys and girls. Every family is perfect to the people in it.
It’s true. I will probably never plan a wedding. Or buy hair bows. Or have mommy-daughter pedicure days.
But those things do not a family make.
And let me tell you what I do have. I have two smart, sweet, funny children with pretty damn good manners. We share a love of football and basketball and history. They are my best friends. They are each other’s best friends. And they have made me a better person.
They have taught me that a good day can be judged by how much dirt you have on your knees and under your fingernails.
That no fancy dinner or night on the town is better than piling into bed at the end of the day and reading a hundred books in silly voices.
That I am not always right, that it’s okay to change your mind, and that “Because I said so” is never the answer for anything.
That you can rewind all the years of obligation and responsibility and remember what real fun is. It’s messy. Crazy. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Silly.
That the relationship between siblings is the longest you will have in your life. So it better be the strongest.
That laundry and dishes and emails are never more important than throwing the football in the backyard. And that I really can throw a spiral.
That there is always something more to learn. Whether it’s the migratory habits of over 37 species of sharks, the history of the Ironclads, the name of the Japanese flight commander who led the attacks on Pearl Harbor, or the scientific process behind every bodily function.
That our blisters don’t define us. That bravery is measured not by big acts of bravado but by all the small moments of trying to do the impossible when no one is looking. That people (some of them, say, NCAA coaches) will recognize that passion is more important than victory.
That a family is made not by x or y chromosomes. A family is made by how many times a day you say “I love you.” A family is made by how much you want to be together and how hard you love.
When I was pregnant for the first time, a good friend looked at me and said “It’s gonna be a boy Cameron. You were born to be a mom of boys.”
Turns out, he was right. These are the children I was meant to have. This is the mother I was born to be. This is the family we were meant to be. And it is everything I could have ever wanted.
So on this day, we celebrate not just Will’s birthday but the day our family became complete…