After three girls, it's been interesting having a boy.
Not in the way many people expect. Personality-wise, Daniel is just Daniel. There's nothing that he does to make me say, "wow, he really acts like a boy!" Well, except for his size. He's a lot bigger than the girls, with broad stocky shoulders and far bigger hands and feet. He is not a delicate child...though he is a bit timid compared to Elaina.
It's more on us. Having a son means there are some slightly different plans for him than the girls. We feel more responsible for his future family than we do for the girls. If they leave us for a family of their own, their husbands are going to be responsible for providing. In Daniel's case, we need to guide him into being ready to provide.
Both Ben and his Dad feel differently about Daniel than they do about the girls. They love the girls. They see Daniel as an inheritance. He's the first baby where Dad came next door right away to hold him. There is something indefinably important to men about having a son.
In a lot of ways, we're taught this is wrong and unfair in some way. That to feel differently about having sons and daughters is to belittle one or the other. This denies some of the basic realities about the jobs men and women do. They are different from each other, and there is a unique need and place for both.
The Basic Jobs of Men and Women
All along, I've told the girls that their job in life is to "take care of people and things". That's what women do really well. This basic job description covers a lot of ground. Taking care of people and things can mean nursing babies or it could mean roofing houses because that's what needs to be done. It's true whether married or unmarried, old or young, rich or poor.
A friend of ours likes to tell her little boys that a man's job is to "take care of girls and younger men." That's a pretty good description of what I expect Daniel's job will be. He's going to have the task of caring for the women in his life and guiding and being an example for the younger men. Again, this is a job for a married or unmarried man, whether he's old or young or rich or poor.
Men and women in the end are responsible to take care of each other according to their abilities. It's a pretty special gift that we are now raising both men and women. Our family feels a lot stronger and more solid, our future capabilities greater and more complete. It's not Daniel himself so much as the promise of adding another man to our number that has made having a son different than having daughters.
Daniel Is Easy To Enjoy
Daniel has been a pleasure to have. He's not an antsy kid. Right from the beginning, he's been full of joy. He started trying to smile at me when he was two weeks old and he's pretty much been like that ever since. He's a very happy little man. Ben and I pray that he will keep that joy into adulthood because that's going to make him pretty great to spend the rest of our lives with.
It is good to have a son. May he grow to be a good and wise man, a blessing to everyone around him.
It's been a long time, guys.
When I was pregnant with Daniel last year (oh yeah...spoilers...we now actually have a BOY in our mix of little girls!), I realized I had to start taking back my time or a whole lot of things were going to sit around 20 years waiting to be done. While I was feeling like we were on an endless merry-go-round of laundry, diapers, meals and little pigtails, things that I wanted to give attention to were starting to slip.
I had an afghan started before getting married that needed to be finished. Our house needed many organizational projects done. Our yard needed work. We needed to get the girls moved into their own room and keep it from becoming a huge mess. There was going to be another baby. And there had to be a way to clear my head and start writing again.
It's been a little like the requirements of the last few years have blown little pieces of me all over the place. I didn't even lose all the baby weight from Elaina's pregnancy because it took too much concentration to pay attention to what I was eating.
Once I got through the survival mode of first trimester, I realized I was going to need to change my thinking if I wanted to pull things back together and be ready to add another baby to the mix.
After some thought, I reached a conclusion: I needed three attitude changes toward TIME.
1.) Yes, there really is time to do lots of stuff!
2.) Our kids need to be on our time, not theirs
3.) Just do the next thing and get it done
Sound ridiculously basic?
For me those were two very important determinations. I've been so busy it's easy to think there isn't time for anything else; but the second attitude change helps the first. Ben and I are supposed to set out the day's timetable, not the kids. Everyone is much happier that way and there is suddenly space for quiet concentration on things like, well...crochet.
As for the last point...the old proverb says the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. You can't waste energy worrying about how the whole elephant is going to get eaten. Just make sure to keep taking the next bite.
So every day, I choose one bite I'm going to take out of the elephant. Is it going to be crocheting in the evening while Ben and I are listening to an interesting podcast? Digging out little trees that have been making our yard scruffy? Spending the afternoon getting baby clothes organized?
Whatever the choice, I've been picking something everyday. And the strangest thing is happening: it seems like I have more time now with four kids than I had with just two.
Taking control of the whirlwind has built a lot of confidence because I don't have a niggling list in the back of my mind always reminding me of the things I'm putting off. If the list does present itself, it's simply in the process of deciding what to do today.
And that afghan? Finally finished, after six years. Longest time it ever took me to finish one, but I've since finished two others that were in line behind it.
Boy, did that feel good.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
Please don't be shy! If you're reading the blog updates, we'd like to hear what you think. Click on the "comments" link to send us a note.