I am the oldest child in my family. I have a younger brother, Chad, and a younger sister, Kim. As one might expect, I was the one who produced the first grandchild for my parents. Barry and I had no intention of finding out what we were having until the moment the baby arrived. Most of my friends thought I was having a girl (with the . So did I. I had dreams about having a boy and being all upset and sad and wanting to “return” him. I have no idea where that came from, because I honestly didn’t care either way. Although the baby was due on December 28, 1999, and I had thoughts that if it was a girl, and born in 1999, it would be neat to name her after my great-grandmother, Anna Denk Schmidt, who was born in 1899.
Alas, a healthy baby boy, David, arrived in the early days of the new millennium. We couldn’t have been happier. Cameron arrived in 2002. Barry was very excited and announced in the OR that we should go for three. Easy there, pal, you’re not the one getting your guts sewn back together.
But we did press on. We had the ultrasound tech do some fact-finding for the third time around. What he found was some bits and pieces. It was almost comical. I implored my friends and family to please refrain from the “My Three Sons” jokes. The fourth was rather unexpected. We had just gotten used to the idea of having another baby a mere 18 months after Justin was born, when we had ultrasound number four. At this point my previous doctor was no longer doing obstetrics and we were with an ultrasound tech we didn’t know. Barry and I let David come along to see. The tech tried to be funny when he revealed it was a boy. He didn’t know the history. It was a completely awkward moment. I didn’t want David to see my outright disappointment. It was stone cold silent. There were still other measurements and information to record, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be out of that room and alone with my thoughts. Obviously I got over myself. Alex is my little sweetheart and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else.
When my brother got married, I got an instant niece, Rian! We all adore her and it’s nice to have a girl running around family gatherings to mix things up. But we missed out on Rian being a baby girl.
Then came Ben, Kim’s little guy. Then Gavyn, Chad’s pride and joy. And not long after the surprising news that Chad and his wife were expecting baby number two, he sent an e-mail yesterday announcing that the new lad would be lucky number 7. Seven boy babies. 1 girl. Insanity.
Everyone tells me how much “easier” boys are when they are older. I’m still waiting for that day. Right now everything in my house is in disrepair because of them. My nephews will probably learn a world of trouble from my four crazy guys.
This time of year I do get a little wistful when I go shopping and see the endless rows of colorful, ruffled, flowery girl clothes. I grew up painting and drawing. I love color. Boy clothes are so boring by comparison. Blue. Green. Brown. Maybe red. Dull. Cameron’s First Communion is coming up. I bought him a new tie. It’s blue. He’s wearing the same suit jacket and dress pants that David wore. He’ll look sharp, no doubt. But it won’t be a pretty white dress with a flower crown. A few weeks after Alex was born we went to a Mass where they were celebrating First Communion. I saw all the pretty little girls and cried. Probably mostly hormones, but I think I just needed to mourn for my Anna that will never be.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011