Before Leigh was born, we were so convinced we were having a boy, that I was sure I got it wrong when I told Gail that Leigh was a “she” at the birth. I had to ask for another peek.
I think the main reason we were so “sure” was that we were trying to get ourselves used to the idea that we might be parenting a boy. Neither Gail nor I have any brothers. Gail is an only child. I’m the middle of three girls. For goodness sake we’re lesbians. We were understandably intimidated at the prospect of a son.
While we would have been thrilled with a baby boy, it is also true that Leigh being born a girl felt a bit like a reprieve.
We knew that Ira was going to be a boy before he arrived. When we found out, my mind raced to all sorts of things. I immediately thought about real-estate since our two-bedroom condo now can’t last us forever (though room sharing will work fine for quite a while). I cringed at the thought of organizing a bris 8 days after birth. I wondered how many of Leigh’s clothes I’d really be willing to put on a boy, despite my ostensibly progressive ways.
A few weeks ago, Gail and I got some precious time just with Leigh (thanks Grandma!), and walked to a nearby square. A young man with a guitar, and coloring like Ira’s, was there playing sweet songs. We sat for a long time on a nearby bench and listened. Leigh snuggled with both of us, asked lots of questions, danced, and delivered our tip to the jar. I found myself tearing up to think that someday our baby could be a young man like this young man. Maybe he’ll play guitar for tips in the square. Or maybe he’ll be like the tough-looking teenager on the train, who looked far too cool to care about a little kid, but then proceeded to play a game with Leigh, were he moved his baseball cap from his knee, to his foot, to his head and back to his knee. He had her in fits of giggles.
It’s not that we haven’t seen plenty of young male musicians on the streets around here before now. And it’s not that I don’t have plenty of positive interactions with men day-to-day (I work in a male dominated field, and my colleagues are great). It’s that now when I see these young men, I realize that someday the world of young men will have something to do with me. Until Ira was born, that was pretty much never going to be the case.
For now at least, instead of feeling intimidating, this feels like Ira is opening a door to a new world for us.