i heard the littlest, the last to wake, coming down the stairs. rather than stumble into the kitchen for his daily bowl of wheaties, he walked straight out the front door. i looked out the window in the kitchen and ran down the hall to grab my camera.
first he brought in the dogs who he was sure would bust his rhyme. then he proceeded to swing to his heart content.
as i watched him, i settled into a conversation i have had and will likely continue to have til the day i die. it's a conversation i have had with mostly with strangers. very ignorant strangers. and sadly a few mildly ignorant friends. it goes a little like this.
person: whew. all those boys. poor thing.
me: i love my life.
person: i'm so sorry you didn't have a girl.
me: i'm satisfied with the way things are.
similarly, i thought of all the conversations i have had with single friends, barren friends, adoptive friends and friends who do not wish to have children. all of them witnesses to the same kind of ridiculous comments from people who speak from a place of genuine unawareness assuming they have this whole "how to live the perfect life" thing figured out and wish to enlighten the rest of us with their probing questions.
i've never been asked, "are those your real children?" but i have been asked, "are all those boys yours? all those boys? you weren't blessed with a girl?" or "i'm sorry you missed out on having a girl-just for all the clothes." these questions and comments are always said in the presence of my four boys. and y'all, it needs to stop.
so if you or someone you know has all boys, or all girls or no kids, for the love of god, keep your comments to yourself.
i watched my youngest swing himself around barefoot. no wincing about the pine needles under his feet. no drama about what clothes to wear. he, along with his 3 older brothers, are easy going. adventurous, yes. inappropriate at times, duh. fun, usually always. they are polite and rowdy. they are gracious and rude. they are full of funny anecdotes(like fashioning a blow dart gun) and leave a trail of muddy footprints lest i need to find them. they.are.children. and that's what i signed up for when the desire for motherhood came calling, and i decided to answer. i didn't put in an order and when i opened the bag, wished i could send it back. my order was to mother. period. and had i not been able to conceive, i would have found another way. adoption, foster care, or working in an orphanage. there are ways to mother plenty in this world.
when i wished for children, i hoped to have ones who weren't complete jerks. the rest is gravy. and as work and providence had it, our boys are pretty delightful and ridiculously challenging. but this isn't because they are boys. it's because they are humans.
maya angelou once wrote, "if i have a monument in this world, it is my son. he is a joy, a sheer delight." and i agree. four times over.