When I find out I was pregnant, I was automatically envisioning a little girl. Girls are all I know, and the thought of having a boy made me a little anxious. Growing up with my sister was great, and boys seemed like a whole other species. Now sure, I love the man that I married, but the 25 years of prep work that went in before I met him - a little scary. However, as my pregnancy progressed, God started changing my mind. I was constantly seeing adorable little boys or hearing father-son country songs on the radio (which may or may not have made me cry). Chad was so excited about the prospect of a boy – he shared so many experiences with his Dad that he couldn't wait to do with his son. Not to mention everyone around me kept telling me I was having a boy! My heart started to open to the idea of “boy” – whatever that is.
When I worked as a camp counselor (too many moons ago), we would be assigned 2-3 campers each week as our buddies. We were personally responsible for seeing to it that our buddies brushed their teeth, put on sunscreen, weren’t too homesick and ate enough at every meal. Normally girls had girl buddies and boys had boy buddies – which was my experience for the first 5 or so years I worked at camp. Then one week, Muddy (my camp director) decided to throw me a curve ball. Either she thought it would be funny watching me attempt to entertain 6 year old boys, or she knew I would adapt and learn some things. Knowing Muddy, it was a little of both. So there I stood on opening day with Logan and Nathan staring up at me. Yep, this week was going to be different. Instead of braiding hair – I chased them with their sunscreen in the morning. Instead of making bracelets, we went canoeing. Instead of giving piggy back rides through the grassy area – I listened to how tough they were for walking over stickers in bare feet. Instead of a good night hugs – I gave high fives. I loved it. And even more surprisingly, they loved me too! I know this because they hugged me when they left at the end of that week. They told their moms all about me. And the next year, when they came back with their friends, they sat with me at every single meal. Maybe I can do this.
Part of my current job is basically hanging out with the kids who participate in our research study while they work out. For kids, it is important for them to feel accepted to remain engaged in the program and want to keep coming back. So I spend a lot of evenings just talking to kids while they run on the treadmill- joking, finding out what they like to do, etc. And can you guess who some of my favorite participants have been? Not just boys, but ADOLESCENT boys. Thirteen to sixteen are the alien years, and if I can connect with that – there may be hope after all.
So when the sonogram technician announced, “Yep, that’s a penis,” I was not completely surprised. After all, it was a 50-50 shot, but somewhere deep down I knew I was having a son. Even so, there was still an iota of panic. A boy? But, what do they like to do? I’m going to get peed in the face, aren’t I? I can’t make good gunshot noises - or dinosaur growls – or crash sounds – or car revs! What age do they not want you to kiss them in front of their friends? I don’t know anything about jockstraps.
Chad’s reaction was a little different. He pumped his fist in the air, almost jumped out of his chair, and yelled, “Yes!” He later told me that some deep primal male urge had come over him in that moment. I was so excited to see him that excited! The boy adventure had begun.
Ever since we found out about Baby Boy Barnes, I have been able to connect with him on a new level. He has become a tangible person to me – an active little boy who is growing big and strong! Of course he’s a boy – how could I have thought any different? He is my son and he has always been destined to be my first born. Despite all of my girly-ness, God has been preparing me to mother a son. And it has become such a special job to me. Chad got me a little book on Mother to Son wisdom – and one of the first quotes is, “Don’t forget that as a baby, he will always be looking for your face. It will be this way forever.” My eyes have been opened to the wonderful relationship between mother and son. I am so excited to get dirty, be grossed out by bugs, and attend a zillion football/hockey/soccer/baseball games. And sure, he will probably be embarrassed by me in middle school, and I may not like some of the girls he chooses to date, and he probably won’t call me every day when he goes to college – but I will always get to be his mom.