When I was pregnant, early on before knowing the gender of our baby, I secretly wanted a boy. I know- as a mom, this is sort of one of those unspoken rules you’re never to speak of: never admit your favourite child and never say which gender you would have preferred first. Hear me out, though. My husband is a guy’s guy; he’s the sportiest man I know. I saw how much he idolized his father growing up, and I wanted the same for him with our child. My father-in-law’s love language is sports. So naturally, as a father, he used his fondness of sports to build that deep connection with his son. In my husband’s formative years, they spent all available waking hours practicing baseball and playing at the park. My father-in-law was even my husband’s little league coach at that age, and through the years they’ve connected over all their beloved sports. Knowing all this, I envisioned that same relationship for my husband. I also thought because of all the above, he would’ve covertly felt the same way. I guess, in this sense, I shortchanged him a bit; I underestimated his capacity to love his own child regardless of what gender they would be. I didn’t think he’d even know what to do with a girl, to be quite honest. And so, I suppose, I simply convinced myself it was going to be a boy.
To my surprise and embarrassment (because I was so positive that I was having a son), when the ultrasound tech revealed to us that it was indeed a girl, I remember my heart dropping and later crying about it. A part of me felt like I was grieving a loss (silly because this was a loss that was never really mine). I felt tremendous guilt because I never wanted my daughter to feel unloved or unwanted. I was ashamed to even think those horrible thoughts because to grieve a loss of a son was, in some ways (in my hormonal mind at that time), wishing away my daughter, which was never my sentiment.
Conceiving my daughter was neither difficult nor quick, but it was a heck of a lot easier than I thought. Members of my family have had obstacles around fertility, therefore I always assumed that would be my same fate. So when my husband and I were able to conceive, we were overjoyed but a part of me thought it was pure fluke and this might be the only chance I would have. So, when the tech told us it was a girl, I suppose in that moment I was grieving the fact that my husband would never have that son I thought he desired.
When I finally had the courage to admit these thoughts to my husband, I found out that he truly didn’t have a preference (no matter how many times I inquired). He told me my concerns were silly, “why would you worry about that?” Then he assured me he would love our child no matter what. And, surely, he was right.
You always hear about moms immediately feeling immense love and adoration for their babies from the time they are born. It took me a short minute, admittedly. But on April 12, 2018 at 5:31PM, I witnessed my husband falling in love all over again. That was the day I lost my husband to the other love of his life. My daughter was a messy, emotional blob (who can blame her- you try squeezing yourself out of a dark, squishy tunnel for 40 hours straight), but I could tell my husband loved her instantly. And they’ve been inseparable ever since.
Now, every chance he gets he likes to remind me, “remember when you didn’t think I’d love our daughter?” We like to laugh about how absurd a thought that was. It’s now our little secret inside joke that we hope Charlotte never finds out, ha. She must never know!
I know what you’re probably thinking- I must be overexaggerating their bond. I kind of wish I were, but the reality is that some days my daughter treats me like I’m The Help in my own home.
Charlotte: *returns from walk with daddy after school, notices me in kitchen cooking*
Charlotte: Oh, here you are.
Me: Yes, here I am.
Charlotte: You’re back from the train.
Me: Yes, yes, I am. I brought you home from school. *deadpan stare*
Truthfully, I take all this in stride. In fact, I think it’s quite humourous that he’s her “favourite” parent since we both know I keep her alive the best. I realize the relationship with each parent is equally important, but I also believe a girl’s relationship with her father will determine the type of relationship she will fall into later in life and how she views herself (especially pertaining to rejection). Thus, to me, her relationship with her father is, in some ways, more critical at this stage because babies/toddlers will always naturally be more dependent on their mothers. So, any opportunity for Charlotte to connect with daddy was a success and win-win for me. Also, I get to say liberating things like, “she’s crying, she wants you” as I retreat to the maid quarters of the house. Ultimately, I trust our unconditional love and connection. She just prefers her daddy most days, and that’s okay with me because I know as the same-gender parent, we will always have time and more things in common which will naturally drive our relationship.
For now, though, she’s a quintessential daddy’s girl- through and through.
Me: Do you love mama?
Charlotte: I love daddy.
Happy Father’s Day to the greatest man my daughter will ever know!
We love you, we are so proud of you, and you are our everything.
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