I first had a yen for a daughter at a time when I was far too young to conceive one. I carried baby dolls with names like Lucy and Amy with me everywhere, gently putting them to sleep in baskets and dresser drawers, tucking their blankets tightly around them.
As I grew too old for dolls, I began to write the names of the daughters I’d one day have in my diaries. Rebecca and Rachel…and as I grew into the tween years, complicated names like Amberleigh and Jilliannah.
As I matured and evolved, so did the names of potential daughters that I was still scribbling in journals, sometimes trying them with the last names of boys I liked.
My twenties passed with no husband and no kids. I stopped writing the names down as they became less of a foregone conclusion and more of a wistful dream that might not come true.
But my favorites still echoed around in my head.
Finally, I got married and pregnant, much later than I would’ve ever imagined. After the home pregnancy test flashed its pink positive sign and the disbelief wore off, my immediate thought was: I wonder if it’s a girl. And something inside of me answered back, “It’s a boy” without hesitation.
And it was.
We named him Asher and I enthusiastically launched myself into being the boy-mom I was always meant to be. After all, hadn’t I always been a guy’s girl? The universe had known me better than I knew myself.
Several years later, my husband and I found out we were expecting a second child and the daughter dreams rose over the horizon in an instant and carried me away like a tidal wave.
This one was a girl, I was sure. I would finally have my Emerson or my Merritt. Whatever her name, she would frolic in our yard and in parks and playgrounds in tutus with Converse on her feet. She’d have a sparkly pink purse looped over her arm and inside of it would be a tiny pretend lipstick and cellphone and some loose barrettes that’d shimmied their way out of her baby fine hair. She’d skip and twirl and then eventually melt down onto the floor of our bathroom in a puddle of skirt to watch me put my makeup on before I went out at night.
When I was 13 weeks along, we went for a sonogram with our Perinatologist (that’s a doctor who watches over high risk pregnancies…and old ones). As she began spreading the goo on my belly, I mentioned that I’d heard she could sometimes tell this early whether it was a boy or a girl, and she confirmed, “Yes, sometimes.”
As she checked and measured the baby’s brain, heart and other organs, there was no more talk about boys versus girls and in my hope for news of a healthy baby, I forgot completely about the sex.
Suddenly, our doctor said, “Well, it’s a boy.”
I gasped and clapped my hand over my mouth then looked at my husband. He just smiled, turned to Asher and said, “You’re gonna have a brother.”
“Did I say something wrong?” said the doctor.
“Oh My God,” I said, still in shock. “I was hoping for a girl.”
“Well, maybe something will fall off before the next time,” she laughed.
We had another handsome son and we named him Meyer.
And our family was full.
Both kids are such blessings to me — they’re the joy of my life. I know that I’ve been given exactly the children I was meant to have and I love them with every fiber of my being.
There’s a small part of me that will always mourn the little girl I never had. The one with long, straight hair whose dress would billow out when she spun. Those pictures live on inside my head.