Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash
When I was four months pregnant, I told my two daughters — then ages nine and six — that they were going to have a new sibling. I asked if they wanted to know the baby's gender. My older daughter shouted, "It must be a little brother because I already have the best sister in the world!"
While years later she would deny the latter part of the proclamation (loudly and with many door slams), she was correct in her prediction. Our family was getting a baby boy.
What we didn't know is that this little bundle of joy was going to rule the land.
Although the girls in our home outnumbered the boys, we surrendered our power to him the minute he was born without hesitation.
Were trumpets sounded upon his arrival? I think it happened although I may have been delirious from the excellent pain killers. But there was an actual parade for him including signs, balloons, and streamers when he made his official entrance into our suburban home.
His sisters delighted in him from the start. They loved to hold him, play with him, read him stories — even his dirty diapers were greeted with squeals of delight.
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As he got older, they continued to cheer him, each milestone accompanied with loud, boisterous standing ovations. From his first words to his first birthday to his first day at kindergarten, his sisters never wavered in their devotion. Not even when my younger daughter went to hug him, and he (accidentally) head-butted her so hard that her TWO front (baby) teeth were knocked out of her mouth. She consoled him, saying, "Don't worry! I'm okay", as she bled all over my car on the way to the dentist's office.
I won't say that his sisters thought his poop didn't stink. They did. When he passed gas, they would hold their nose and scream, "Ewww! Gross!" in unison, but then they would laugh and hug him, breathing in his stench like he just bathed in a tub of roses. And that reaction continued even when he was a teenager, and his aroma frequently made their eyes tear.
Lest you think that it was just his sisters that adored him, I too couldn't get enough of him.
Maybe it was because he was my last and I knew how fleeting his babyhood would be. Instead of being cranky when I was awoken at 2 am and 4 am for his bi-nightly feedings, I looked forward to this quiet time when it could be just the two of us together. As he ventured into the terrible twos, I still thought he was terrific. And when he did get into typical toddler trouble, he would look up at me with his big brown eyes and say, "Saw-ry Mommy!" I couldn't stay mad. My son grew up as the apple of not just my eye, but of three sets of eyes. And for that, dear fiancé, I am sorry.
You are getting a man who believes he is the shiz – that his morning breath is minty, that his smile brings automatic absolution, and who anticipates that his every accomplishment will be met with praise. So, I apologize and want you to know, if he takes out the garbage, he will expect you will say, "What a big strong, helpful guy you are!” It’s my fault, and it’s his sisters’ fault.
But you can also thank us.
You are getting a wonderful man, and that is also because of his sisters and me. For starters, he WILL take out the garbage without being asked. He doesn't believe in "man's work vs. woman's work" but instead that everyone contributes equally at home and the office. He will hold the door open for you (and the guy behind you), not because you need him to hold it but because he has good manners. He says "please" and "thank you" with earnest and without any prompting. He will also help make dinner having spent many afternoons in the kitchen with his sisters and me. And he bakes the best homemade chocolate chip cookies and monkey bread.
If you tell him he “runs like a girl," he will take it as the ultimate compliment.
His two sisters were successful track runners, and he idolizes them.
Being surrounded by women has made him patient. He can sit in a clothing store for hours and won't tire of giving you an opinion on your dress, having done that for hours on end in his lifetime. He knows about waxing, manicures, periods, PMS, and hot flashes — and won't get grossed out talking about any of these topics. He shares his feelings without much prompting. He will listen to your problems with great empathy. And while he would way prefer watching ESPN, he won't leave the room if you switch to a Lifetime movie and he really is interested in who The Bachelorette winds up picking (even if he says he is not.)
He grew up surrounded by strong, smart, independent women, and he learned to be respectful of women’s choices and to value their insights.
So again, dear fiancé, I am genuinely sorry for raising my son to think he is all that. And you are very welcome too, cause, he is all that and a lot more too. We made him think he was a king and turned into a really good guy.