It’s a Girl!

July 25th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

With our first two, we didn’t find out their gender. We wanted to be surprised. With our second, we got what we wanted. There are all kinds of “hokus pokus” theories on determining gender – day of conception, morning sickness patterns, the positioning of the baby, and so on. Everyone who had an opinion on my wife’s second pregnancy was convinced that this one too was going to be a boy. When people get excited and tell you what they think, especially when it’s something as whimsical as a guess on the gender of your wife’s pregnancy, you smile, you nod, and give the look, “Oh, that’s nice. Maybe you’re right.” But there was this lady. We were walking through an outdoor mall. My wife was about eight months pregnant. An older lady, Middle-Eastern, a shawl framing her wrinkled, sage-like face walked up to us. “Your baby. It’s a boy,” she said in an ancient accent, and walked away.

We were convinced. So, convinced that in the delivery room, upon hearing, “It’s a girl!” we looked at each other with the same expression: “What? It’s a girl?” I’ll never forget it. Literally, my wife’s first expression – the very moment she pushed our daughter out, her feet still in the stirrups – was, “What?” In fact, we weren’t even settled on a name. We had a boy’s name. It took us a couple days to choose between two girl names, neither of which we thought we’d use.

I had heard the thing about a girl, “There’s something about a girl.” It’s true. They unlock something reserved, deep inside a father. A girl somehow highlights the beauty and the precious fragility of a baby. And I don’t think it ever really goes away. She was beautiful. I remember the long fingers and toes, the fuzzy ears, head full of dark hair, a crooked scowl, and a single dimple on her lower right cheek. I remember holding her and wanting like I’d never wanted anything before to protect her from the world. She’s still beautiful.

Like all the rest, the old lady was wrong. Twelve years later, I can’t tell you how glad I am that she was.

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