June 5, 2011
Often times I wonder what kind of parent I would be if I had a son instead of a daughter. I am positive that I would be a pretty bad one. I know I would be very hard on my son and probably justify it by telling everyone I was trying to toughen him up or some crap like that. Having a girl is so different. For a man it is as transformative of an experience as he allows it to be.
I can remember walking into my ex-girlfriend’s house without saying a word, picking up my 8-month-old daughter and leaving. Even infants can sense tension so when I walked out of the door with her in my arms she would cry hysterically. She would cry the whole way home and I being a 23-year-old man would actually get mad at her. It sounds ridiculous to me now but I would raise my voice to an 8-month-old child. I would tell her about all of the sacrifices that I was making to come out and get her, all the hours I had worked to buy her things, all the studying I was doing so I could provide for her in the future and she, of course, would just look at me and cry harder. Not just a normal cry either. It would be one of those cries that makes babies gasp for breath. It was loud, incessant, and oh so hurtful.
It took me a little while to figure out but although she didn’t respond to my lectures she did respond favorably when I started singing Summer Time to her. When I would kiss her little toes and tickle her feet. When I would make up funny rhymes with her name in it and when I would ask her “What ta matter suga, suga?” like I really meant it.
Now that those days are over I wonder did I take the time to soften my stance because I realized that I was talking to a baby or was it just because she was a girl. It’s kind of sad but I don’t know if I would have shown as much affection to my child if she was a boy. I’m not sure I would have been as aware of his humanity.