Over the holiday weekend, this story from my first pregnancy came up about that only kind of funny time when I sobbed in the Lowes parking lot staring at a dot of drying paint on the top of a paint can because it was dawning on me that I had never considered the possibility that I would give birth to a boy.
In the months leading up to Asher’s gender reveal appointment, I had been telling myself that there was just as much of a chance that we would have a boy as a girl (50%, as it turns out. Funny how that works.) and even though I knew that in my brain, I don’t think I really got it. Consciously and unconsciously, I had worked out a nursery that involved deep raspberry walls with pops of bright green in the room and maybe some greys, we had a girl’s name picked out, and I was mentally working through all of the conversations that I would be having with her through the firsts that lay ahead for both of us. I don’t know that I even had a preference for a girl, it was just where my brain lead me…if I was thinking about parenting a teenager, I was thinking about the challenges that a teenage girl would face. Because, you know, I was one.
So on the day that we went to pick out paint, it’s fair to say that I hadn’t thought once about wall color for a little boy’s room. I was dead set against any kind of blue and impulsively went with yellow. We finished our shopping, but through the whole trip it was all slowly dawning on me that all of those conversations I had been having in my mind with a fabricated 6/12/16/25-year-old girl weren’t relevant anymore. I had to start thinking about all of those talks, those different needs, the different challenges and triumphs through the eyes of a little boy which got the hormone pump churning so that by the time we left the store, I had come to the conclusion that I was completely unfit to raise a little boy. This culminated in a shoulder shaking sob with me choking out, “What if he hates yellow? And I don’t even know what to do about his peniiiiiiiiiiiisssssss.”
This is what it’s like being me: thinking about paint leads to a philosophical meltdown. Please buy Drew a drink the next time you see him.
Fast forward three years, and on Saturday night, glow-in-the-dark bracelets were being passed around to kids and I heard Asher say, as we always do, “I want that one, because yellow is my favorite!” and that moment in the Lowes parking lot came zooming into focus. Of COURSE Asher’s favorite color is yellow, because I am nothing if not the butt of a cosmic joke or two. I looked at Drew across the fire and said, “Remember the Lowes meltdown? Yellow? Yellow.” And Drew nodded the universal all-knowing parent nod because ya’ll, Asher has a deep devotion to the color yellow. It’s his honest to god favorite color and all that public blubbering that I once did over worrying that I wouldn’t know what a little boy would want? Well that was a clearly a big waste of some good quality alligator tears. Ha ha, Universe. Ha. Ha.
Of course the laser beam clarity of hindsight is shining a light on the plainly obvious almost four years later. Gender aside, I had no idea who I was going to be parenting because this little person was going to come into the world with his or her own agenda and I was just buckling up for the ride. All that time that I spent daydreaming about fabricated conversations with this mythical child was my way of wrapping my brain around one tiny made up version of an unknown future. Now that we’re pacing ourselves through that future, I, of course, can’t imagine it without this little boy and will readily admit to a small sense of relief that we’re having a second boy, because honey, if there is such a thing as knowing this, I know how to anticipate what a little boy will need, and I know that it isn’t really gender specific at all.
But in case you’re wondering, baby number two is getting lovely grey walls. A completely irrelevant detail for the next adventure, and one that thankfully, did not require any public humiliation to choose. Take that Universe. Take that.