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Friday, January 16, 2015

So you want to raise a boy . . . again?

On December 29th at 20 weeks pregnant I lay on the table at the ultrasound clinic, certain the tech would confirm my motherly intuition. 

All the dreams, impressions, comments from strangers, coincidences – all of it said I was having a girl.

“You’re having a girl,” the tech was supposed to say.
“I knew it,” I was supposed to say.
I had my daughter’s name picked out.
I had her first outfit.
In my mind, everything was set.
Four boys, two girls!  Eden would have a sister. 

But, the tech didn’t say I was having a girl.
“There he is, it’s a boy,” she said with delight.  She didn’t know she was supposed to “It’s a girl.”  I hadn’t told her that.

To hear I was having a boy was about as foreign to me as if she’d said “Congratulations.  You’re having an alien.”

I told my boys I was crying tears of joy.  “I am so happy,” I said, choking through the sobs. I asked the counselor to come hug me so I could hide my face in his shoulders.  I was doing one of those ugly cries.  I have been very emotional during this pregnancy, but what was this I was feeling?  I realized I’d made one major mistake with this pregnancy.  For the first time ever, I picked the gender of my unborn child in my mind from the very start.  It was a girl.  I wanted a repeat of Eden.  I had all the clothes.  I had the pink room.  I had the hair bows!  With all my other children, gender didn’t matter.  I’d wanted a baby anyway the baby came.  So why did it matter this time?

Truth was I wasn’t sad to be having a boy at all.  I love boys.  My boys are the best.  I love being surrounded by them, their energy, the special way they nurture me. I love watching them set goals and accomplish difficult things. I love watching them run, jump, slam dunk, climb, throw, wrestle (ok, not so much the wrestling part), pray, study and learn.  I love having a husband who is so good because I know my son’s have an incredible example. 

I realized I was crying because I was saying goodbye to my almost there/just within reach potential second daughter.  All the things I’d planned we’d do, all the cute dresses, all the tutus!  Once I got a grip and told myself I’d work through the emotions of this later, my thought was “I’m having a boy.  I’m having a boy!  OH MY GOSH!  This is amazing, but I know nothing about raising a boy.”  I thought this while sitting in a room with my four sons.

I know nothing about raising boys.
Crazy, but that’s how I felt.
Perhaps overwhelmed is a better way to say it.

What do I know about boys?  I know I love my boys.  This is a normal day for me.  
My boys with their friends.  Eden and I are outnumbered!

My boys!  They play, they eat, they work, they eat, I discipline, I threaten, they obey, I reward, they eat, I threaten again, they say sorry, they play, they eat, they wrestle, I yell “Take it outside!”  We have lots of basketballs and skateboards. They experiment with my tools, search and leave their sport equipment all over the house. We do a lot of hiking, love to travel, the counselor takes them camping, SUNS games, UofA games, monster truck events– you name it – we’ve done it with our boys.


They’re so special,
they’re so amazing,
they’re so complex!

The world tries to pull boys in so many directions to count.  As a parent, I feel like it's a strange game of tug-of-war.  There are drugs, addictions, laziness, and violent video games.  So many things that corrupt. There is fighting, gangs and wars.  There is showing off to friends and ridiculous stunts with consequences.  I know, I have four younger brothers.  I heard the stories of the pool-hopping, the car chases, the girl’s they liked with the pretty blond hair.  Boys are exhausting.

And with all that, boys have a lot to aspire to.  My brothers did it.  Because my parent’s loved them, feed them, prayed for them and taught them how to work they are all amazing men.  John Mayer says it best, doesn’t he?  

I know daughters have just as much potential and complexities, but I get girls.  I’m a girl.  I feel like I have some sort of grip on raising my daughter.  Both boys and girls will make their mark in the world, find a promising career, fall in love.  But, my boys.  They are a mystery.  Oh how I want each of my boys to be good to their wife, like their dad is to me.  Someday each of my boys will be a dad too, they will be a provider of their own family.  Most importantly, I want them to grow up and be happy.

How do I do that?

How do I raise a boy who grows up to be a happy man? A good man?

I’ve done some soul searching.  I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer.  Having a fifth son has forced me to get a grip on my growing basketball team.  
“My dream team,” I’m calling them.  
"I can do this!  I can do this!” My new mantra!  

And then I remembered a book from my childhood.  So You Want To Raise A Boy by W. Cleon Skousen, published in 1958.  

This book sat on my parent’s book shelf in the living room.  I remember staring at this book (and the very cute boy on the cover) time and time again thinking “If there’s a book written on raising boys, it must be a very difficult thing to do.”  I watched my mom reference it over and over again, each time blowing off steam then to regain her composure, bow her head in prayer and try again. 

I borrowed the worn book from my parent's last week and after reading it, I wanted to through it against the wall.  Yep, it confirms the inevitable.  Boys are complex little people who can go in all sorts of different directions.  They don’t make sense, they do crazy things and they have lots of testosterone.  I was hoping for a check list.  
Where was my check list?  
Do A, B and C and you will have a perfect boy, but the book doesn’t say that. 

Then I got to the chapter 29 “What is the Ideal Mother.”  From the first sentence, my racing mind was finally silenced.  I felt peace.  I could relate to every single word.  I read it in pure humility.  This is when I got it.  Each sentence seemed to feed my soul.  Everything was making sense.  All the confusion I felt was replaced with a small smile appearing on my face.  I felt so honored to be the mother of boys; to be the mother of almost six children.  Boys, girls; whatever!  They all need love . . . and food!

“The ideal mother is struggling toward heaven and drawing her children with her.”
“By design the ideal mother is a perfect imperfectionist.”
“An ideal mother becomes the model or standard by which her son will judge women.”
“A wise mother finds herself in a key position to guide the entire family toward unity and solidarity.”

What a position of power I have.  Wow!  Shaping these boys, all my children that will someday be leaders in their homes, cities and countries.  It’s such a privilege.  I can do this.  It’s what I was born to do.

I have asked myself “Is Eden enough?”  I have one daughter.  Since finding out I’m having another boy, I look at her and know 100% she’s enough.  She’s my perfect feminine spirit and I’m so blessed to have her.  We have such a special bond, my oh my!

Since finding out I’m having another boy, I feel a bit softer towards my boys.  They need just as much love and nurturing as girls.  Being pregnant makes me a better person and mother.  I have a constant reminder of the sacrifice of what I’m doing; how they are worth it and the rewards and joy to come.  I can’t wait to meet my new son (just typing this I have tears in my eyes).  My five most precious moments in the world are when the doctor holds up my brand new baby and introduces us for the first time.  I’m so happy I get to again try to figure out how to raise a boy.  Most of all, I can’t wait to see my boys with a new little brother.  There will be laughter, there will be joy and if I have anything to do with it, there will be cake!

So, what was my husband's reaction at the ultrasound clinic?  Fist-pumping excitement all the way.


  1. I love excited for you. Any baby is a treasure. So lucky. I yearn for another r baby girl. But my boys are the sweetest most loving handsome boys. And I am lucky to have them. Hugs! Awesome post.

    1. I alway love to hear from you, Julie. You are such an example to me of wonderful motherhood. Your kiddos are so cute. It's adorable how you gush/tease/love on them.

  2. I don't normally comment on the blogs I read but I have to say Congratulations. I myself would have loved to have more boys to me they are easier to raise. I have 1 boy and 3 girls, my goodness the girls are quite the handful. God has truly blessed you with a wonderful family.

    1. Thank you Angelsong. Your comment is so sweet. I keep hearing girls can be a handful. Perhaps it's because I have just one Eden is so easy. Either way, I realize I have six beautiful children and boy or girl is a huge blessing. I'll keep 'em! :)

  3. Oh Laura it's been too long... How I remember having my 2nd boy, back in the days before ultrasound, when at delivery they announce the gender of your child. I had a totally different pregnancy and was sure he was a girl. He had to be, I had already bought his dress to be blessed in it even had a bonnet. I felt so guilty afterwards when I was somewhat disappointed but should have been grateful he was healthy and strong. Lol but I had to really work at it. Funny thing is I never got my girl!!! I figured I would have a granddaughter, that would make up for it.... Nope all boys!!! Congratulations to you and your family, I think of you often and smile!! Love you and your blogs Laura!!! Hugs, Julie Pelsma Powell

  4. "فى الخدمة شركة تنظيف منازل
    تقدم لك خدمة تنظيف منازل بالرياض وبكافة المدن السعودية بأفضل الأساليب المتخصصة فى التنظيف على مستوى العالم من خلال فريق مدرب وذو خبرة فى التعامل مع المساحات المختلفة وكافة أنواع الأثاث و الأرضيات مستخدما أدوات عالية الجودة وفعالة فى تنظيف المنازل بشكل كامل"
    فى الخدمة تقدم لكم أفضل خدمة نظافة بالرياض :-
    شركة فى الخدمة شركة تنظيف بالرياض
    من أفضل الشركات في هذا المجال لأننا متميزون ومنفردون في جودة الخدمة التي نقدمها لنوفر لك عزيزي العميل مستوي النظافة والجودة التي تفوق توقعاتك لأننا نهتم بأدق التفاصيل و أول همنا هو خدمة العمل وكسب ثقة العميل , كما ان لدينا طاقم عمل متكامل مدرب علي أعلي درجة من الأحترافية والأتقان في مجال التنظيف كما تنفرد شركتنا بأستخدام مجموعة أدوات ومعدات وتقنيات التنظيف حيث التطور والتقدم في أستخدام التكنولوجيا الحديثة كما أننا نستخدم مجموعة مميزة وفعالة من المواد المنظفه التي تساعد في عمليات التنظيف ."
    "فى الخدمة شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض
    و بكافة المدن السعودية بأفضل الأساليب المتخصصة فى تسليك المجارى والتخلص من المواد المترسبة فى مواسير الصرف الصحى مستوى العالم من خلال فريق مدرب وذو خبرة فى التعامل مع كافة أنواع الإنسدادات فى مواسير المجارى "

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