I’ve been blessed with two amazing sons and our family is complete. We have the boy toys, the mini wardrobe full of stripes and plaids and more stripes, and I’ve learned the physics of peeing while standing. I’m a good boy mom.
There’s one big, big thing I’m missing out on though.
I will not have the chance to get reacquainted with the most beloved books of my childhood and relive the joy of reading them for the first time through my kids’ eyes (ears?). Children’s literature holds such a special place in my heart, and none more so than the books that introduced me to females who are bold, silly, wise, questioning, thoughtful and idealistic. The real reason I wish I has daughters is because of books.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t project gender stereotypes.
Boys can like princesses, girls can like trucks. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s true, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever have a summer where my boys and I read through The Baby-Sitters Club anthology together. Lounging by the pool, passing paperbacks back and forth, debating whether Stacy or Claudia has better style and if Mary Anne and Logan are MFEO. It’s doubtful that my boys will ever show interest in my well-thumbed copies of Anne of Green Gables, though I may be able to sneak in Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve convinced my preschooler that Eloise is a book about an elevator and a turtle, but will he so willingly indulge me and read The Secret Garden, Island of the Blue Dolphins, or Julie and the Wolves? Without a daughter I’m left with no one to pass along these books and characters that are so dear to me.
It really is a shame; boys miss out on so much great literature.
I was a bookish girl who happily completed required reading and devoured anything else I could get my hands on. There are some confusing and lonely tween and teen (and thirty-something!) years, but, thankfully, there’s a troop of no-nonsense female literary characters to help guide girls through. Where would I be without Ramona, Margaret and Sarah, Plain & Tall? I’m sure there are plenty of fine young men in novels that will capture our imagination and fill the void, right? I may even find Hardy Boys to be an appropriate substitute for Nancy Drew.
While you girl moms are reading your way through the delightful nostalgia of the American Girl series, I’ll be on the hunt for boy books that don’t involve dead dogs (I’m looking at you Where the Red Fern Grows). Sneak me a copy of Molly Save the Day! Don’t take it for granted. The sheer number of heroines in literature is a treasure trove for girls eager to discover the world and themselves through books.
It isn’t the bows or ruffles I’m missing out on.
Although cute, my real loss is not getting to pass on some of my most beloved childhood memories through books to a daughter.
Boy moms who have gone before me, help! What “boy books” are going to get me excited for the next years of reading to and with my sons? I don’t think anything could ever replace the Heidi, Christy, and Matilda-shaped holes in my heart (and reading list), but I’m willing to try!