About daughters and sons…

So which do we prize more, our daughters or our sons?

photo (3)My mind wouldn’t normally go there, but a story I heard on NPR this morning made me start musing. It was a report on the terrible avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed many Sherpas. A mother was interviewed, and was introduced as someone who had “lost her only son.”

It made me think…have I ever heard of a mother “losing her only daughter?” I don’t think so.

First, my thoughts went to the historical perspective. There was a time when a woman – or a family – needed a son to carry on the family business, the family farm, the family name. To provide protection, security. Go back very far into the history of western civilization and you get to a time when succession and inheritance only went to a male of a given line. My guess is that there are still cultures today with that rule.

And next, I considered my own children. Would the loss of our son be more devastating than the loss of one of our daughters? I don’t even like to contemplate the possibility of that kind of loss. And I discovered that there’s no way I can answer that question. I pray I never have to.

But I do know I have different feelings for my son than I do for my two girls. I’ve never been able to clarify in my own mind whether that fact is because he’s our only boy, or because he’s our baby. Perhaps the reason doesn’t matter. What is important to me is that each of them is special and wonderful in his/her own, unique way. In some ways I can identify better with my girls, I think; I never knew many boys (or men, for that matter) when I was growing up, and in some respects males are quite foreign to me. Actually, I’m thankful to have had a boy so that I could begin to understand boys a little better.

I do know I love each of my darlings more than I could ever begin to express. And yet I truly do feel oddly different about the girls v. our boy.

It’s a puzzler, this question of male v. female children. I’d love to hear other thoughts…



10 thoughts on “About daughters and sons…

  1. You are lucky to have girls too. I have two boys, grown up, flew away.
    I think if I had a girl — my feelings would be the same. My love
    would be equal. However, now that I have my grandson,
    Napoleon- I love that kid. I love him more than my own two boys. He
    is my salt on my margarita.
    I love your blog, your writing voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, thank you for your thoughts. You say a lot of what I was thinking about when I wrote this post. Your description of your daughter reminds me somewhat of our oldest, also a daughter. Maybe that’s just part of being the oldest – the being so in control of one’s self. One thing I know for sure about ours – when she does get upset it’s so rare that I know it’s something significant! -Amy


  3. I’ve also contemplated this. I have a daughter who is 21 and a son who is 14. They are very different in personality. My daughter is more like her father, logical, not so emotional, driven, unflappable… we call her Ms Spock. She struggles when people show extremes of emotion but she cares deeply about people and is hugely loyal and charitable.

    Of course she was my first, I had 22 nephews and one niece when she came along, she was the first girl in my family for 20 years and I never thought I would have a girl, nobody did in my family.

    We had 7 years together just us (and the husband who was always at work) and we had an incredibly strong bond that we still have now.

    My son came along unexpectedly and we just fell in love with him, he was easy to love, so good, kind, considerate, cute, funny, calm and pleasant and he’s remained that way.

    He is more like me, wears his heart more on his sleeve, freer with his emotions, hugely empathic, a real carer, a real effortless giver and a total loon just like me.

    They love each other dearly which makes me very happy.

    However it’s very different the way I love them. I love my daughter as an equal in lots of ways, a fellow woman, she was always grown up, she was born mature and never felt like a baby to me whereas my son was such a baby and still is in so many cute ways, I love when I pass his room and see him still snuggled up to his raggy polar bear even though he’s nearly 6 feet tall and built like a wrestler.

    The way I see it, is girl are kind of nothing new to us, they are women, we know what women are like, what happens, what we do, what we expect, we kind of know their story (I know we don’t every really know it fully, but you know they are not ‘new’ to us) whereas our son/s are. They offer us a unique insight into the male psyche, they let us affect the male psyche, we can mould them to the men we want our daughters to meet, we trust them with our love implicitly, we have no need to feel tentative, will he let me down or won’t he, besides our fathers if we’re lucky they are the males in our lives who we are the closest to and they love us in a different way. I feel like a girl always prepares to leave in more than a physical way, she prepares to leave and be herself and a boy doesn’t he prepares to leave and still be a part of you.

    Gosh I find this so hard to put into words but hopefully you find something of what I’m trying to say.

    I couldn’t choose which one to save if I could save one, no way. I watched Sophie’s Choice and it broke my heart to the point I was inconsolable and couldn’t continue watching it and have never made it to the end.

    People had to make such decisions in their lives, can you believe that? That is awful in the extreme.

    I don’t think we love any more than another (unless you’re my mother then she clearly loves one of her sons more than the other 6 kids combined) but I think the way we love them, the relationship we have with them is just intrinsically different.


  4. Being that we have only one daughter, in between two sons, I have to say that I couldn’t handle the loss of any one of them. But, thinking about your post, I would miss each of them for different reasons. My oldest because he is the most like me emotionally and his perspectives about—everything. My daughter because she is my clone, and we find the humor in the same odd things, we are very content spending time being hermits, and both independent. My youngest because he is the most compassionate and empathetic of them all. He takes care of me, and is sensitive to my moods. As a whole, they are my life. If one little piece of that were taken from me, nothing would be complete, whether it were to be our only daughter or one of our sons. Each one of them is precious no matter what sex.


  5. I always knew I wanted to be a Mom but I envisioned myself with 3 or 4 Daughters! I always hoped for that to come true. However when my 2nd child was a boy, I instantly fell so madly is love with him, it surprised me. I do love all my children to the moon and back but there is something unique about my Boy too.


    • I always pictured myself with just girls, too, so it was a big shock when I found out we were having a boy.Took some getting used to, but I’m so glad we have “some of each.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  6. I think our relationships with our children are governed by their sex. I have a very different but equally good relationship with both my children but from the early days it was clear that there was a difference in parenting each, of course some of that is down to personality, but not all.


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