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