I don't know if I've ever fully been honest with people about the struggles I had growing up in a family full of boys.
Now, mind you, in my immediate family it was my mom, my brother and I for much of the time, so there my brother was out numbered (even the dog was a girl, and the cat was neutered so...).
But, on my dad's side of the family I was THE girl. Born smack-dab in the midst of a VERY male-centric family. I was also the sister of the first born great-grandson, born to the first-born grandson, so I kind of got a first row seat to the grandness that was all things boy.
Whenever we went to visit family I was surrounded by boys and all things boy. Army men, toy guns, camouflage, etc. I also had 4 boy cousins who were very close in age to me. Along with Uncles galore (and one very cool Aunt, who was also the only girl with 4 brothers...).
Sometimes, it felt like instead of being treated special because I was the girl, I was treated as an after thought. I remember pictures being taken of the boy cousins together, and being left out (but eventually let into the pictures). I remember the boys getting to go and do things together and one Uncle (who I'm sure was trying to be nice to me, but my sensitivity got the better of me) telling me that I couldn't come because it was a boy thing and I was a girl...
It made me a stronger person, I know it. I was very Tom-boy a incredibly competitive. It made me strive to be faster and stronger because, let's face it, I needed to be able to keep up with them if I wanted to be included.
But, as I grew into womanhood, it made me incredibly self-conscious and self-doubting. I was not a typical girl. Dresses and make up and other "girly" things did not interest me AT ALL. I would rather hang out with the guys watching Army of Darkness and Monty Python movies than watching chick flicks (Seriously, a guy friend actually introduced me to the Princess Bride...). I was also drawn into leadership roles in ministry, and was told that those were reserved for "the menfolk", which made me doubt my womanhood even more.
I have journal pages filled of doubt. I thought that God had made a mistake when He created me. I wondered, for the life of me, why I was made a girl instead of a boy.
Now, none of this had anything to do with sexual preference. I was never a closet lesbian, or secretly bisexual. Of course, knowing the way that some people think, I probably would have been encouraged to "investigate" that side, but I always have been attracted to men.
Once, I even looked my name up in the baby name book in the book store, thinking that perhaps my name meant something really cool.
Nope. Carrie, short for Caroline. A feminine form of the name Charles, which means, "Strong and masculine."
Talk about your ego blow! Even my name was wrong!
Fast forward 12 years to 32 year old Carrie.
On Tuesday I went in for my regular OB appointment to check the baby's heart rate, pee in a cup and have my weight and BP checked. I also am super lucky to have an OB who does an ultrasound at every appointment just because. I asked her if maybe we could have a peek to see if we could see anything gender-wise with this baby. She was skeptical because I'm only 15 weeks, so it's kind of early to tell for sure.
Within 30 seconds I saw it plainly.
I'm a mom to 4 boys. :)
Relief flooded my veins as I was super nervous about changing things up with having a girl (another post for another time).
As I was processing this whole thing, I realized, everything I experienced, all of my feelings of short comings, it was all preparation for things to come. God knew that I would be a mom to boys. God knew that I needed to be strong and low maintenance to be able to keep up with my amazing brood of boys.
So, if I could go back and talk to my 20 year old self, I would tell myself to buck it up, that the best is yet to come.