I told Nicole the other day that having a boy can be problematic for men -- specifically men of a certain generation -- because it blurs the line between being friends and being a parent. It's already something of a stereotype among men of my generation that we become buddies with our sons, in that we embrace all the nerdy, childish things that they do even more so than they do. I already watch cartoons. I already read comic books and play video games. This kid is going to love me.
That's not to say that I wouldn't do those things with a daughter. I would. The problem is that I've been a boy, so I have some amount of knowledge there. I'm going to see this kid as an extension of myself, more so than I would if he were a girl. Every man of my generation wants to give their son the childhood they wanted, even if their childhood was perfectly fine.
To a certain extent, it comes down to ignorance being bliss.
Growing up is hard. It's easier for some, but it's still hard. In fact, it should only ever been measured in degrees of difficulty, with the starting point being "hard" and going from there. Even the most privileged kid has a difficult time growing up. It's just the nature of the beast.
I can try my hardest to understand what it's like to grow up as a second class citizen in this country, but I'll
But I'm intimately aware of that experience, and my son is going to be a possibly straight, definitely white, definitely male, hopefully middle class kid and the fact that I have any legitimate frame of reference for that makes it real to me. And since it's real to me, I want to help him, even though that's not entirely possible (and parents trying to relate to their kids through shared experiences a generation apart usually comes off as more creepy than anything else).
I have no idea what the experience of growing up as a girl in this country is like, so I don't carry any delusions about being able to relate. I carry plenty of other delusions about helping, but none about relating.
But I know the type of situation my son is coming into. I've been there and I've done that. And I think that automatic connection can be difficult for men with sons in a way that isn't the same for men with daughters. We want to get it right this time, even if we didn't really get it wrong before. Hindsight is 20/20 and now we know how to grow-up the best way possible.
We would rule as kids.
Sure, that's a load of garbage. Every child is different and every experience is different and lord knows the world my son is coming into is much, much different than the one I was born into. But it's hard to deny the baggage that comes with having a son.
The goal, of course, is to keep that baggage to myself, to let my kid live his life the way he's meant to live it, not to live my life better than I did.
But I wouldn't have to worry about any of that if we were having a girl...
...I'd be worrying about different things all together. And everything I wrote above would probably apply to my wife.