Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daddy's Girl in a BOY World

In September, we will celebrate our 5 year college reunion and our 5 year wedding anniversary.

I grew up in a house of girls. And on top of that I am the oldest daughter and a Daddy's Girl! When I got injured in any way, I was immediately met with overwhelming compassion. My mother had band aids, neosporine, Advil and a kiss. My dad had ice, wraps and a comforting embrace. I was asked at least five to ten routine questions like, "Are you OK Baby?", "Are you bleeding?", "How bad does it hurt?" , "Did you hear anything crack or pop?", Etc... Overwhelming compassion. Deep concern. Loving care.

The other day I sat down at our computer desk and hit my knee really hard. It was not major, but it hurt and took some skin off. I was waiting for the reaction of my husband who was in the same room and witnessed what happened. No response. Did not even get up. Not concerned. And then, a slight interest as he watch me grab my knee and try to not to yell. But it was really more like an interrogation... "What'd you do?" "How'd you even hit your knee?" Not exactly what I was expecting. Not the reaction I had come to know for over 20 years.

Later that night we talked about it and I asked him how his family responded to injuries when he was growing up in house of BOYS?! "I guess you didn't really get a big reaction unless it was major, huh?" He agreed and reiterated that it was not some big thing where anyone would ever run and check on him. When you are a boy, you are expected to get over things on your own I guess?! "If they did respond, were they compassionate and concerned or scolding and interrogating?" He said it was the interrogation stuff, like, What'd you do? How'd you do that? or my personal favorite thing for anyone to say when I'm hurting... Why'd you do that? (Because we all plan to have an accidental injury.)

So... In the world of love and marriage and parenting... I figured out that he responded to me in a way that seemed perfectly normal to him. It's what he knew. It did not mean he didn't care. It did not mean he didn't love me. It was "normal" to him even though my "normal" was very far away in another expectation.

That lead us to talking about how we will react to our son. Why do people treat BOYS so differently? It's good to be compassionate. Right?

- Daddy's Girl


the wyatts said...

i so relate to this post...i also grew up in a household of mostly girls with three sisters and one brother. my mom and dad are very compassionate.

i think a lot of times we don't want our boys to grow up being sissy pants so we teach them to "be tough", "suck it up" or "get over it". It is almost like we teach them not to express what they are feeling. I guess there is a don't want your baby milking a small boo-boo for everything they can get but we should not withhold compassion just because they are boys.

Valarie said...

Have you heard of or read "Bringing up Boys"? I read it when I had Shiloh. I was the same as you, I had a sister and all I knew was girls. Not only did the book open my eyes to my son, but also to my husband. It's good how you thought things through and didn't just jump on your husband for not being sensitive enough for you.


Chip said...

The tough part ... it's not cut and dried. I was in a boy-heavy family (although most of my youth I was an "only child" since my brother is nine years older). But I was the baby of the family and tended to pretty heavily by my Mom. And she was compassion city. Even stranger ... I tend to be show more compassion to Veda than I do to the kids sometimes. Deep psychology somewhere there, eh?

Writeaway said...

Love this post. You're right - everyone responds the way they've been raised to respond. I think we may have spoiled you, though.... :>) We just watched and loved your every move!

Julie said...

I found your blog through Angela's. I read this post and really loved it. I think it is awesome that you processed it like this. Do you know how many women would have been hurt and angry? How awesome that you could see the truth and not take it personally. I wish I had known that in the early years of marriage.

In fact I am still learning to see through those eyes, 25 years married. I just wanted to tell you to keep looking at things that way. It will make a HUGE difference in your marriage.

I saw also that you are in Atlanta. Where do you go to church in Atlanta? I just moved from there to Ellijay 1 1/2 years ago.

It's nice to meet you,