Just today, I listened to radio 4, Women's Hour, Jenni Murray, not doing her winning stand-up comedy act for Red Nose Day this time, for which huge applause, but a very emotional, interesting and serious discussion about how it feels to be the mother of a son, instead of a daughter. Interesting to me, that is, because I am the mother of daughters, and have no experience of sons in my life - blood line or steps.
I remember being delighted when I gave birth to my first daughter, ah! I felt I know you already and when daughter number 2 arrived, my cup flowed over. I had imagined girl babies, not the pink fluffy sort of thing, more the late night chat, borrowing stuff, mutual understanding, hand holding to womanhood sort of thing. I liked netball! I have never understood cricket/rugby/mud.
Also on a much darker note, I remember so harshly my own mother's uber-love for my brother. She set him on a different level to my sister and myself. It really was most confusing and dividing. Now, I am not for one moment suggesting that her adoration of her son was a heathy, well balanced sort of thing, it certainly wasn't, but I have no true understanding of how the maternal, unconditional love could be any different towards a son than it is towards a daughter.
As a mainly single parent, I felt like the man, the protector, the provider. My girls needed protection until they were able and strong enough to look after themselves. It was only in those days that I ever wondered what it would have been like to have had a son, for I too was in need of male protection from time to time. I have never felt lacking for love nor loving from being the mother of daughters... However I have often wonder what their father felt about it all... Would things have been different had our children been sons, and in truth is this the real, subconscious "difference", ie, that when a woman has given birth to a son, she has, beyond any doubt or argument, fulfilled her role and duty in this world?