I successfully raised two daughters. At least, in my view, they grew up just fine. They are both lovely looking, they have good table manners, they know how to run meetings, and they both have managed to snag equally adorable young men.

We had a discussion about this very thing the last time both girls were home. I have to admit that I was shocked at what they revealed: my girls think that had I had a son, he would have turned out “all wrong.”

By “all wrong,” they explained, I would have encouraged a myriad of behaviors that are frowned upon by the masculine gender. According to the girls, a son born into the Campbell family would begin by playing dolls, move on to acting out plays in the driveway, most likely write poems during adolescence, and abhor sports. “But that sounds like a GIRL,” I told them. “EXACTLY,” they replied.

Apparently, as a mother, I was quite a pansy. I thought ALL mothers read “The Secret Garden” out loud to their kids. And telling children that mud pies are unsanitary is the truth, isn’t it? Although I do remember one particular visit when MY mother, as a houseguest, remarked that “Your girls don’t seem to get very dirty, do they?”

Come on! I was a good old American Mom! I let the girls play outside every day! They could stay out as long as they wanted, as long as they had on number 30 sunscreen, bug spray with DEET, and protective gear such as bike helmets, elbow padding, and shin guards. And by the way, despite protection, both girls managed to break at least two bones each during their childhoods.

The girls went on to say that the Campbell son would have also been “all wrong,” in his leisure pursuits. This boy, let’s call him “Ian,” which is what I would have named him, would have been teased about his name by boys named Bob and Chip. He would have grown up going to theatre camp in the summer, entering poetry contests, being the editor of the school newspaper, and playing bridge. Of course, I have no idea how to play bridge, but the girls assure me that “Ian” would know how.

Poor “Ian.” He would not have many friends. He would be tall and knobby, like his father. And good grief, it wouldn’t be ALL my fault: he would most likely play THE ACCORDION in the basement with his Dad. Consensus further states that “Ian”would have a gap between his front teeth (both my children received the blessings of orthodontics, so I am mystified) and would not attract girls.

It is a great relief to me that I had the appropriate children. Evidently, I am just not cut out to nurture males. I do admit that I am baffled by the results of testosterone: huge shoes, mouth guards of all sizes and colors, Old Spice, and fisticuffs. And I do enjoy “inside voices.” “The Secret Garden” was a WONDERFUL story. Oh, my gosh, it’s true. If I had had sons, they would have all been contestants on “Project Runway.”


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