Third Letter to My Daughter

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18 weeks, One Day

My Dearest Elizabeth Anne,
Finally, I can call you by name! My second daughter, Elizabeth Anne Geib.
It is now some two months since we were informed that we were to have another girl. As the doctor told me this I felt a bit dazed, immediately having a vision of myself in fifteen years: a household with two teenaged daughters, a wife, with myself retreating to my “man cave” in the garage to life weights. “Death by estrogen!” one friend joked with me. I also had a moment’s sadness when I realized I would most likely never have a son. My family name will probably end with me.
But it was only for a moment. It will be “Richard and his girls” from now on, and that trips off the tongue just fine for me. But I hesitate to call myself qualified to advise or parent girls, especially as they get older. Despite decades of experience, the female sex in many important ways remains a mystery to me. I know boys, having been one myself. I would father a son with confidence. I understand the male sex. It is entirely the opposite with the female sex.
So I feel some trepidation.
On the other hand, there is a sweetness that is unique between parents and an opposite sex child — a father and daughter, mother and son. On the same day we discovered your sex I stood in front of a young mother holding and kissing her young son in line at the post office. I felt sadness for your mother, that she would never have a son to dote over. I myself have learned the special place a daughter has in a father’s heart.
So it has been with Julia, so it will be with you, my Elizabeth.
Moreover, I fear that in focusing so much on your gender I will overlook the immense diversity among women. No doubt there will be commonalities particular to all women you will share with your big sister and mother, but there will me more ways in which you will be special and unique unto yourself. What kind of baby and little girl will you be, Elizabeth? What shall be the slant of your mind? The temper of your temperament? Only time will reveal.
But here we are at the twenty-one weeks gestation, and you are half way until your grand debut out into our oxygen-filled world. Compared to your big sister at this time, you seem to be more physically active. Your mother reports you “kick like a horse” and earlier than Julia.
Maybe you will be the athlete of the family?
So much about you will be so peculiar to yourself and nobody else. Upon reflection, I suspect that your gender is less important than your unique character traits. Less important it is that you will be a woman, and much more important it will be what kind of woman you become. Part of this equation will be the job your mother and I do raising you and the choices you yourself make, part of it will be genetic and is already inscribed in your DNA.
Yet I know so little about you as of now!
Even with your big sister, Julia, it took a year or two for the color of her personality to start to shine forth. Only in the last two months have I come to feel some traction in being able to communicate and reason with her.
But rest assured, my little Elizabeth, that you are very much in your family’s thoughts! Your mother and I talk of you often, and you are included in our conversations with Julia. You right under your mother’s heart and commune with her in that mother-child connection that is beyond words.
And rest assured that when you finally emerge into our world of oxygen that mine will be just about the first face you encounter. I will cut your umbilical chord. Along with your mother, we will finally greet you face to face. I will follow you to the nurse’s station where they will clean you, weigh you, etc.
And in those early weeks we will make sure you are fed and warm and clean and safe. You will feel your mother’s and my skin and know our smells. We will shower you with kisses and surround you with love. You will come to know your older sister, and she will become your lifelong ally. In short, you will join our family.
Until then, we await you expectantly.
Your Father,
Richard James Geib

Finally, I can call you by name! My second daughter, Elizabeth Anne Geib.


  • Felix

    Had to comment on the coincidences. I came upon your old website after doing a search for “poetas mexicanos”. Is that your Spanish. It’s exceptional. That brought me to your new blog. We have 3 daughters. I too wanted a son. I felt a lot of sadness and disappointment like you after learning that our 3rd was another girl, only much worse, to my chagrin. Of course, 1 1/2 now, she has been loved just as if she were our first from day one. I was also struck by the name of your first, Julia, which is the name we also chose for our third. Touching letter. Blessings.