My husband was perfectly happy with having one child. We had a son. A sweet boy who is — most of the time — a ray of sunshine who just wants to please everyone. He wakes up happy and spends the day happy and goes to bed happy. He is also ditzy and could get lost in his own backyard and is thrilled when he can spend all day by himself with his face in a book.
He is basically me.
And my husband doesn’t understand either one of us a lot of the time.
In those days, we often joked that we maybe we should just stop at one child because our son was so easy. The next kid was for sure going to be some kind of demon hellcat. But I didn’t want to stop with one child. I had the nagging sensation that many moms have, that, no, there was another child who was out there and that kid needed to be born. And I was hopeful. My mom said I was an easy child to raise, so maybe I would just have easy children, right?
And then our daughter was born.
She is my husband in a 5-year-old child’s body. She is loud and opinionated and has a map of the world emblazoned on her brain. She’s ready to go. She often wakes up in a mood, spends her day knowing how awesome she is, and goes to bed whenever she damn well pleases. She cares deeply about being hilarious. And oh god, her hair, it doesn’t matter how much I brush it or braid or try to pin it down — that hair just does whatever it wants, kind of like her. She isn’t exactly demon spawn, but I have already warned her kindergarten teacher that she is a little more “fiery” than her brother was.
Her dad is smitten. He adores her freckles, her comedic timing, her unwavering belief in herself, and her place in the world. He literally swoons over her. That untamed hair. That fearlessness. That innate understanding of what is funny. The way she skis down a hill with only speed in her heart. The way she sings “Rocky Mountain High” in her little girl voice while he plays the guitar.
My husband didn’t know how much he needed this little girl in his life. She can blink her blue eyes at him, and he would climb a freaking mountain just to make her happy. When she questions everything and challenges everyone and makes inappropriate jokes just like him — I sometimes think he might keel over from pride.
And in turn, she is just as smitten with him. He is the first man she will ever love, and she wants nothing more than to make him proud of her.
He knows her in a way that I don’t think I ever will. One time, she was hysterically crying at a neighborhood party and I tried to get her to breathe to calm down. That trick had always worked with her brother. He breathed with me, he calmed down, we moved on with our life. But while my daughter and I breathed, her nostrils flared angrily and she just become more and more agitated. My husband saw what was happening, took her aside, and simply told her to knock it off with her attitude. And she did. She bucked up and went and had fun the rest of the night. He knows how to communicate with her because they are the same person. I don’t get her.
He finally has someone whom he understands. Someone who wants to hear it exactly how it is and not sugarcoat it. They fight and butt heads and yell at each other and then the next minute they are wrestling and tickling each other and everything is perfectly fine. My son and I would just like to live in our little happy worlds and never butt heads with anyone thankyouverymuch.
He didn’t even know that he needed her until she was right there, telling fart jokes, and laughing until chocolate milk comes out of her nose, looking up at him like he knows the answers to all the questions. I never thought my husband would ever love a girl as much as he loves me (and his mom), but I’m so happy that he does.
This article was originally published on