“You need to have a boy to carry on the family name.” “It is your responsibility to have a boy. We don’t need more girls. We need a boy.” But, I explain, girls are wonderful and I would love ten more of them. My father had two girls and was happy with them. “Well then your family is history. They’re dead then.”
These were a few of the remarks I got from my husband’s grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. And I was really taken aback. Society has advanced so much but to hear that a girl child is not as welcome as a boy child really threw me for a loop. How could anyone look at my beautiful baby girl and see her as being less than the best? Why is a boy necessary or even desirable when we have her? And if I did have another baby why wouldn’t I want to experience the joy of raising a baby girl again?
My daughter is not a consolation prize. She is not what you accept when you can’t get something better. There is nothing better and I would not favor having a son over her.
Girls carry the family legacy just as much as boys do, and in fact girls are often the glue that holds a family together. It is women that knot the ties that bind. And many of us do carry our father’s names probably either by keeping our maiden names or using our maiden names as a middle name. Whatever accomplishments I may have in my life, whether it is getting a book published or something else, my father’s name will be emblazoned on me and I will do him proud. No, my children will not carry my father’s name, but what is the arrogance of man that he thinks he can pass down his label through every generation? Do men really think that when someone achieves something great six Generations from now anyone is going to look back and say well your great-great-great grandfather must have been a hell of a guy? You can’t pass on a name forever, and if you have posterity worth being celebrated and researched, their mother and her forebears will be researched also.
What we need are patriarchal family units, but a more matriarchal society. The roles and achievements of women are just as important as the roles and achievements of men, and we are as much part of our family lineages as males are.
So no, I don’t need a son. I have a daughter to carry my husband’s family and mine. She is as much a Minner and an Applegate as she is a McLemore, and she will be part of the McLemore line after she marries. It is time to talk about the legacy of daughters.