birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Daughters

I want to write that I loved being a boy. But I can't write that because it is only as I write on this topic that I think I loved being a boy. Otherwise, it never entered my mind that I would love being a boy, that I would not love it or that I wanted to be someone else. I was just what I was.

And. Boys played. Boys wrestled with each other. Boys ran and rode and hit and spit and threw and kicked, tackled, pitched, bled, hiked, fought and that was that!

Should I blush to write about being such a cretin! Should I feel chagrined that I hardly ever noticed how girls played differently, acted differently, were different than boys. Girls were not a part of my world. And, I had a sister.

Of course, eventually I noticed and soon enough girls became my friends. Not my girlfriends but my friends. I didn't leave my childhood boyish activities behind, but I now was able to include girls into my life. I enjoyed the company of girls and as a young teen-ager two or three of my closest friends were girls.

Somehow though, I never left my childhood playing very far behind. I played organized sports throughout my educational career. Through junior high, high school and college these teams and games were a huge part of my life. After college, I still could not leave them behind because I became a coach. Once I would assume that readers would understand that I coached boys teams but now I need to indicate that it was boys' teams that I coached. Boys basketball. Boys' track and field. Football, at least, could only be a boys' sport, although, parenthetically, I once had a girl on my football team. She played two downs the entire year and never, never missed one practice. Her name was Sheryl Miller.

Now. To the whole point of this essay which was not an easy one to write. I was in the middle of my coaching career when my first child was born. I remember all of our friends wondering if I wanted a son. "Of course you do. He will be a player just like you!" I never answered but deep in my heart and then, not so deep, I never, ever wanted my first child to be anything but a girl! I was so thrilled when she was. And then, 13 months later, moments before she was born, I wanted more than anything for child number two to be daughter number two! And she was! I have never once wished I had a son. I have loved my two daughters more than life itself. I am sure I would have loved a son as well, but I will never know.

I guess I was a boy who loved being a boy. I am a man who loves being a man. But, I am a million times richer as a person because of the women in my life whom I love far more than any words ever speak; my wife and two daughters!

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