|IT’S NO LONGER A MAN’S WORLD. OH HOW THINGS CHANGE|
I remember hearing the phrase, “It’s a man’s world,” when I was a young kid growing up in Mississippi. Actually, I heard it a lot. My mother was the only female in our home. Four to one aren’t good odds. I didn’t give it much though at the time, but after I grew up I came to realize it’s all in one’s perspective. From mine it was a big lie.
It’s not a man’s world.
I have three daughters and four granddaughters to prove it! I now know how my mother must have felt being outnumbered all those years ago.
My wife and I were married four years before our first bundle of joy came into the world. I just knew our little one would be a boy to carry on the family’s name. Tina and I sat down and finally agreed upon a name. He was going to be Aaron Asa Algood.
Aaron Asa quickly became Amanda Alice on September 15, 1979.
A second bundle of joy was anticipated a couple years later. By that time I had decided he would be named Asa Marshall. His was changed to Rebecca Suzanne.
By the time our third child came along in 1984 I had given up on a guy’s name. I loved my little girls and couldn’t have cared less if it was a boy or a girl. Girls have a way of wrapping fathers around their little fingers. We welcomed Leah Catherine to the world on the first day of June that year.
I didn’t realize it during those early years, except for Sundays when they wore dresses to church, but children are pretty much gender neutral.
That slowly changed as they got older. Before I knew it they were becoming young ladies. It seemed to have happened so fast I didn’t realize what had hit our household until the day I came home from work and went into our bathroom to take a shower. It was suddenly obvious I was the only male in the house.
We lived in a very small house with one functional bathroom for the five of us. As I looked around that day I saw bras hanging everywhere. They were on the shower curtain rod, the towel holder, the door knob, draped across the back of the toilet and hanging from the cabinets. I never knew there were so many different kinds of bras. Training bras, sports bras, lacey bras, push-up bras… bras of every color and shape imaginable.
That was the day it really hit me. It was no longer a man’s world. As my little girls became young ladies I became a male gender, and Dad became not-so-cool. They used to taunt me running from the bathroom to their room with only a towel wrapped around them. “Put some clothes on!” I’d yell.
I didn’t grow up with sisters, so a house full of girls was very intimidating. I found myself spending more and more time out in the garage wondering what had happened to the little girls that used to live at my house. And they were spending more and more time on the phone talking low and giggling.
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when I was sitting at the dinner table one evening and I became all too aware that our youngest had noticeably blossomed overnight. I tried to not notice the overwhelming change.
She looked at me and smirked, “Notice anything different, Dad?”
She sat up straight and huffed out her chest. Again she asked, “Do you notice anything now?”
Her older sisters were trying hard not to laugh.
I lied as I picked at the food on my plate, “No, not really.” It was hard to ignore the obvious.
She blurted out, “I’m wearing a water bra! “I’m like a camel. I have two humps, and I can make it across a dessert!”
My jaw dropped. One of her sisters had a mouth full of milk that sprayed across the table. The other had tears running down her face, and was gasping for air. My poor wife had to leave the table. She was about to choke.
Then before I knew it days turned into weeks and weeks became years, My little girls had become women. One by one I walked them down the aisle and gave them away. The Algood name was changed three times. It became Wilke, Bottoms and Roberts.
Today they have daughters of their own… four of them thus far. Then a funny thing happened the other night. My ten year old granddaughter was sitting across the table from me eating a sandwich. She was wearing some sort of sleeveless tee shirt, and I noticed an extra strap that had slid down on her shoulder.
A knot formed in my stomach. I pointed at it and asked, “What’s that?”
She had an old familiar smirk on her face when she rolled her eyes and said, “Duhhhh! I’m wearing a bra, Boo Boo.”
I shook my head and asked, “Are you already that old?”
She nodded, “Yep.” Then she finished her sandwich and asked, “Wanna go outside and play?”
I cherish the days we spend together. It won’t be long before I’ll become that not-so-cool guy that lives at Nana’s house. We’ll be “gendered” again and she probably won’t want to hang out with me anymore. I expect I’ll catch her whispering low and giggling on the telephone, just like the generation that preceded her. Also, I anticipate spending more time in my man cave alone… most likely pecking on the keyboard and reflecting back to the days when Boo Boo was gender neutral and cool.