Ten years ago, the doctor gave me what I deemed the worst news possible.
“Congratulations,” he said. “It’s a girl.”
At least that’s what he said. What I really heard was, “Congratulations, Mr. Fong, you had better resign yourself to a lifetime of heartache and sorrow.”
When we first found out Michelle was pregnant, I immediately told everyone I didn’t care whether we would be having a boy or a girl. Which, in the grand history of lies, pretty much ranked up there with, “The check is in the mail.”
Deep down, I didn’t want a girl. I didn’t want someone who was going to be heartbroken every time a boy said something mean to her. I didn’t want to have to keep beating up boys who said things that were mean to hear. I didn’t want to have tea parties. I didn’t want to have to talk about “lady problems.” (And by “lady problems,” I mean “matching the proper shirt with the proper skirt”).
I wanted a boy. I wanted someone to carry on the Fong name with pride. I wanted someone I could play catch with in the backyard. I wanted a little mini-me with whom I could sit around and watch pro wrestling, burp, make gross jokes and spill potato chips all over the couch.
How could I possibly have known I would be getting the best of both worlds?
Tuesday, my baby girl Sophie Belle will turn 10. The last 10 years have truly been the most eye-opening, wonderful years of my entire life.
Did I mention she can burp like a truck driver?
And she never manages to get through a meal without leaving at least half of it spilled down the front of her?
And that she knows almost as much about pro wrestling as I do?
While my girl is a beautiful young lady, she isn’t always “sugar and spice and everything nice.”
She’s more like me than I ever possibly could have imagined.
Actually, she’s my superior in nearly every way, save for upper body strength (although I expect that to change within the next few years).
I worried about playing catch with my son in the backyard? Now the only “catch” I worry about is catching up with Sophie athletically. She’s been taking gymnastics for the past six years and can do a back flip. I just worry about standing upright without falling down. She’s also a member of the Troy Pop Rocks jump rope team. I jumped rope once. I don’t mean I jumped rope one time, I mean I literally jumped over a rope a single time. Didn’t much care for it. Never tried it again. She’s learning to pole vault. I get scared watching other people pole vault.
Sports aren’t the only interest we’ve learned to share, however. Sophie has become a diehard pro wrestling fan just like her father. We sit and watch together every Monday. She’s even learned to hate pro wrestler John Cena, just like her daddy. My other big love is video games. I thought only a boy would be able to appreciate video games as much as I do. Now Sophie and I have to fight over the controller to see who gets to play Mario Kart first.
I was hoping I would have a son who I would be able to teach gross and disgusting habits and manners. Turns out she’s the one teaching me about bad manners. She’s an absolute slob when she eats and has yet to meet a drink she can’t spill. I am proud of every rude noise that comes out of my daughter’s body. You can imagine how thrilled her mother must be, as well.
Apparently, I also won’t have to worry much about boy troubles with young Sophia. When she was going into kindergarten, I taught her that if any boy was ever being mean to her, there was a certain place on his body she could punch him and she would never have to worry about him ever being mean to her again. How was I to know she was going to test it out on her grandpa while he was sleeping in his recliner?
In short, Sophie Belle is everything I could have possibly asked for in a son or daughter.
Happy birthday, my little princess. Keep burping.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong