All Girls and No Boys Makes Daddy Crazy… Happy?

Today’s guest letter comes from Chris Wiley, father of Lilah and Norah. Chris resides in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, Rachel.


Lilah and Norah –

You two light up my life like this over-used cliché. You’re both beautiful, fun, smart, and joys to be around – most days, anyway. But, there is something neither of you are, and well…it was very hard for me to accept. Sigh…here goes nothing.

Girls: neither of you are boys.

When the doctor pointed to screen and there was not a definitive boy part, I was disappointed. Both times.

Lilah, you were easier to accept because you were the first. You were going to be a dainty princess with flowers in your hair and always need your daddy. I still had another shot at getting a boy on the second go around. I was 0 for 1, but I had another chance up at bat.

Norah, while your mom was pregnant with you, the doctor brought up the ultrasound images and smiled as she said, “see that?!” Nope, I thought. Smirking, the tech pointed the arrow on the screen and typed GIRL across the top. I dropped the Hail Mary pass in the end zone. My heart sank a little, and I asked the doctor if she was sure – and if she wouldn’t mind checking again to see if maybe it was just little, or turned, or maybe she saw it wrong? She humored me, moved the device around, and confirmed the previous call by writing “GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL” across the top of the screen/photo.

Girls, I didn’t know how to deal with not getting a boy. Of course, I thought, we could always have a third – maybe the third time is the charm? But, then again I was 0-2 and I could just see us going for the third and ending up with a set of twin girls. I was happy that you were a healthy baby, but I was definitely a little overcome with disappointment that you were a girl – not Chinese level of disappoint in little girls, but still. And, not helping, was the brigade of your uncles heckling me upon my return from the ultrasound appointment all the way to Mexico for our guys trip.

I had an immediate bond with you, Lilah, as I had come to terms immediately with your gender outcome, but it took some time for me to establish a bond with you, Norah – I tried everything. I mean, your middle name is Christopher. I bought you little cowboys footie pajamas, and Arizona jerseys. Then, one day I took you girls camping in the mountains near Happy Jack, Arizona. It was awesome. You were both excited to be camping, digging in the dirt, climbing hills, finding bugs, riding quads and going fast. You girls loved the fire at night and asked to go fishing in the morning.

I got to thinking – why do I need a boy? What could a boy do for me that my girls can’t? I have the best of both worlds! I get to spoil you and pamper you while working on hair dos, nail painting parties and dance recitals (I am a nail polish wiz, and can do at least two types of braids now), but I also get to take you girls out and play catch in the greenbelt, race bicycles, go fishing, and camping too.

I was very reluctant to click on this video when I saw it come across, because you girls are 2 and 4 and I’m just not ready for things down the lady aisle yet – and this video is produced by the major brand of lady things. I am glad I finally clicked on it, because it sums it up pretty perfectly.

There’s nothing wrong with doing things “like a girl,” and I am so very glad I got two ambitious, fun loving, football and basketball watching, fishing, dancing, dress wearing little girls in my life who will do so many things just like girls will do them.

Love both you girls,



  1. Great letter, Chris. My wife was actually the one disappointed we weren’t having a boy with our first but we both quickly realized our daughter was a perfect little being.

    1. Thanks!

      And, right? It is pretty crazy how you have all these thoughts on the future and all the things you’ll do with a boy, or girl, and then WHAM O you get the opposite. There were some moments of confusion (like, what the heck am I going to do with a girl?! I don’t know anything about women, and my wife would agree, haha) but, it works itself out and you end up enjoying your babies regardless of gender more than you ever thought you would.

  2. People like him sicken me. Too late to post a letter like this, or, really, to say anything. He was already disappointed and it took him, what, a year, two, three, to get over it? He doesn’t deserve the daughters he has. It is time society grew up. We are each human and we are each unique, yet this noxious fixation with gender is a poison still bandied about by ignorant people.

    1. Doesn’t the phrase “grow up” insinuate taking time to mature? Isn’t this letter all about “growing up” to the recognition that his kids are precious, no matter their gender? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to say, but it seems like you’re tearing him down for doing exactly what you’re calling society to do. It seems like you’re being “sickened” by a man who is learning that “we are each human and…unique”, that you’re judging him for overcoming his “fixation with gender”. But maybe I’ve misunderstood…

    2. You sicken me you ignorant piece of shit. You have no idea what has gone through his head nor lived how he feels. His kids long for nothing, they deserve exactly what he’s provided. You, ma’am, deserve nothing. What exactly have you done with your life? Because Chris has created two beautiful and intelligent daughters.

    3. Right, people who openly admit to overcoming this “noxious fixation with gender” are the nauseating ones, not the ones who tell others they don’t “deserve” their children. Cripes.

    4. Hi Lisa,

      It seems to me that you have been really hurt by a man (men) at some point in your life. This is a complete assumption so I could be wrong.

      My hope is that the Dad Letters will provide a place for you to encounter thoughtful, caring, and strong men who don’t objectify women. I hope you find healing for your soul and I hope that we can play a small part in this.

      My heart goes out to you and the pain you must feel.

    5. Lisa, your noxious fixation of using irregularly large words to blog that all men are sexist monsters is exactly what holds you back from seeing what you’re calling society to do is exactly what I have done in this letter. Step down off your soapbox, take a few deep breaths, and try thinking before you speak.

      Your intent to ruffle feathers just makes you look ignorant and confused.

    6. Yeesh, Lisa. Step off your soapbox and breathe.

      What you’re calling society to do, is exactly what happened here in this letter. And, for you to even insinuate that I don’t deserve my children is ludicrous.

      Your shot to ruffle feathers here makes you look ignorant and serves as a great example for how women should never act.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Any parent, if they are truly honest, has a hope on what the gender of their kids are going to be. I wanted a girl, and was gifted with two boys. Do I love either of them any less? Hell no. And neither does Chris. This is a dude who got over his own idiosyncrasies to see just what an awesome gift he’d been given. But to say he doesn’t deserve them? That’s monstrous.

    Someone who beats their children doesn’t deserve them. Someone who endangers their children doesn’t deserve them. Someone who leaves their kids locked in a hot car as a punishment…doesn’t deserve them. Someone who has a hope for one thing but gets another and then finds the beauty and magic in what they are given? He totally deserves them.

    And screw you for saying otherwise.

    Men have been lambasted for not taking part in their kids lives, being uninvolved. If anything THIS guy is the one who is breaking gender roles by getting over his disappointment and embracing his daughters unlike previous generations who would just silently seethe over not having a son.

    Yes: “We are each human and we are each unique…” but the only thing noxious here is some people’s attitudes.

    Rock on, Chris! You and your wife love those girls more than anyone in the world. Don’t ever forget that, and don’t let someone’s own emotional baggage try to pin you down with a definition that doesn’t even fit you. Stay awesome!

    1. Haha, no worries here. Water off a ducks back for the most part. I’m onboard with you though, we have preconceived notions on what our lives would be like with certain gendered children – but it’s an entirely different world when they arrive.

  4. I dare say many people who have had children have had this problem. Will I love my child? I want a boy. I want a girl. We all have preconceived ideas of what we want in our children. I had absolutely no clue what to do with my daughter when she was born. The amazing thing about all of it though is when you get over it and realize “I love my kids for who they are!”

    1. Bingo. There was no disappointment in my daughter. Just the initial disappointment that I wasn’t having a boy to share all those father/son trips with – but my daddy/daughter dates and adventures more than make up for it.

  5. Judgmental on a Thursday afternoon, the blogosphere is a wonderful place. I always appreciate people who can read one post and become experts on what the writer thinks, feels and believes.

    1. Lisa, what you did, and are doing, is the absolute worst. Not because you’re a woman. Not because you have opinions. Simply because of your actions. What you did and how you present yourself would suck just as much if you were a conservative male, or a genderless extraterrestrial whose sole action while visiting earth was to misinterpret a blog on the internet, leave a snarky comment, and then enthusiastically play the victim.

      You can turn a phrase though, I’ll give you that. It’s a shame only 170 people have ever been to your blog. I’ll send some traffic your way today.

    2. I’m not sure why you’ve boiled everything down to gender. I feel like you’ve blatantly misjudged us simply because of our gender. For a woman championing equal rights, it’s seems rather sexist of you.

  6. And to address your blog ( about this topic, specifically:

    “I would NEVER call names, psychoanalyze, or slander another blogger…”

    But you did.

    “…let’s face it, a bit of controversy cannot be bad for anyone’s blog, right?”


    “He admits to being further disappointed when the second child was another a girl. He says, “I was…overcome with disappointment that you were a girl- not a Chinese level of disappoint…””

    Altering a quote to make it sound more offensive is how I imagine this happened in your own mind while reading it. Why else would you remove only three words and replace them with ellipses?

    “He claims to love them now…”

    Did he say at any point that he didn’t?

    “It is QUITE possible that they are well aware what a disappointment they were.”

    How do you suppose you claiming that someone else’s children are psychologically damaged by a (misinterpreted) mindset espoused in a blog on the internet will go over with that, or any parent? Someone could just as easily point at the vulgarity in several posts on this blog and make some assumption that your kids could interpret that they are the root of the dissatisfaction that leads you to be so angry. That would be an incorrect, offensive and awful assumption.

    “Make no mistake, a confession like this is about making himself feel better. It is about boasting what a big man he is now: what a happy father he has become. It was so tough for him.”

    I interpreted it as a means to communicate honesty and growth, but to each his/her own.

    “His aversion was perfectly natural, right? Everyone feels that way about, horror of horrors, having girls instead of boys, right? Other misguided individuals patted him on the head in a sickening and studied commiseration.”

    I have three boys. I answered the “which would you prefer” question with “girl” every time. He said “boy.” Our differences did not stop me from identifying with his feelings and honesty about the process he went through. I’m misguided for this? Alright.

    “You better believe I said that he doesn’t deserve those girls.”

    Don’t forget- you did that without asking any questions or attempting to clarify, or communicate constructively. You led off with “People like him sicken me,” before stating that the crime of wanting a son and publicly realizing there was no reason for his disappointment in having daughters, is reason to advocate that his children should be parented by someone else.

    “BUT BECAUSE I AM A FEMALE making a negative comment to MALES, I was castigated.”

    You were castigated because what you did was baseless, aggressive and shitty.

    “I was judged by THEIR superiority to be a ‘fem-nazi’ (they were too ignorant to even get the term right) and was Tweeted AND re-Tweeted as having said his daughters should be taken away from him. (A blatantly obvious mis-quote.) One of the guys on the blog went so far as to psychoanalyze me as an angry female who must have been really hurt by men.”

    “They” was the author of the post in this case, who you attacked. I won’t excuse the use of a phrase that I don’t even understand, but the TDL account didn’t retweet it. As far as you being misquoted- to say that someone doesn’t deserve something is akin to saying that if it were up to you, they wouldn’t have it. Are you implying that if you were the world’s arbiter and final judge in all matters, that you’d be passionate enough to make a declaration that someone should not have their kids, but would not act within your power to remove those children from that situation? I think if it were up to you, he’d lose his daughters. Thank God it isn’t. As far as the guy who “psychoanalyzed” you, he never used the word angry, and clearly stated that you having been hurt by men was an assumption that he could be wrong about.

    “I was name called, psychoanalysed, and slandered for DARING to have an opinion. Had I been a male, would I have been defamed in the same way? I think not.”

    One person of nine who commented called you a name. I quickly reminded that person that it wasn’t appropriate. You were not slandered… slander is spoken. If anyone libelously defamed anyone’s reputation on that thread, it was you, to both the author of the post, and to yourself. Would this have happened if you were a man? No idea. Would you have done it if you were a man? If the answer is yes on your end, then it’s yes on mine.

    In closing, you have put out there that anyone who didn’t like your comment was a “misguided” “moron” whose “discriminatory” comments displayed “bigotry.” I think you had to tell yourself and your handful of readers a few fibs to come to this conclusion. I think you nailed it when you wrote “I imagine that there are hundreds of other parents, fathers even, who would be just as disgusted with this father as I was.” An active imagination is exactly what prompted you to lash out in the first place. Doubling down on that hasn’t served you well.

  7. I wasn’t going to enter this fray more than. I have already.. but first of all , I want to thank Chris for being so honest in his post… it’s refreshing.. and one of the reasons why I love the dad letters so much.. I see you guys struggling with what it means to be a dad, a father in this complicated time.. I had mixed feelings about this post because I could hear the echo of my grandfather, who said when he was told that his daughter, my mother, had been. Born “Oh suit… she’s not a boy… but I guess I’ll love her anyway”…. that comment does devalue girls.. (ironically, he was blessed with four granddaughters and not grandsons as well)…I do think we all carry a lot of preconceptions about what being a girl or being a boy means.. we haven’t really gotten away from those.. so, when some says he wanted a son, or conversely wanted a daughter, it seems to me that it is about what we think sons or daughter will be like… we don’t say “I want an interesting child”//… or “I want an artist”.. so there’s a lot of baggage that still hangs on gender… but gender is actually more fluid than we think.. I have a wonderful photo fo my granddaughter wearing s Disney Snow White dress fixing a toy lawnmower.. it’s one of my favorites.. Why should Snow White know how to fix a lawnmower? .. I think
    Chris’ daughters have taught him a lot about people .. regardless of “girl” or “boy”.. and that’s wonderful.. Parenthood is the hardest job around.. and the most rewarding.. I am grateful that all three of my children (a girl and two boys) have grown up to be interesting people who care about their fellow humans, and about the world.. and about me.. .. I am grateful everyday for the relationship I have with them now that they are interesting grown UPS..

    1. Thanks for reading, and sharing Jane. You’re right – we often put too much into the gender of a child before giving them the opportunity to grow and blossom into whoever it is they want to be.

      I was going to love the baby regardless, so there was never a moment (for me, at least) where it was “well, it isn’t a boy but I guess I’ll learn to love it anyway). My letter may not convey it well, but both my kids were going to be loved no matter what – when I was disappointed I wasn’t having a boy, there was no lingering disappointment in my daughter.

  8. I was afraid of having a girl too. My older boy was just like me, only a smaller version, but the girl… she might as well have been an alien. Still is, sometimes. Which doesn’t make her less awesome.

    1. Girls are definitely a different machine. I had a brother growing up, and my parents adopted a baby girl a few short months before I left for college – so the understanding of growing up with girls wasn’t there. But, everyday is an exciting learning adventure! Enjoy those kids!

  9. My wife was and still is disappointed that we didn’t have a girl. She has dreams of playing tea party and princess. That doesn’t stop her from loving our son though.

    What an incredible letter though. They will look at this one day and realize just how incredible of a dad you are for loving them despite that initial disappointment.

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