Everyone who knows me, knows I was hoping for a girl. It’s nothing against boys, but overall I just felt more equipped to raise a girl. I have always been surrounded by girls socially, and have had enough experience around boys with sports and at home to know that I was more comfortable around women. I feel very ill equipped when it comes to interest in trucks, tractors, and killing things. However, sports are definitely a passion of mine, and I’m actually thrilled for a reason to go back to the baseball field.
I love sports and other “manly things” and I suppose that could be a saving grace, but I fully plan to be a parent that is supportive and encourages whatever dream my son (that still sounds weird to me) wants to pursue. I fully plan to be a parent that doesn’t attempt to live my life through my son. I want to have an open mind, like my mom had, and let him chase his dreams, whether anyone understands them or not. My grandma always told me I could do whatever I put my mind to and that’s a sentiment and lesson I fully intend to pass on to my son.
But, all things considered, I’m looking forward to several opportunities when it comes to raising a boy. I look forward to raising a man without need of violent masculinity. I look forward to raising a man that respects a woman’s autonomy, capabilities, and worth. I want to raise a man that doesn’t pray on the weakness of others, but instead lifts up the least of us. I want to raise a man that isn’t afraid to do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing. I want to raise a man that doesn’t bend to peer pressure and remains original and true to himself. I want to raise a man that can be full of quiet confidence but refrains from arrogance and bragging. I want to raise a man capable of finding God without falling victim to a spiritless dogma. We are all the children of God.
I’m also very excited to continue my family name for another generation. According to my grandmother, I’m the last remaining Wilson male to have a boy. The buck stopped with me. But with the birth of my son, the family name will continue on. I honestly feel some pressure for this. The trajectory of our family's future hinges on the outcomes of my ability to be a good father. God help us all. To task me with creating a fine southern gentleman is a bold ask. I’m not what someone initially thinks of when you think “southern” or “gentleman.” But, I’m willing to give it my best shot.
I feel like it’s worth pointing out, I’m southern to my core. I’ve lived in the south my entire life. Hell I’ve never NOT lived in the south. But I must say, I am much more connected to the land than defending its history. The foothills are one of the most beautiful places in the world, and this will forever be my home.
After a south-hating phase, I’ve fallen back in love with where I was born and it’s rich, historical, and re energized cuisine. Southern food has been revived in the last decade and I’ve never been more excited to cook the ingredients my ancestors ate. As much as anything, I want to pass this particular love down to my son. Being southern isn’t a box the world can put you in. The world isn’t made, we are continuously making it every day of our lives with every decision we make.
I hope my son has the courage to not be trapped by geological, gender, and religious stereotypes and be his own man. I hope my son has a child of his own to continue the positive change for future generations of southerners, believers, and the world as a whole. I suppose I’m going to have to figure out how to square my vision of being southern with my version of being a father to take my own crack at shaping the “new south.” Here’s to the next generation of boys, southerners, and Jews and the hope that we can mesh it all together into one beautiful thing. CHEERS!