I spent the day of my son’s bris in an on-again, off-again crying routine.

I was sure the mohel had messed up badly. Why else was the baby spitting up so much after eating? It had to be the bris! I was certain he’d never fall asleep again, that all of this was my fault because I’d cried so much in the morning instead of utilizing the time to pray properly.

At the end of that exhausting day, I informed my husband that I intended to have only girls from then on. You hear me?

Well. I’ve since changed my mind, but I still believe there was something to the tears. We have these delicious little boys, tiny, cuddly bundles with toothless grins and big eyes, and we think they’re ours. But it’s a sham. They’re male. And every day makes the separation greater.

When I had a daughter, she soon proved to be a very separate and independent little thing, but I realized I can still pretend we’re one. I know girls. I know dollies and ribbons, show-and-tells and final exams and sleepovers, the things that make them cry. I know schoolhood, kallah-hood, and motherhood.

With boys, you hug them and kiss them and sing them to sleep and all the while they are pulling away. It starts slowly, little bits and pieces that hint at the different universe he inhabits. And then, he comes home one day and shares his adventures and frustrations and you think, what do I know about rebbis, about fistfights? Boyish concerns and teenage angst and becoming a chassan? After all this, they go ahead and get married and they’re practically gone.

It’s important to have daughters, my mother says, because they always come back home. It takes a year or so for the newlywed dust to settle, for life to fall into rhythm, and then they’re back, lugging babies and bags, spilling into every room of your house, eating your food and looting your pantry, just like in the good ol’ days. But the boys, well, they follow their wives back home. It makes me frown, to think of my baby, my little glory boy, hanging out in someone else’s kitchen, when he could be in mine.

I don’t confess my worries often, for fear of being labeled bizarre. Glory Boy is yet a toddler. But call me crazy all you want, it dawned on me that the time to gear up for these big and little separations has come. Because my baby is turning three. And when the curls are gone, the guests go home, and you turn to look at your newly shorn once-baby, smug and glowing in his new kappel, you know that he is not your baby anymore. He’s a man. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 541)