Of my parents' ten grandchildren, only two are boys. With all these girls running around, you'd think that Dylan would have a pretty strong female influence, beyond her mother. That's what you'd think anyway. Instead, she gets this:
We looked like gang-bangers, the five of us, rolling down eastside. But, instead of a '64 Impala with switches, we rode in a crew cab diesel flatbed truck with a busted out back window, a rifle in the back seat (presumably unloaded), one dog up front, one dog balancing on the back, two cowboys in the back seat, two in the front, and in the center of it all, there was Dylan in her car seat, happy as a pig in shit. I guess a real gang would have tried to look a little harder, more serious. Instead, we all clowned for the baby, including the dogs. Grant made his silly face and Dylan loved that. Scout nibbled on her toes and she cracked up. From the back, Dad and Greg played peek-a-boo and Dylan drooled in appreciation, and I, while concentrating on Eastside road traffic, made monkey noises. Dylan went nuts for all of it. I looked at her and smiled, and then realized that she was right in the middle of a life surrounded by men.
There is a large degree of masculinity to the ranch that I worry will frighten her. Dogs chasing dogs around her, cattle calling for their calves, diesel rigs with bad mufflers firing up, the occasional rifle shot, but they don't phase her a bit. I even put her on her first bull the other day. Okay, the bull in question was a premature bull calf that could hardly stand, but still ... Dylan smiled and mugged for the camera (phones) as the little white-faced calf bawled for his mother and wobbled on his legs. It's not really a path I'm pushing, but we want to leave all avenues open. Or, as they say in the career counseling office at COS, "non-traditional career opportunities."
The other, even more frightening, male-influences for Dylan come in the form of her peers. Every single baby born in the last year and a half, except for one, has been a boy. Cute, right? Not for the father of a daughter.
I'm glad, genuinely happy, that Dylan isn't phased by the disproportionate male-ness which surrounds her. And no, it's not like it's Pelican Bay Correctional Facility here; Dylan gets a healthy dose of strong women too. But, at least right now, she's taken a real liking to hanging out with the guys. Cowboys, horses, trucks, dogs, cattle, and baby boys ... she loves it all. But, just in case she still loves it in, oh, say twelve or fourteen more years, I've already put her name on a waiting list for a perfect all-girls school.