PURSUER of Truth and Justice

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Dear Jido,

My husband and I have four beautiful daughters and B”H, we are expecting our fifth child soon. When we told my mother-in-law the happy news she took me aside and said that if we have another girl we will need to try again to have a boy in order to "carry on the family name."

My in-laws are not as interested in our daughters as I would have expected. Sometimes I think if we had a son, they would be more involved.

My husband is an only child. I don’t really know what to say to his mother. We will love our child, girl or boy. I am not sure we can handle more than five children. How should I respond to her?

Signed, Happy Mother of Four Girls

Dear Mom of Four,

I guess she was pretty clear about why she wants a grandson. A family name is certainly something to be proud of. I imagine that your father-in-law comes from a very old, well respected family from the old country (or Manhattan) and he is now facing the possibility that the family name would cease to exist. That could be a very difficult scenario to envision.

So, what to do?

Did you ever hear of Rashi? Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhaki? You did? Even though he only had daughters? Not in the same class of course, but in the same category, George Bush? What about Barack Obama? Girls! Only! And their names are certainly household words (some for better, some for worse).

Your husband and your children can build a legacy for their grandfather that can be as well-respected and well-remembered as Rashi is, or your father-in-law himself deserves to be. That’s something that you would want for yourself anyway, as well as for your in-laws.

As far as the possibility that this one will also be a girl, to the best of my knowledge, the chances are 50/50. Let it be healthy and beautiful like the others. Instill within each one of them the desire and ability to build a bayit ne’emanthat would encourage people to say – wow, isn’t she a granddaughter of so-and-so? What a family!

That way, he will never be forgotten regardless of their last names.