You are just a toddler now, not yet two, and the second born of four children. When I found out you were to have another sister—making you the only boy—I found myself having to defend our family. “Your poor son,” others would say to me, “having to be the only boy. He is going to go crazy in that house.”

While I know they didn’t mean anything by it, I still felt as if I had to speak up for our family and let them know just how lucky you are to have these three sisters to grow up with. There are so many things I hope they will teach you.

I hope you learn how to be a protector.

It may not seem like it for quite some time, but your sisters are fortunate to have a brother to look out for them. One day, they are going to have boyfriends and it will be your job to make sure that those boyfriends are good enough. And it’s true, no one is ever really going to be good enough in your eyes (although, I know you’re not likely to admit that) but I hope you will look out for your sisters and not let anyone take advantage of them. They need your protection (although, they probably aren’t likely to admit that, either). This will also teach you how to look out for others as you go out into the world and make new friends and have new relationships. Everyone deserves to have someone look out for them.

I hope you learn how to be a good husband.

If nothing else, growing up with all of these females should teach you about their inevitable mood swings and when to leave them be. It should teach you when to walk away from an argument and when to offer a hug . . . sometimes a hug can mean so much to someone going through a hard time. You’ll learn how to make them smile and how to make them laugh. You’ll learn how to be a comfort when it’s needed and how to be supportive. All of these things will help you do the same with the person you will marry one day. You’ll be able to understand why she feels the way she does and how to be there for her when she needs you, no matter what the situation is or what mood it has her in.

Then there are those habits you will learn to break because they irritate a woman, like leaving the toilet seat up—something that doesn’t bother all women but that might get you yelled at a few times by your sisters and will make you automatically adjust your habits to avoid the wrath of the females in the house.

I hope you learn that girls are fierce, too.

That they can be engineers and sports stars, chefs and rock stars, executives and mechanics. They can be anything they want as long as they put their minds to it. Being girls doesn’t make them less capable. However, I hope you also learn that girls are different from boys; they think and act differently. Don’t expect them to think the way you do or handle things in the same way. We are all individuals and our only limitations are ourselves. Support each person to be who he or she wants to be. Having three sisters—each with her own individual personality, hopes, and dreams—should teach you just that.

Having sisters isn’t the end of the world. Your father is here to help you become a man one day and I’m so grateful you will have such a great influence.

And one day, you will have friends come over who you will have to keep away from your sisters.

Then one day, you will have brothers who come into your life when your sisters marry.

My son, I hope you learn that family is everything and will have your back, just as you have theirs.

Anastasia Smothers

Anastasia is a mother of four children under four and a proud wife to a veteran. When not with her children, she works full -time and also has a part-time position as a substitute teacher.