when i became pregnant for the first time,
i was dismayed to learn it was a boy.
“i don’t know anything about boys!” i thought.
then i had another boy.
and finally i was pregnant with my girl
“i don’t know anything about girls either!”
i used to call myself–gender confused.
this was in the early 90s before gender
was much discussed.
but i knew from the time i was five
i had both in me–boy & girl.
i also had neither…
only to realize this when i became a mother
to boys & a girl.
so like everything else, i winged it
i just raised them as people
people i respected & loved
people free to develop into whomever
they were born to be.
i remember when fidgit started playing with
trucks & guns
“i guess he is a boy,” i said,
maybe stereotyping a bit
but later, he grew his hair long
got his ears pierced
and started studying art.
still a boy, i could think.
but my girl…
she is a girl like i was never a girl
and i want to celebrate that.
but i cried today as i shopped for her
seventh birthday present
a children’s play make-up kit
but i know it will make her happy
just like every time i bought a play sword for my crazy boys
& their dad looked at me like, “really?”
here’s the thing
i want my kids to be happy
i want them to be who they are
even if it is not who i am….
that’s the tricky part about being a parent, i guess…
one of the tricky parts anyway.
the photo is me in my early 20’s. fighting gender norms has always been very important to me–especially since as a teenager i found i was more comfortable in my dad’s clothes than i was in mine. i have never worn make-up (except on halloween) & i do not own a pair of heels. but now i have a daughter who drools over thrift-store pumps & uses an art marker to apply lipstick…which some people do. some people like pumps & make-up…i’ve just never been one of them. so maybe it stings a little that my little apple is falling rolling away from the tree? but if it is who she is & will make her happy….
heaven help me if she decides to start shaving her legs.