Everything Possible

I am linking up this post, which is one of my favorites, with Alison of Mama Wants This! and Ado of The Momalog to help Alison celebrate the 1st anniversary of her wonderful blog. I chose this post because, simply, I love my son and think there are probably other parents who can relate to how I feel about this particular kid.


The other night my son and I were sitting on the sofa together, his dark blond head against my chest, our fingers intertwined. As I do every day, I try to get him to talk to me about his day, about his friends, about whatever is going on in his imagination. Usually I have to wrestle and tickle him until he’s tired out and flopped on the sofa, feet up where his head should be, head tilted upside down over the side like a worn out puppy to get him to talk.

It’s funny, if you’d asked me five years ago who I would worry most about, I would’ve said my daughter’s name in a heartbeat. But as she’s gotten a bit older I’ve learned that a little piss & vinegar and dogged determination will take a kid with challenges a long way. So it is not my daughter I lay awake at night thinking about. It’s my son.

It is hard to get my boy to talk. If you know him well, his eyes will tell you everything you need to know. I’ve always said he was an old soul with those big dark brown eyes and sweet, thoughtful disposition. From across the room you can tell if he’s happy or sad, worried or confused just by looking at his eyes. But this kid holds a lot in, and I want him to learn to put his feelings into words.

Ever since he was really little, my son was different from the other little boys we hung out with in playgroups and preschool. He didn’t like to play with cars or army men, GI Joe or pretend guns. He was bookish, enjoyed puzzles and cracking plastic eggs on the lip of a tiny pan in the small wooden kitchen at school.

When other boys were joining soccer teams or going to basketball camp, my son stood back, preferring to play with the girls (or some of the quieter boys). So when my son was resting his head against me the other night and I asked him who he played with a recess that day, it didn’t come as a surprise that he said a bunch of girls’ names.

I asked if he still played with any of the boys he used to mention on occasion. He said, Not really. I’m different from them. Twisting my thumb gently, he buried his head against my shoulder. That’s okay, I said. I pretend like I’m friends with the boys so they won’t notice, he said softy. And then, Sometimes I like girly things. His breath warmed my chest as he waited for my response. There are plenty of guys who like girly things. There are men who knit, who sew, cook, play piano, go shopping…

And before I knew it he had rolled off the couch and started flopping around on the floor like a goofball while making silly kid noises. As he tried to tickle me with his feet I said, You just be yourself and be proud of who you are because you are so loved. I think you are the absolute greatest thing since chicken nuggets.

But here, again, my heat broke a little. Be yourself and be proud of who you are is not easy in a world that is filled with fear and hatred, with closed minds and judgmental hearts. Here is a kid who already knows, instinctively, to fake it around other boys. To deny who he is so he’ll fit in. To deny who he is so he won’t get bullied or hurt.

Even when I gave him a catalog to look through for holiday gift ideas, I saw him take his time and really pour over the pages of girl’s toys. I told him he could pick anything, anything at all. Even a doll, or Polly Pocket, or a kitchen gadget, it didn’t matter. I just wanted him to have what would make him happy. But he fell back on his default choice even though I knew it wasn’t super exciting to him. I wanted so badly to go to ToysRUs and fill up the cart with all of those pink things that caught his eye and put them in his room, but I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable either.

So I ask, how do I best support my son? How do I help him to accept who he is and not feel shame? I don’t know if he’s gay or straight. It doesn’t matter to me either way. I just want to keep him strong and help protect him from the challenges he may face in the future by parenting him in the best way possible now.

There is no simple way to wrap up this post. I would love comments, and if you know someone who might have helpful thoughts, please feel free to share this with him or her.

Also, wanted to share this beautiful song called Everything Possible. Great lyrics.

65 thoughts on “Everything Possible

  1. Oh my. This is so beautiful.

    I don’t have any words of wisdom for you beyond these:
    I think you are the perfect mother for this child.

    Keep being who you are and he will learn to be who he is.

  2. We have our first child and he’s 18 months now, and these are the things I wonder how I would deal with if they were to occur.
    As a parent you know you will always love your child unconditionally, it’s the “world” that you can’t control or protect them from that scares me.

  3. You said this so beautifully…it brought a tear to my eye. I also have a little guy who loves things that are sparkly, purple, and generally not well received by the elementary school boys bunch. At home we paint glitter polish on his thumb on the weekends and take it off before school starts. I just want him to be happy – he just wants to fit in. Thank you fro writing this…

  4. I really don’t have any advice, other than to just keep doing what you’re doing in your love and support and encouragement. But mainly I just wanted to tell you, for whatever it’s worth – I think you’re an amazing mom.

  5. All I know is this: my years of teaching kids who have been proud to be different or ashamed to be different taught me that YOU? are EXACTLY doing the right thing RIGHT NOW.

    I wish it wasn’t true that so many of my gay students sort of gravitate to me because they have told me quietly after school “I wish you were my mom. Your son is so lucky…no matter if he is gay or straight.” Instead of making me feel good, it made me sad that they had to deal with parents with blinders. Parents who just wanted a “normal” kid instead of THEIR kid.

    I hope I can be what these teens seem to think I am.

    I hope I can worry not about whether my kids are gay, straight, or other, but that I am helping them feel good about themselves no matter what.

    Like you are.

  6. Thank you for this. My little boy, 2, loves Abby from Sesame Street and takes her and Elmo, his dolls, everywhere. People always, laugh and ask if Abby’s my daughters (7 months). Then they get an odd look and change the subject.

    Who fricking cares if he likes girly things. For the love, just let him be happy! I’m sure he’ll play with balls later. Pun not intended, just happy accident. ;)

  7. I feel like I should buy you a coffee for all I want to say about this, not that I have any answers either. I have twin 5 y.o. boys, one has aspergers and for better or worse really doesn’t give a sh*t what anyone thinks of him and the other is NT but like your son has rather ‘girly’ interests for lack of a better word. he loves pretty things, he loves doing arts and crafts, he decorates our house, but says when he goes to school he doesn’t talk about these things with his boy friends nor will he accept that he really has more in common with the girls and just hang out with them. One day in preschool he wanted his nails painted and he was so excited to go to school and show everyone until we were walking up to the door and then he had a total freak out about being afraid people would make fun of him. i tried telling him to be proud of who he is and a real friend wouldn’t tease him about it anyway, but in the long run respected what he was asking a drove him home to remove it. I have been choosing to respect his urges to protect himself and just remind him that at least home and family are always a safe place to be who you are. I feel like anything more and i’d be pushing my own agenda at his expense, but maybe i’m wrong… like I said…a lot to say but no answers from me :)

  8. You are giving him exactly what he needs with your total acceptance and your love. He has to do the rest. By being there for him, you are giving him that safe place to be.

  9. This hurt my heart. I hate that we are raising our children in such a close-minded world. Of course your son should be able to be who he is, without fear of ridicule or judgment. But that is not how things are, and you obviously know it.

    My daughter likes lots of traditionally boy things. I recently wrote this post about a relative expressed fear that she will become a t-o-m-b-o-y. Yes, she spelled it out when she said it, terrible word that it is:


    I don’t have any advice other than to keep on doing what you are doing. This is my first time visiting your blog, but you sound to me like you are doing an awesome job! We can’t always protect our children from the cruelness of the world. But we can love them, nurture them and help them to become strong, self-confident individuals. Way to go, mom!

  10. Hi Kvetch Mom! Oh, if only many more mothers were as compassionate and empathetic as you! I do have a few comments to offer being a mom myself to three. First, I wonder why you feel the need to tell your son there are “girly things”? You write, “There are men who knit, who sew, cook, play piano, go shopping…” (yes! of course there are!) and that is perceived as perhaps “girly”. In actuality, how about showing him some examples of inspiring men who are chefs, concert pianists, crafty geniuses. Encourage and inspire his interests. I have two sons who love to cook (take cooking classes), are learning to sew, play musical instruments, and their favorite excursion is to our local bookstore. Neither play organized sports but prefer horseback riding, kayaking, bicycling, hiking and playing with Playmobil using their own imaginations. They help me cook and clean and they like it; the oldest wants to learn to crochet to make a pillow and a bedspread. They have friends who are both boys and girls, and they already know the difference between “jocks” and “cool guys” (to them, guys who read, play in the orchestra, and are “smart” are to be emulated). Like you, I have alway encouraged them to be themselves, be confident in their interests, pursue their unique perspectives, and let me know if something needs to change or they have an interest we are not pursuing (such as sports). So far, (oldest is 12), they seem some of the happiest and most well adjusted, flexible kids I know—and I get similar complimentary comments from their teachers. I have never called some things girly or other things more manly—I let them determine what they are interested in. Imposing clearly defined sex-specific roles at this early of an age might just provide more confusion. One does not have to be “gay or straight” to appreciate or take part in “girly things” and ask yourself, why are you categorizing those things as “girly”? It is societal roles and stereotypes—your son has already seen past those! I don’t think you should worry about the sexual orientation of such a young person—he has a long road ahead of him to make decisions and choices like this –and you seem like the kind of parent who will support him no matter what, so this might be immaterial. Encourage him to be flexible and if he feels he needs to “fit in” and act like the other boys so he can be with them or be around them when he needs to—he is already learning key social behavior that will help him associate and relate to his peers as he journeys through life. Just think how difficult a lifetime in school surrounded by kids he felt he could not fit in with or feel comfortable around might be–he isn’t changing, he is adapting to a society he must learn to live in without losing a sense of who he is and wants to be. Isn’t it preferrable that he learn to observe, relate and still be his own person? As a young person, did you ever act “differently” to try and fit into a group? I know I probably did but it never changed who I was or am, it just helped me be social and be around all kinds of people, I could appreciate them while comfortably knowing I never wanted to be like them: I was always true to myself, but I understood I needed to comprehend what others liked or were interested in, as well–from games played to conversations to toys, etc….I adapted. I think you can proudly say you are raising a little boy who has learned to cope with all kinds of people, to fit in but have the confidence to be his own man, so to speak. It is a lifeskill we all need to learn. And, bravo to you! Your little boy has grasped this sooner rather than later. All in all, he is probably making his life already a bit easier and more accomodating, flexible, adaptable, and open to many experiences. From your description, he seems so open to ideas and new things and whether they sparkle with luscious pink or bear the grizzly logo of a sports team, it really does not matter—that is a priceless gift in a little person. He brilliantly rises above all expectations! Provide a comfortable, accepting home for him, and he will thrive. He is the lucky one—he has you as his mom and that will never change!

  11. How I wish I knew the answer. So I’ll just echo everyone else. And hope that I’m doing my part right in raising my “normal” boy to respect and accept “different” boys like your superstar.

  12. I’ve read the comments above and I don’t think I have anything more to add. But, a few months ago I saw a mom on the Today show. She wrote a book called, “My Princess Boy.” I’ve not read it, but when i read your post, I immediately thought of it. Perhaps it’s something you’ll want to get the next time you visit the book store or library.

    You see, her little boy likes to dress up as a princess–wand, tiara, wings, the whole kit & kaboodle–and she has gone against the societal grain, choosing to embrace this and let her son be who he is. It’s not about sexual orientation–it’s about letting our kids be who they are. It’s alot harder to do what you are doing than it would be to pooh-pooh it or dismiss it altogether.

    I, for one, hope that I can be the kind of mom to my kids that you are to yours. There’s an old saying that goes something like–“Parents who feel lucky in their children often have children lucky in their parents.” Your son is very fortunate to have you, indeed.

  13. I have just cried at your last two posts. You express yourself and your children’s personalities so well. Your son is lucky to have you.
    The only thing I can offer you is that a different school might be easier for your son as he gets older (if that’s an option). There are many schools that have zero tolerance policies for bullying, should that become an issue. My husband went to a Quaker school that really encouraged individuality.

  14. Your post is beautifully written. The support you and your husband give him, I am sure, far outweighs any negativity he experiences at school. Keep reinforcing your positive outlook, and someday he will understand how completely lucky he is to have had you to grow him up. Good luck, and kudos to you for being an awesome parent.

  15. I’m relatively certain one of my boys is gay (they are 9); and in my heart I’ve known since he was tiny. The only thing that saddens me are other peoples’ judgments and biases and the fact that the boys’ father has said openly “No son of mine will be a f*g”. It breaks my heart to think this beautiful and loving child will lose his father over this, but truthfully, it is my ex-husband’s loss because if he doesn’t love and support one son, the other son will tell him to pound sand in order to better support his beloved brother. Only time will tell down which road our children will go. . .I just pray that mine finds himself in a world surrounded by people who love him unconditionally. You are a wonderful momma, Jen, and I’m honored to have found a kindred spirit here in P-Town. :)

  16. I really have nothing to add, but wanted to weigh in with how wonderfully lucky I think your children are to have you for a mom.

    • Hi Galit, Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I appreciate your vote of support (with means a lot to me because I know you are a wonderful parent yourself). XO

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  18. I believe as I’m sure you do, that you are doing exactly the right thing for your son…loving him for being perfect. In a world full of bullies, who are really just terribly insecure people, the one thing even grown up children miss most, is pure love and acceptance from their parents.

    Don’t change a thing you’re doing.

  19. I think you’re doing great getting him to talk and giving him a safe place. My 5 yo son is a mix of wearing princess dresses and shooting bad guys. But oh is it different wearing the dress in our home versus on errands or to lunch. And that sucks. But I give him safety here. Also when he’s brought more traditionally girly things to school, my husband will go on the offensive about how cool it is. Suddenly all the potential teasers are interested.

    • Hey Alex, I love that your husband goes on the offensive when your son makes girly choices. That is brilliant and awesome! You sound like great parents. Thank you so much for commenting and telling me how you handle this stuff!

  20. I think its so, so great you try to get him to open up to you everyday and you are accepting of whatever he said… I grew up in a house where we didn’t talk about feelings and I always wished we had! Keep doing hat you’re doing, he will love and thank you for it :) xo

    • Breann, Thanks so much for your comment. I figure that if I can at the very least keep an open dialogue with the kids that will be a poistive thing for us all. I wish you had had that with your family, but I have a feeling you have a close group of friends to share everything with. And if you don’t? I’m here for you :) xo

  21. My son is three and prefers to play with girls or adults. He says the boys are too “rough” for him. It is difficult to hear the teachers say that he plays with the girls like that means there is something wrong with him. I never want him to think that playing with ANYONE is wrong, ya know?

    Great post. You sound like an amazing mama to me :)

    • Hi Molly, I know! It is silly that a boy playing with girls should even raise and eyebrow. I hope that with this generation of children and parents things will slowly start to change for the better, especially in this regard. Thank you so much for your comment! It means a lot.

  22. OH MY LORD you have my weepy with this post!
    There is nothing more you need to do!
    You are fostering his independence with what you are already doing.
    Unfortunately it is society and their ignorance that creates his worries.
    Keep being the GREAT mother that you are, encouraging his choices, and letting him be the real him and he will be fine.
    I loved every second of this!!!! xo

  23. My almost-5 year old son loves jigsaw puzzles, and books, and anything pretty. His favourite colour is pink, and he loves having his toenails painted in bright colours. He prefers pretending to dance ballet to playing football, has his own toy kitchen & accessories, and is sweet, sensitive, and emotionally-driven in everything he does.

    I’m supportive of who he is, and what he likes, regardless of whether it’s traditionally considered “girly” or “boyish”. And I’m also supportive of him learning how to fit in with other children.

    Kids who don’t learn how to fit in (or “fake it”) around others have a much, much harder time through their teen years, and into the adult world. Think about it for a minute. None of us use the same behaviour with every group of person we interact with. We’re the same person, with the same personality, but we show different sides of that personality, and different facets of ourselves, in order to fit into a given environment. Do you behave the same way at home as at work? At school as at a club? At a football game as at a craft club?

    You’re doing a great job. Just keep listening, encouraging him to talk, and being supportive of everything he is, including his desire to fit in.

    (And don’t even worry/think about his sexuality. Differences at an early age aren’t indicative of sexual preference. Just enjoy him being him without him needing to be in a box of society’s making.)

    • Jo, You are right about his ability to “fake it.” It is a strength and I’d much rather him have that ability than not. It just pains me that our society is as it is, but that is the reality. And I know that it’s impossible to know whether or not he’s gay at this point, and either way I’d love him just the same. He’s an amazing kid and I adore him from head to toe. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments! And, your son sounds wonderful. I wish we could have a playdate!

      • “It just pains me that our society is as it is, but that is the reality”
        – I know, and I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly, all the covering my ears and singing LA LA LA LA LA loudly doesn’t change reality.

        “And I know that it’s impossible to know whether or not he’s gay at this point, and either way I’d love him just the same.”
        – I have absolutely no doubt of that, and that’s a great strength that you bring to your parenting.

        “I wish we could have a playdate!”
        – Me too!!

  24. I grew up with gay friends not really understanding what it would feel like for them. I took for granted being accepted by my family and it wasn’t until post college that I understood how lucky I was. My friend came out to his parents in his early 30’s and they were devastated. He kept it in all those years because of them. My heart broke for him- knowing that his entire life he tried to be something he wasn’t. I promised myself that if I ever had a child and it happened that they were gay I would NEVER let them feel anything but accepted by me. I just want my boys to be happy and to find love and acceptance whomever it may be. That’s what you want too. If your son is or isn’t- you are his #1 fan. Kids will do what they want to one another- but even they know that no one’s opinion of them is as important as yours. Sorry if this is rambling- I think about this often and just want my guys to be HAPPY and loved- because they are.

    • Hi Farrah,

      I just can’t imagine being devastated to learn my child is gay. Who cares how someone is loved or how they love as long as they have love! It just breaks my heart when I hear about someone being treated that way by their own family. I, too, had a close friendship with someone who was gay but wouldn’t come out. I think it made his life so much harder. I love your attitude about raising your boys! Definitely one I’m striving for, too. Thanks so much for writing. XO

  25. Jen! This is my favorite post I’ve read from you. And I know this person you describe. Because I have one. I think you once said something I’d written sounded like your son. Wow, does this hit home. My son did get bullied. He is different. He is not a ball boy. He is bookish. But somehow, he has settled into himself. He is more comfortable being himself now (in middle school) than he was in elementary school. So maybe it gets easier?

    Maybe not?

    But he is sitting behind me reading Oliver Twist. So he can watch the musical.

    They are all different and if you keep loving him, as is, he’s going to come out the other side just fine.

    That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

    • Renee,

      Wow! So interesting and I do remember saying that about your son. (Maybe we can have a shidduch one day?)

      It makes me so happy to hear that your son has settled into himself and is more comfortable in middle school. This gives me some piece of mind, for sure.

      I just showed my guy Annie the other night. BIG hit. :)

      Thanks so much for sharing, and for your support. XO

  26. I admire your honestly and ability to share your concerns….something I have to work on.
    My daughter (5) sounds like your son. She is definitely bookish, into boy things – Legos (Legoland has nothing on our house!) Lincoln Logs (she cried, first time to cry over not getting something she wanted, when we…Santa..forgot the Lincoln Logs she asked for) worms, digging, etc. When she was in school last year, we homeschool now, she only played with the boys. She doesn’t like dolls, dressing up in fancy clothes or Disney princess movies. (Secretly, this all makes me very happy, I am not a girly-girl, either.) She still chooses to play with the boys at our co-op, but esp. now boys her age don’t want to play with a girl. She’s stuck.
    Us moms want a perfect world for our kids and we will worry about whether they are eating enough, happy enough, secure enough and loved enough, even when they are the ones wiping the drool from our chins. In my humble and imperfect opinion, when we worry enough, listen enough and love them as much as we do, they will be ok. If we let them know that they are accepted and loved for who they are they will feel it and eventually come to know it as truth. Parents are the biggest influence in a child’s life. The playmates, bullies and crushes come a distant second….third…etc. They will have hard times, every kid does, but who they have in their corner makes all the difference. I think having your son open up like he did and be able to understand his feeling and express them is huge! He knows he can count on you and isn’t afraid of your reaction, so you must be doing something right!
    You sound like a strong lady and having a mother, such as yourself, your kids, different as they are – as all kids are, will know that they are important and special and wonderful and loved. That’s all we can hope for, right?
    God bless

    • Hi Lucinda,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s like we are living parallel lives but with children of the opposite gender. This struck me as so beautiful and true: “when we worry enough, listen enough and love them as much as we do, they will be ok. If we let them know that they are accepted and loved for who they are they will feel it and eventually come to know it as truth.” I’m going to try to engrave that in my memory. And yes, I agree that all we can hope for is that our kids will know they are loved and important and special. Absolutely.

      I hope your daughter finds her way & that she’ll find some super cool boys to play with.

      So happy that we can walk the journey together.

    • Hi Alex, Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to sit down tonight and read your blog closely. What I did love was this: “Refusing to recognize what you know to be true about yourself because you fear the opinions of others is a recipe for complete self-deception and leads you on a road to nowhere.”

  27. Hi Kvetch Mom, this is a lovely post and so much in line with something that I’m working on at the moment. It has to do with boys that grow into ‘sensitive’ men (gay schmay – whatever, who cares – they’re still men!). What I’d like to get across is that for each of us there is a place to feel loved and comfortable in our own skins and those are choices that we can make for ourselves. To make these choices we need the right ‘tools’ – and the only place that we can get these ‘tools’ is from our Moms.

    Raising these little creatures is one of life’s greatest challenges, how do we let them know that it’s okay to be who you want to be? and if other people have a problem with it then it’s up to the individual and their guardians (if they’re still too little) to find people who don’t – they’ve got a name; that gets used too loosely in this social media age, but we call them Friends. All our children, no matter if they’re ‘different’ or not need these affirmations. Some just more loudly and regularly than others.

    Your little guy is lucky to have you as a Mom – from the sounds of things you’re doing everything right, as right as one can when one doesn’t have the instruction manual.

    Thanks again for some good writing for my constant reading!

    • Mel, Thank you so much for reading & commenting. I always value your thoughts. And I agree about gay schmay–it shouldn’t matter because we are all just people trying to make our way in the world. Having an instruction manual would be ever so helpful, eh? And yes, it is such a challenge to parent and such a joy and rollercoaster. I’m just trying to hold on and do it right (if there is a right way?). XO

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  29. I got here via the Logophile, and I’m anxious to read more of what you have. My son is 12. As a little one he always preferred the girly things with the exception of his obsession with Matchbox cars, but that’s a quiet play of moving cars from one line to another. He always always preferred girls over boys and the only reason it concerned me was because children can be mean. It turned out he had an anxiety disorder and girls were quieter; softer. Boys were rough and tumble and he wasn’t ready for that. Besides, girls always loved him so who wouldn’t migrate towards who makes them feel loved? In about the 5th grade he started to let the boys in, but ever-so-slowly, when he started to realize that at that age girls start to become a little catty and he too was becoming that way and didn’t like who he was. Now, in 6th grade, middle school, he is still different from the others but he definitely prefers the straight-forward relationships with boys. Interestingly enough he prefers the boys he’s known since kindergarten and before.

    He’s always known we love him no matter who he loves or is or how he plays or what he wants.

  30. I wish I had advice for you, but honestly, I think you are handling everything so well! It’s hard too, just because of the simple colors of things. Having boy-girl twins has really helped me realize this…..Ariel just recieved a tea set for Christmas…..it’s pink/purple/yellow – you know “girly”. And guess who loves it….Will of course….why…..Daddy drinks tea! My point is, I feel that if it wasn’t for the colors there would be no negative connotation AT ALL. From anyone’s perspective. So when you talked about all of that pink stuff your son would love…..it reminded me of that.

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  32. I think that more than anything else, it’s about a child being allowed and encouraged to like what he *truly* likes. The rest will shake out later on. My son recently announced that he wants a Wonder Woman costume – and we’ve started working on collecting the items that will make it up. He also love Tinker Bell, Dinosaurs, Trains, the color pink, and building cities out of blocks.

    Thanks for linking this up so I could enjoy it properly.

  33. I am glad you linked up this post! You little guy reminds me a lot of Marius.
    I can’t even tell you how many times I came home from work and he was all dressed up in a dress and Pauline’s Hannah Montana wig, complete with make-up and nail polish.
    Then, a while ago, he started being interested in girls and even asked one out to the school dance for Valentine’s Day.
    I think during the pre-teen years things change constantly and the most important thing is to just always make them feel like they can talk about anything and anything they are interested in is alright. Everything is possible!

  34. Love the boy you’ve got. His ability to talk to you about what he feels and thinks is the most valuable gift he’s got – and you’re so right to treasure it. My older son, at about that age, re-wrote & re-told the entire Star Wars story with Princess Leia at the center of it: she was queen of the jedi, maker of all light sabers. In fairy tales he acted out the role of princess; he wanted a cinderella dress (I opted out of the zillion-dollar costume & got him just the shoes; went to the consignment store and bought him a girl’s party dress for dress-up, which he loved); he wore dresses and sparkles and the whole lot of it. I loved it (er…I have no daughters) … and wondered, as you are, how I would guard him against a world that sees difference as bad, threatening, wicked. I have to say that on some level I’m sad that he’s left all the princess stuff behind as he hit double digits…but I think he’s a better person for having had his princess phase.

  35. I love you as a mother.
    Thank you for writing this – it is so beautiful. You have (to me) just illustrated in a single post the key to what I think is integral, important parenting: supporting our children in who THEY want to be and ARE – not who WE might want them to be or their peers or society or whomever.
    I loved this – thank you. PS: You may know I’m a music junkie (Suzuki violin etc.) and big into dance for my children – you might want to explore these avenues (especially dancing and violin) for him and see how he responds. Could be a natural, organic environment for him to feel accepted and “more like everyone” and also be around girls – we go to Irish dance and the boys are far outnumbered by the girls but they rock.
    Such a beautiful piece.

  36. Such a lovely piece. While I can offer no other unique advice, I only echo the sentiments from above. Like any good parent, in the end we want for our children ultimately their happiness. I do believe by giving him the continued support, love, and guidance you do, he will be comfortable developing into his own skin.
    Thank you for sharing.

  37. Pingback: What To Expect When You Are Expecting v. 2.0 Reality | Kvetch Mom

  38. I don’t think I could even tell you how I came to this post – I think you linked to it in a more recent one, maybe? – but I just wanted to drop in and add my squishy, mushy, just-a-bit-weepy voice of thanks to the many others that your children have you for a parent.

    I’m a butch dyke – more or less, the labelled-female-at-birth opposite to your gentle, effeminate, perhaps-gay son. I was born in 1985, my parents were teenagers in the 60s and reached young adulthood with the dawn of the 70s… which is to say, I was lucky. Am lucky. So, so lucky. I must have been pushing 10 before I realised that most little girls didn’t spend so much time playing with trains and certainly didn’t have such an awesome huge box of toy cars, and I never – honestly, never – felt like it was wrong that I preferred to play with those things, that I wore a dress on a sufficiently small number of occasions that it could be counted on one hand, that not once did I have a primary-school ‘boyfriend’. I spent a few periods, here and there, having a go at being what I gradually realised most girls were. But never, not for a single heartbeat, did anybody from my family make me feel as if I should. We’re coming up to the first anniversary of my younger sister’s wedding – her maid of honour made me a beautiful tie in the same material as the bridesmaids’ dresses (all handmade by said maid-of-honour – incredible work on the part of that young woman!), I wore a sharp suit… it all felt utterly, perfectly, right.

    Which is a longwinded way of saying that I see the same welcome, the same close fit of a truly inclusive attitude, in you and the way you write about your son, and it tells me that without doubt, he is in the best possible hands. I’m very glad for him and I wish all young non-conforming people (of any kind – gender presentation, sexuality, whatever) were as fortunate.

    • Now I’m weeping! Thank you so much, you have no idea how much your response means to me. And I’m so happy to hear from someone who is as comfortable in their skin as you are. Your family sounds incredible. XOXO

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