Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Bravest Boy I Know

Last week was rather momentous in our house. The boy wore a dress to school for the first time. I had bought him several since our first disastrous skirt experience and they had been hanging up just waiting for their debut but I never asked him when he would wear them. It was okay if they were just there.

I was surprised one morning when he came downstairs wearing his new black dress with black leggings and chucks. He looked adorable. I had a small moment of jealously...I mean...not fair that my son looks better in a dress than I do. He added makeup and some jewelry and went off in to the world. I held my breath. He was walking in to a Middle School wearing a dress and I was terrified and proud.

Only a few hours in I got the panicked text to please bring pants. I was sad that it didn't go well for him. My mom took him pants and he and I were texting. He decided not to change and I told him how proud I was that he decided not to let a few simple minded people determine how he felt about himself. He had a similar talk with my mom who then brought the pants home.

Of course the next thing that happened was a call from the guidance counselor. She wanted to make sure I knew what he was wearing. Yeah. I bought him the dress and taught him how to get it on over his head. I applied his makeup. Guilty! But the conversation was actually a really good one. She wanted to let me know that the school was in full support of the boy being who he is. Yay! I really didn't want to have to fight that battle, not that I wasn't ready and willing.

The boy came home beaming. He told me he finally felt right. My heart glowed and sank a little at the same time. Sad to think that it has taken this long for him to feel right. Happy that he is finally coming in to himself.

Since that day he has worn a variety of dresses and pants, creating a style of his own and not giving the haters a moment of his time. He really is the best and bravest person I have ever known.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Becoming a Reconciling Church

This past Monday we had a meeting at church welcoming all LGBTQ individuals, families, and allies. We are working on becoming a reconciling church. As background, we go to a very liberal Methodist church that meets in an old warehouse building. It never occurred to me that anyone would feel or be unwelcome in the church but I've been schooled on that this week. As a whole the UMC is split in support and so there is a process to becoming a reconciling church. Being a reconciling church means being openly welcoming to LGBTQ people and families. I'm still learning about the process and I am really excited for our church.

I'm a Christian. I'm a Christian because I believe Jesus was an awesome guy and had the right idea about the world. Jesus was all about the love. So simple and yet so complicated for some people to understand. Love.Love.Love. That's all we have to do. Simply love each other. It is not for us to judge, only to love. This is how I view my relationship with God and church. I want our church to be all about the love too.

So back to the meeting. We had a great group of people and we basically just spent the time going around the circle and explaining why we were there. Some of the stories were heartbreaking to me. I wanted to go in to the past and gather them up in a big hug and tell them they were good and right and loved. My son is very lucky to have the family he has. Not everyone is that fortunate and it just hurts me to the core. 

So where do we go from here? Not sure yet. But we've started something and I am excited to be a part of whatever this turns in to.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

With bells on

The boy went to an amazing preschool. They taught him at his own pace and before he "graduated" he could read and do simple math problems. His teacher, Miss Sunny (how perfect is that name for a preschool teacher?!) was sweet as can be and he really thrived there.

One day when it was time for pick up Miss Sunny took me aside and I quickly panicked wondering what on earth he could have done. He was a sweet kid, never a biter or a pincher, a lover rather than a fighter. It felt like being called to the principal's office. In a low voice she let me know that all the boys were currently enamored with dress up an loved running around in high heels but not to worry it was normal and just a phase.

Uhm. Did she fail to recognize my son coming to school every day in Hello Kitty mary janes? Occasionally wearing nail polish or hair barrettes? I laughed inside at the time and just nodded saying it was no problem and thanks for letting me know.

Later on when I thought about it it made me really sad. Sad that she thought she needed to explain why I might come in one day to see my son dressed up and running about in heels. Sad to think that to some people this would be viewed as unacceptable and prohibited.

At that time I had no idea there was a name for what was happening with my son. The fact that he liked both boy and girl things never really registered with me as I frankly view impressing gender roles on children as silly. Let them play. Let them giggle and have fun and let their imaginations run wild. That's how they learn and thrive. I am forever thankful for Miss Sunny who let the boys run around in high heels and dresses during free play and who adored my boy no matter what he came to school wearing.

The boy circa 2004 at preschool in a glittery skirt, mismatched socks, and bells on his ankles.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ear Piercing and Skirt Mistakes

The boy and I ventured out on a Saturday morning which is not something we normally do. We are not morning people. But today was a big day because I finally agreed to let the boy pierce his ears. He's been asking to have them pierced since kindergarten but I always said no. Today I finally said yes. He was all giddy anticipation on the ride to the mall and delighted in looking at the different earrings he could choose from. Not a hard decision since you only get 4 choices but it was like some kind of magic to the boy.

He picked black squares and I think they look really good on him. He said they didn't hurt but after a couple of hours of errands he started complaining and then said "Oh well, beauty is pain." lol. 

The skirt mistake was all my fault. I feel terrible about it. There is no creature more easy to embarrass than a teenage boy. Add to that a divergent gender identity and public shopping can be difficult. There was a TARDIS (From Doctor Who if you're not familiar) skirt at Hot Topic that the boy was dying for. Naturally he needed to try it on to get the size right so when the lovely sales girl asked if we needed anything I said he was interested in this skirt. He looked mortified. I didn't know that my fairly soft voice would at that moment sound like a bullhorn to him. Poor boy.. He did try on the skirts but refused to buy any. I let it go and let him pick out some shirts and accessories. He later told me he did want the skirt but could we buy that kind of thing online from now on. No problem kiddo. I still feel terrible for embarrassing him but who knew. We're still learning as we go. 

One of his favorite purchases was this really soft and silky Doctor Who shirt. I picked out the Dauntless necklace for him and when we left the store I explained to him why. If you haven't read the Divergent book series you should. This symbol is from that book. Dauntless is a faction in a dystopian society and they are fearless risk takers.

When I gave him the necklace I told him that even though he is Divergent, it's okay to be Dauntless too. And I mentally reminded myself that sometimes I will have to be Dauntless for him when he can't be for himself. This growing up stuff is hard.