Today was an ordinary day, a day like any other day of the week in our household; I woke up and got my children fed and dressed, my eldest son (A) left for school with his friends and I went to teach for my morning Playschool class with my youngest (N) in tow, we came home at lunch and spent the afternoon packing before returning to the school to pick up A. We are now at home and my boys are eating their afternoon snack and playing/fighting with each other, all in all it’s been a typical day.
However there was one aspect about today that was not so typical and left me feeling a whirlwind of emotions. Upon picking A up from school I was told by one of his schoolmates that he had painted his nails with some of the girls in class. I replied with “Oh wow, thats nice” without a second thought, the parents in my vicinity did not seem to share my compliance with this as one of them told me “you better go home and take it off before your husband sees” I did not reply to this remark and instead went to my son and greeted him as I would on any other day because as odd as it may be to some people, I do not feel that this is shameful or weird behaviour. I told my son I heard he painted his nails and asked if I could see them, he outstretched his hand to me (that was previously buried beneath his sweater) to show me his nails that were covered in bright pink polish. I could tell that he was now aware of this being noticed by the other children as he looked around to see if anyone was watching, I told him it looked nice and asked him how his day went as we continued to walk home. Once at home he asked if I had any nail polish he could use to paint the fingers on his other hand, I told him that we could look after dinner and he went off to play with his brother.
This is not the first and I’m sure it will not be the last time that my son has done something stereotypically feminine, he used to play with dolls and watch Barbie movies and other shows that some might consider to be for girls. It is also not an issue, not to myself or my husband. I realize that to some narrow minded people this type of behaviour might be seen as odd and I can only imagine the thoughts of those more ignorant however I am not concerned by these individuals opinions, the only thing that concerns me is how my son feels and whether or not he is affected by what others think or say.
I do not want him to be bullied or teased because he chooses to do things that aren’t gender “appropriate” and I do not want him to feel embarrassed or weird or wrong in any way. I am glad that my son expresses his individuality, he always has and so far has never let the opinion or remarks of others influence that, I do not want that aspect of his personality to be tarnished. I want him to know that he is beautiful just the way he is, inside and out. I want him to know that those who do not understand or choose to pass judgement do not deserve recognition from him. I want him to know that he is so special in every way and I want him to be confident in who he is and to follow his heart. I want him to know that the world is full of people who will choose to be cruel, to pass judgement and who simply do not understand and therefore do not accept but that those people don’t matter because for all of the cruel, judgemental and misunderstood people in the world there are people who will be kind, loving and accepting to him and those are the people who matter; those are the people worth our time, energy and love. It is unfortunate, and perhaps one of the hardest aspects of being a parent that you are unable to shield your children from emotional pain. It is unfortunate that the innocence of children and the ability to see everyone as equal no matter what their differences are becomes diminished over time. It is unfortunate that we feel the need to define people rather than simply being and doing whatever it is that we want to or whatever feels right to us.
I am angry at society for ridiculing a 6 year old, I am worried about protecting my son’s feelings against those who are un-accepting, I am hopeful that he will be happy in his life, I am disappointed that others opinions may get in the way of this…I could go on but I will stop there.
Tonight I intend on spending some time alone with my son, maybe we will finish painting his nails or maybe we will do something else to finish off our typical day… I’m fine either way because I’m okay with whatever my son chooses for tonight and for the rest of his life.