Two little boys at a park in South Orange County. One is five years old, the other four. Both, with Strawberry Shortcake in one hand, facing each other so that Ms. Shortcake can have a word with her clone. Both boys have a hand on the right hip, head cocked to the right, with total attitude. They are deep in play. I can’t tell what is transpiring between the two Strawberry Shortcakes, but I can tell that my son is in heaven, even though he is acting like a diva. I am pretty much inside the pearly gates too, because it is the first time ever that my son has played with little boy just like him.
I started this blog for three reasons, one of them being to connect with other primary caregivers who are raising a child like mine. John’s Mom found my blog and e-mailed me. And e-mailed me. And e-mailed me. I’m not exactly prompt in replying to e-mails; I get a lot of them. I’m so thankful that John’s Mom was persistent, because, she was right; our lives are so much the same.
John wants the “girl toy” with his Happy Meal at McDonald’s. He loves the Disney Princesses. He likes to slip into his Mary Janes after a long day at preschool. John walked up to us at the park hiding a stuffed animal kitty behind his back. He saw C.J.’s plush Rapunzel doll in full view and the Kitty quickly came out to play.
John is marvelous. He’s a bespectacled, long-lashed tender soul with a mop of long sandy brown hair. He wears the same shoes, but in different colors. He’s a magnet for wonder.
John’s Mom is equally as cool, bless her soul. She rocks worn cowboy boots and a cardigan with eclectic brooches that John plays with when he feels a little shy. She serves organic strawberries and is dead set, like me, on not changing her little boy, just loving him.
John and C.J. both have older brothers who are all boy and Dads who, though they may struggle from time to time, love them completely and now know every Disney Princess and her movie of origin. John and C.J. play Stawberry Shortcake and Rapunzel, nibble on Disney Princess fruit snacks and go on a discovery hike to look for roly-polys and lady bugs. They are oblivious to looks from other park goers. It’s a first for them, the first time that either boy has played with someone so much like himself.
“Can you believe that the Rapunzel dress at the Disney Store is $50?! I don’t even spend that much money on a dress for myself!” —John’s Mom
John’s Mom and I sit on a bench and talk. What are your feelings about your son wearing something girly outside of the house? What do you do when your son wants to have a Pinkalicious themed birthday party? Why is the Rapunzel dress at the Disney Store $50!?
We both struggle to protect our sons, while also trying to set them free. We have to get creative when it comes to birthday parties, judgmental friends and dressing our effeminate sons.
She has tips for me, because she is a year further along in the adventures in raising an effeminate, fabulous son. She also has warnings. C.J. may start to get embarrassed and withdrawn in the coming year because he may start to realize that he is different. Some of his innocence may fly away as the reality of life creeps in.
We lose track of time. Our two hours together felt like 10 minutes. We gather our things and our sons in a hurried panic. As they drove away, John says to his mom, “I can’t believe C.J. likes princesses! That is so great that he won’t even make fun of me!”
That’s right John. You’re safe with us.