I’m ashamed of myself.
As the mother of three boys, I’ve always prided myself on teaching them gender doesn’t matter. Girls can do what boys can do and boys can do what girls can do. Living in San Francisco, we were surrounded by like-minded parents and kids: boys wore pink, girls loved engineering. My boys take ballet, love cooking, and think. They discuss home decorating with ease and favor anything ornate, gilded, or “fancy” (the exact opposite of Bug and me). They also love lacrosse, military games, pirates, getting muddy, and Nerf gun battles.
I think we’re raising a well-rounded group of little boys.
So why did I struggle with buying my youngest son pink and purple butterfly wall decals? I must have stood in the aisle at Target for a good ten minutes debating whether I should do it or not – even though The Colonel had told me repeatedly he wanted a “pink butterfly” bedroom (pink is his favorite color). In my mind, I imagined his new friends coming over and teasing him for having a “girl” room. Now, keep in mind this is completely unfair of me because for all I know the children around here, like in San Francisco, wouldn’t bat an eye, but I was paralyzed. I don’t want my son teased.
In the end, I decided to go with the “safer” glow-in-the dark butterflies.
And then I told Bug.
With his eyebrows raised, he gave me the “are you kidding me?” look. “Let him have the pink butterflies. Who cares? He likes it.”
“Are you sure?”
“The boy likes pink. It’s who he is.”
I nodded and grabbed the box of pink butterflies and flowers. Bug was right. This is who The Colonel is, and my job as his mom is to help him feel confident enough to share his wonderful self with the world, not teach him to hide it away out of fear.
When we got home, I carefully applied the stickers all over The Colonel’s room and he was elated. He told me he couldn’t wait to have his new friends over and show them. Now, if he could just remember those new friends’ names 😀