Hope For the Future Fret

When it’s just my son and I, we have a win-win formula for a pleasant ride to school or camp; I get to listen to NPR if he gets to play with my iPhone.  When my daughter is with us and he gets to play MInecraft on my oft-fought-over phone, then she gets to chose the music, which is another win-win for the kids and at least saves me the annoyance of squabbling siblings.

Summer is easier on our daily routine. Camp starts at 9:00am, not 8:00am, and there are no tests, merely reading lists and the stated goal of, ‘making sure the kids keep up with their skills’.  I wish I was Tiger Mom enough to ensure this instead of merely hiring a gifted tutor for a couple of hours a week in the hope that she can keep my cubs on track.  But, is there a plus to the maternal negative that makes me too lazy and/or self-involved (my perspective on this depends on where my self esteem is) to send my children to early-start academic summer activities? Maybe.  Maybe it’s the extra time and second shot of caffeine that combine to make these rides more pleasant regardless of whether I’m transporting one or two kids to a camp that celebrates play – or ‘alternative exploration’ as I refer to it when feeling haughty about my parenting.  It’s okay that the phrase is awkward; I’m not compelled to use it often.

While driving my younger son to camp one morning earlier this June, there was a news story about when and how the Supreme Court would decide the fate of gay marriage.

“Can you believe that there was a time when the idea of a man loving another man was considered wrong?  It was true for women who loved other women too.”

“That’s crazy,” my son said, shaking his head, his eyes never leaving his Minecraft world. There was no need for a conversation about my statement, so wild was the notion that consenting adults loving each other would be seen as negative. It made me so proud that the idea was unfathomable to him. I owe Modern Family – even though Common Sense Media says he’s too young to watch it – a lot.  Because, as Bill Maher says, ‘all marriages are same sex marriages… it’s the same sex night, after night, after night’.  And out of the bedroom, all good partnerships combine the best and worst of living with your best friend, co-parent and lover.

My iPhone-absorbed passenger is a stereotypical seven year-old boy who covers his eyes when a couple (of the same or opposite sex) kiss in a program we’re watching. But he does know about the birds and the bees.  And, he showed his father and I that he is aware of the differences between boys and girls back in kindergarten when I dressed him in a white polo shirt on his second day of school.  Turns out, this is verboten; only boys in grades 5-8 are allowed to wear a white or blue polo, those in K-4 must only wear blue polo shirts.

“So why are there white polo shirts in kindergarten boy sizes?” I asked having purchased said shirt from the school’s used clothing sale.  “Because the girls in K-4 are allowed to wear them,” said my good friend.  “Oh.”

So, after apologizing to my little kindergartener about my error we got home and told his dad.  This led to a discussion of the difference between boys and girls.

“They have longer hair,” said my son.


“And their shoes are different,” he added.

“Yup,” my husband and I half-heartedly agreed.

“And boys have penises and girls have vaginas,” I added helpfully.

“Yup, that’s the big one,” said my husband chuckling

“That’s a weird one,” said our son.

“Oh, son, you don’t know just how weird it is,” my husband concluded, now laughing.

So, let’s hope that the Supreme Court’s decision, although a narrow one, sets the tone for future generations to celebrate humanity’s differences with acceptance and laughter not suspicion and bigotry.  

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