Hi there, sorry I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth, but I have two valid reasons for the hiatus, one I’ve been very busy with school and every free second I have had for writing involved that and two the issue I am about to address rocked me to the core, to the point that I needed to digest it and work through it before I was able to post about it.
So let’s go back in time to three years ago (holy cow), I joint a playgroup for parents that practiced attachment parenting. I was pregnant and nannying, I took the child I cared for to events where I could spent time with other moms who parent the way I planned to parent so I could learn from them. There was one event we regularly attended each week, it was a playgroup that had a slight structure to it and with my teaching background I helped run. I loved it, I made friends and I learned a lot.
After Q was born I attended some events, but eventually stopped going after a weird thing (that is irrelevant to this story) happened. Well a little over a month ago an event popped in my inbox for the weekly group still run by someone I once considered a friend (let’s call her Pam), and with many of Qs friends about to begin preschool (when he is not) and other changes to our friend circle I thought we should go and build some new friendships. I hadn’t seen Pam in over 2 years, she has since had another baby and I was excited to catch up with her. Obviously one thing I had to catch up on her about was Emily.
Now Pam has two children one is four and the other is a year and a half. When I told her about Emily I was not thinking about the fact that her four year old was present. This was a very different situation than I’m use to. Most of the kids im around are young like my son and for the older ones coming out to them was planned specifically for them. As soon as I told Pam her daughter stated asking questions, Pam obviously embarrassed by the line of questions and being unprepared to talk to her daughter told her they would discuss it later and shushed me (I love being shushed as I’m sure all adults do). I felt HORRIBLE. I was really shaken up and really torn about if I did something wrong. Emily said I didn’t do anything wrong as did some close friends while others said I should have come out to her privately and given her time to prepare and speak to her daughter. I beat myself up for a while not knowing what to do, how I felt, or what to say to her in the future.
After much thought I decided I was not wrong. The bottom line is if I had run into her at target with my whole family, I’d have had to come out to her on the spot. I have been in this exact situation before, it’s real and it happens. If my family makes you uncomfortable that is not my problem, that is your problem. We live in a country that was founded on freedom of religion, that celebrates (usually or is suppose to) diversity. My child as well as every other child in this country and around the world is going to encounter people who are different from them and that’s ok. We as parents need to be prepared to have conversations with our children about people who are different. It should not have to be a hard thing to do. Think it through, it’s 2016, we are surrounded by people of different faiths, ethnicities, races, lifestyles, genders, abilities..the list goes on and on. It’s ok to talk about these differences, it’s ok to ask questions, and it’s ok to celebrate our differences. Pretending everyone is the same and sheltering our kids from people who different than them is damaging.
Kids are not confused adults are. Kids get it, kids are accepting, that only changes when adults put the idea in their heads that it should be any different. Explain to your child that my spouse was born a boy, but his insides and outsides didn’t match, he felt like a girl on the inside so he became a girl on the outside too. They get this, it’s adults who don’t.
So where did this leave Pam and I you ask, well I have not seen her. I have not returned to the playgroup and I probably will not. The event that took me away in the first place probably should have been when I cut ties permenetly, but it was not and therefore this should be a clear sign that I need to walk away. I will not hide who my family is, you can take us or leave us, but I can’t tip toe through the tulips for anyone’s comfort.