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Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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gender rules

My D-line Coaching Husband and his Boys

My husband is a big, burly, former D-line player and a big, burly, current D-line coach.

We have twin boys. Twin boys my husband waited thirty-six years to have. Twin boys whose genetics could prove the perfect combo to make him daddy to a couple of D-line players’ one day, too.

And I know my D-line coaching husband would love for his boys to follow in his shoulder pads and put their hand on the ground — along with a quarterback or two-hundred.

And it might happen. But then again, it might not. And we’re both okay with that. We encourage our boys to explore what they love and to follow their bliss.

And one of our son’s bliss involves football and trucks. He says he wants to drive a truck like daddy’s when he grows up and be “a coach” like daddy because he “loves to tackle.”  (He might be a wee bit confused.)

And the other one of our son’s bliss involves feathers and unicorns and everything Disney. He says he wants to be “Elsa” when he grows up because he “loves princesses.” (And some would say he is a wee bit confused.)

But I would never say that. And neither would his daddy.

So when Daddy takes our boys to Target after a particularly hectic week of football to spend their allowance and some time with them, one usually comes back with trucks and one usually comes back with princesses.

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And I love my big, burly D-line husband so incredibly much for this — for his ability to foster the joy and individuality of our two totally opposite twin boys.

And when Daddy takes the boys with him to Home Depot to pick up supplies for little projects around the house,  one is usually wearing his favorite blue boa and both are always wearing great, big smiles.

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And I love my big, burly, D-line coaching husband so incredibly much for this — for his ability to walk proudly and without hesitation through the world’s most testosterone-laden chain store with our two totally opposite twin boys.

And when the boys pick out their Halloween costumes and one wants to be a police officer like his grandpa was in the military, and the other wants to be a unicorn like his imagination was in his wildest dreams, their daddy encourages them both with compliments and high fives.

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And I love my big, burly D-line coaching husband so incredibly much for this — for his unconditional love and affection for our two totally opposite twin boys.

Our boys are undeniably loved and undeniably fortunate. Both their parents encourage and support them and their choices, encourage and support them and their passions, encourage and support them and their personalities. Both of their parents encourage and support THEM — whether they fit our expectations — or society’s — or not.

Our hopes and dreams and prayers for our boys are that they be happy, secure, productive members of society, doing whatever it is they want to do and being whomever it is they want to be.

And my hopes and dreams and prayers for every child in every house in every neighborhood in every land is that they have a family — with or without a big, burly D-line coach  — who wishes the same for them.

That’s all.

Amen.

When your Son Loves Princesses and your Society Wants him to Love Trucks

I have a son who loves princesses. Elsa is his all-time favorite, but he has a warm spot for Belle and Moana too. He wraps his small, three-year-old frame in his winter-white fleece blanket – the one he’s had from infancy, and says: “Look at me, Mama. I’m Elsa. I’m different.”

And what he means is, he’s not the Elsa with the purple cape from the beginning of the movie. Instead he’s the Elsa who has run away and morphed into her snow-and-ice gown. He’s Elsa after her sister Anna says, “Elsa, you’ve changed. You’re different.”

Yes, Elsa is different. And so is my little one. They are both different from what society expects of them.

And my heart swells with pride at his imagination and passion — and swells with the weight of worry and fear. As he twirls around in his soft, fuzzy make-believe world singing “Let it Go,” scorpions flick poisonous daggers deep in my gut.

He is so perfect and so passionate. And so perfectly poised for persecution.

And people will surely persecute him. They will be cruel. I know it will come. I know someone will laugh at him – and soon – for his adoration of Elsa and her beautiful snow-and-ice gown, a gown he begs for every time we go down the Disney aisle at Target.

And every time he asks, I am cautious and uncertain about how to reply. I don’t want to encourage him because I don’t want him to face a future filled with pain. But I don’t want to discourage him either — because I don’t want him to face a future filled with pain. Either decision ends in pain.

I’ve seen people I’m close to embrace their differences and suffer horribly at the hands of society’s narrow-minded expectations. And I’ve seen people I’m close to reject their differences and suffer horribly at the hands of their own fear and self-loathing. So what do I say to him?

So much pain – and certain pain no matter how I respond — all because society has created tiny, rigid little ideas about round holes and square pegs. Round holes are supposed to love glitter and tutus. Square pegs are supposed to love gearshifts and choo-choos. That’s the deal. That’s the rule.

And it’s ironic, really, because society is always throwing around clichés that encourage individuals to be…individuals:

Be Yourself. Express Yourself. Listen to Your Inner Voice. Break the Mold. Embrace your Differences. Be Confident. Be Courageous. Be True to Who You Are.

But the clichés are lies. All lies. Society only approves of you being you if you properly align with the gearshift and choo-choo, glitter and tutu gender agendas.

Being yourself can be hard – especially if you are a little boy who doesn’t like what society says you should like. Little girls who like to play ball and climb trees don’t get judged as harshly. (No, that comes later. The walls and glass ceilings and double-standards and bitch labels come quickly, but not yet.) When they’re little, they’re allowed, encouraged even. Being a tomboy is socially acceptable.

The same cannot be said for little boys. There is no equivalent of tomboy for a little boy who likes “girl” things — nothing positive, anyway. Society doesn’t like it when little boys like princesses and the color pink.

And somebody has already been making my son question his preferences. I don’t know who, but I know it has happened. In the last couple of months, he’s asked me on multiple occasions… “Mommy, are pink and purple girl colors?”

And each time, the question has made me cringe. “No. Boys can wear pink and purple too. Anybody who wants to can wear pink and purple. Daddy’s football team wears purple, right? And they’re all boys.”

And he nods at me and says, “Yes, anybody can wear pink and purple.”

And I hug him tight and wish I could stop the world from barging in on this boy and his favorite things.

“I’m Elsa and I’m different,” he says again, spinning in his winter-white fleece blanket.

I think about his “different” Elsa – the Elsa who is forced to run from society because her true self was covered and masked and contained until she – and everyone she loved — was almost destroyed when it finally broke free.

I refuse to let that happen to my sweet, innocent, passionate son. If he loves princesses, and the color pink, and Peppa Pig’s playhouse, and Strawberry Shortcake, and Barbie – and he does, he loves them all — then by golly, I will not tell him that he shouldn’t. I will not batten down his feelings beneath metaphorical gloves and deny him access to his true self.

Ultimately, this decision will hurt us both. His innocence will be shattered one day, and when that happens, my mother’s heart will be shattered too. But I believe it will hurt far less than teaching him to hate who he is and how he feels.

And I have no idea if my son will continue to feel this way as he grows up. I don’t know if he will grow to be a teenager who loves princesses or a man who loves princesses… but if he does that’s all right. And if he doesn’t, that’s all right too. Only our all-loving God knows that truth. But right now, my son does love princesses and he does love pink. And it (and he) is perfectly all right.

I love my son. And I truly believe that the only thing that can stop hate, is love. And to do that, we have to love ourselves first. So there is my answer. That is how I must answer my son when he tells me he wants an Elsa gown for Christmas. I must tell him, “All right.” I must tell him – and show him – that this is all right. That he is all right. That he is better than all right.

He is different. Elsa would be proud.

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