Reverse Parenting

It can be hard
watching you grow up
towards independence

Loving you so
feeding you
‘open wide’
changing you
‘not again’

I push you in your stroller
you walk a little more each day
tumbling less

The joy

You learn language
sounds develop into words
words become sentences

Your world expands

At night I gently lay you
on your side
you curl up snug
foetal again

I kiss your forehead
the skin so fine
my lips sense the steady pulse
of your life

Your heart
certain of tomorrow

 

 

Parenting Reverse

It can be hard
watching you grow down
towards dependence

Loving you still
feeding you
‘open wide’
changing you
‘not again’

Stumbling more
you walk a little less each day
I push you in your wheelchair

The sadness

You unlearn language
sentences diminish into words
words become sounds

Your world contracts

At night I gently turn you
on your side
you curl up snug
foetal again

I kiss your forehead
the skin so fine
my lips feel the feeble pulse
of your life

Your heart
uncertain of tomorrow

 

© Sheryl Persson

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem