I wait for your wings to grow
because something always comes next.
In the kitchen I’m busy with wrinkle-watered hands
As you crawl and open and learn new sounds
(even sudsy, I know your living-room ways)
and I know just when my minute is up
so I let drip-dry the last plastic cup and enter the room
where Fischer Price is the latest décor and I go to you
(scanning stereo wires still intact)
and my eyes find the coffee table—
you’re standing, rocking and baby talking when only yesterday
you stared upwards from the ground.
I say your name in my proudest voice
and you smile at me in your proudest way
and I get on my knees to play your game
because I can think of nothing better
than feeling proud close to the ground;
that way I can catch you if you fall
or if you decide to fly away.
“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.
* Gloria Steinem