Today we played

Today we played together, me and you.
No rules, no time constraints, no interruptions.
We held hands and jumped in circles on your bed.
You threw your head back and giggled.
We fell together, collapsing with dizzy delight.

We ran through the house dancing and singing, skipping and hopping.
You followed behind me, my sweet shadow.
You were breathless with laughter.

I hid some of your toys, the small people you always play with.
You took your bucket and collected each one, announcing with pride, “Here he is!”
You hid them from me, “Close you eyes Mommy.” You say.
It is my turn to find their hiding places.
You help me locate every one and remain just as excited as the first time we played.

We paint, draw, and color.
I cut out pieces of paper. You glue them randomly, creating art.
We hang it in your room.
You shout to Daddy, “Come look at my wall!”

You speak in broken sentences, but your message is conveyed.
You grasp my hand as we walk down the front steps.
The December sun is warm against my face.
Your soft hair stands no chance in the wind and dances about your head as you run across the lawn.

I watch you playing.
You are happiness, love, harmony.
I am overcome with gratitude to be your mommy.
You make my soul drip with pleasure.
You make life… worth living good.


© Missy Willis

“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