I open my eyes and in the dark
linger between sleep and non-sleep
briefly pondering this small head
lying in my arms,
with its softest breath,
of little boys and sunny days.
Later I wake to full sunlight and
two black pools of wonder staring at me
small hands cupping my cheeks
and a rosebud mouth breaking out
into a smile then a mumbo jumbo
of not quite words
just a mix of vowels and consonants
of ampersands and semi-colons
of question marks and exclamations.
dewdrops, honey drops of laughter.
bells pealing, bubble bursting laughter.
Bringing me to not too distant pasts
many similar scenes
countless cherished mornings
with two other children.
“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