I had a Skype date with Noah tonight. We told jokes and laughed. We had a dance party to Harry Belafonte, Bobby Darin and Fred Astaire. We read and we listened to Gillian Welch. We gave cyber hugs a lot, which aren’t nearly as good as the real thing.
Something that I always notice when he’s at his dads: the fact that he’s almost ALWAYS in blue…and typically with some stereotypical “boy” identifier on his shirt: a truck, a football, a Star Wars character, another truck. Aside from the Star Wars characters, this is so different from the Noah that I know. But, then again, he doesn’t get to dress himself at his dad’s. He’s 6 1/2 and still doesn’t get that choice. Is it that there’s such a great fear of what he will look like if he’s given the opportunity to choose for himself, and how that would reflect on his dad in public?
Noah and I had recently found several articles of clothing in the boys section of stores that have a rather generous amount of pink in each of them. Ever hopeful, we asked his dad if he would be allowed to wear them since they were specifically from the boys section. The response we got was “Sure.” While it didn’t sound promising, being optimistic we packed them. Just in case. He’s been cross-country for nearly two weeks now and, while we’ve only Skyped four times, and I’ve only seen what he’s wearing those four times, I’m willing to lay down every penny that I have and bet that not a single article of clothing has come out of Noah’s bag.
I know how it feels to have restrictions placed on what I wear and how I look. I know what it’s like to eventually rebel against that and free myself from those constraints. I know what it does to Noah’s spirit. I can see it, I can feel it. And it hurts my soul, but probably not as much as it does his. And what’s really sad is that his dad knows what that feels like, too. He’s a grown man and his mother STILL tells him how he should look. And he STILL does what she says. I’m not that kind of mom, and I’m not raising that kind of man. No. That’s not how we roll. If it were, my life with my son would look a hell of a lot different. And not in a good way.
So is it really that important to create a wedge between yourself and your child at such an early age because (s)he is not a mirror image of yourself? Is your ego really so fragile that you need a mini-me to feel worthy? Would it crush your man pride to have a gentle, sensitive child who walks his own path freely and not follow in your every footstep? Really? Well grow up. To every single self-serving parent out there: Grow the fuck up.
I will take my child just the way he came to me. I will embrace him for exactly who he is, not for some bullshit egotistical vision of who I think he should be. They are here to teach us a thing or two and, damn it, I’m going to learn. And because of that, I hope that our relationship always looks just the way it does now: strong, loving and respectful.
Kisses, snuggles and hugs.