So, I had this thought today that totally took me by surprise.
Lately, The Who has really been coming into his own and showing some real signs of his blossoming individuality. Louis CK does this bit about people who ask about your baby and how the answer is always just, “I don’t know. She’s a baby. I don’t know anything about her yet. Have you ever met a baby? That’s exactly how my baby is.” (Caveat: don’t click that link if you’re easily offended. Louis CK is offensive. And also hilarious. The part I’m talking about is from about 0:42-1:40.) And I completely relate. It takes a long time to know your kid because it takes a long time for a kid to know himself. I mean, sure. There are some things I could have told you about The Who when he was younger. He has always, for example, liked to be making physical contact when he was eating. Even as an infant in a high chair, he would reach over to hold my hand at mealtimes. And now? Same thing. We sit side-by-side on a bench at the dining room table and he always sidles up right next to me. But, in large part, I didn’t begin to know who he was until maybe, like, last year.
Anyway, he’s awesome. (But we already knew that.) He’s got a funky sense of style (t-shirts and neckties; fedoras and button-downs), a killer sense of humor (after flipping his johnson over the waistband of his jammies, he said, “my penis is on vacation; it’s just hanging out”), and a very, very, VERY inquisitive nature. He’s also, lately, drawing and crafting and creating constantly. And the other day, started making up songs (complete with a “signature” final riff) and busting out the harmonica. He says he is going to be a “singer/songwriter” when he grows up (and sometimes says he already is a singer/songwriter.)
Tonight, while he was in the shower, belting out his latest opus, I had this vision of him as a teenager. Or, maybe as a young man. Harmonica, fedora, spiral-bound sketch book. Sandy hair, sort of shaggy. A girlfriend.
A girlfriend? Why was that part of the picture I had of him as a cool young man?
Ok. This part’s hard.
I have a kid who loves nail polish and sparkly things. Although he has long maintained that blue is his favorite color, it definitely runs neck and neck with pink. He loves rainbows. He thinks he has a uterus. (Well, ok. Actually, he used to think he had one. I’m pretty sure he understands now that he doesn’t.) I also have a kid who has two moms, has attended Pride for three years running, has vacationed in Provincetown for five years, and who says things like, “most people think purple is a girl color, but I like it anyway and that’s ok.”
It sounds kind of awesome as I write it out and, of course, it is. He is awesome. He is unique and cool and really confident and happy to be himself, which is ultimately all I ever want for him. But as his love of glitter and crafting and purple nail polish with a turquoise accent nail has increased, I have begun to let some unattractive thoughts creep in. Most notably, what if he’s gay? (which really translates into what if he’s “too” effeminate?) I worry, I realized, that he will be made fun of. That he will be out of the mainstream. That he will not be — or feel — “normal” and that this will lead to a lifetime of hardship and unhealthy overcompensation.
I want him to be himself. I do. I want him to be a rainbow-loving, two-mom-having, artsy-farsty, singer-songwriter, harmonica-playing kid who grows into a rainbow-loving, two-mom-having, artsy-farsty, singer-songwriter, harmonica-playing man.
With a girlfriend.
I don’t have much more to say about this right now. It’s a whole ‘nother layer of parenting that I just get to think about and chew on.
Man. I used to think life was complicated before I had a kid…