(Raising my Rainbow) It was the most sincere display of appreciation that my 5-year-old son has ever shown. He looked me straight in the eyes and said a very mature “thank you.” The words were full of honesty, relief, happiness and a little bit of anguish.
“You’re welcome, baby,” I said looking at him with a smile and masking the pain I was feeling. “You look so pretty.”
My gender-creative son was thanking me for buying him a dress to wear to Christmas Eve dinner.
He had eyed the ensemble at Target weeks ago and asked to wear it for Christmas so he could take “fancy pictures by the fireplace and the tree.”
I told him no. Not because the outfit was made for girls and he is a boy, but because had I bought it then he would have wanted to wear it immediately and often and when we finally sat down to Christmas Eve dinner it would have been thrashed.
He talked about his “Christmas outfit” nonstop and asked everyday if it was time to go buy it.
Today was the day. We got home and both ran up the stairs to my bedroom with its mirrored closets. I sat on the floor removing price tags while he tore off his “school clothes,” which he wears as a disguise when out in society so that people will think he is all boy.
He wears “school clothes” so that he won’t get teased, have to sit by himself at the lunch tables and so he will get invites to birthday parties. More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.” But, he’s not.
He closed his eyes as I put on the black bubble skirt covered in sequins, the red long sleeved t-shirt that spells out “JOY” in glitter, and the black sequined vest. I spun him around toward the mirror. He opened his eyes, took himself in and then thanked me.