We all have this mama bear side of us that goes into complete defense/battle mode when we feel that our kids are being threatened in some way. I think this side of us is a primal survival instinct from when we could have actually been hunted. I haven’t researched that to know for sure.
I have three kids, they are all so different and need protection and guidance in different ways. My oldest has always been a leader and so smart. She needs protection from her own perfectionism and her tendency to hide her emotions inside. My middle is a math whiz and a force to be reckoned with. He often needs help to move past some of his powerful emotions. Then there is my youngest, my four year old. He while also so smart is this incredible free spirit.
My youngest brings out my greatest mama bear side. He has marched to a little bit of a different beat since before he could talk. He enjoys all things dress up and glitter and often times prefers to be called by any girl name he can think of over his own. He wants to do dance and play with ponies or watch “girl shows” as he calls them. In our house we let him dress up and steal his sisters clothes, play ponies, draw rainbows and watch “girl shows”. We learned very early on that he is who he is, his passions run deep. I don’t know where all this will take him in life, he just may be destined for a different path than most boys his age. With an older brother who is “all boy” and wouldn’t be caught dead in the color pink and an older sister who is a dancer and gymnast this little one has access to all choices. My husband and I have embraced this and try to let him be who he is.
As my youngest gets older it is becoming obvious to me the looks from other people if he wants to wear a princess dress and pretend a blanket or towel is “girl hair”. There is confusion when he says “I am Avery today” and absolutely refuses to answer to his own name. I recently had an argument with my parents that keeps playing over and over in my head. They are very conservative but not religious or old so this argument took me a little by surprise. They wanted me to stop letting him dress up and stop him from saying he’s a girl. In their interpretation I should say no, I am allowing him to “be confused” and I am not telling him how “he should be”. I tried to explain to them that I am not saying yes or no to any of these choices he is making. He is always attracted to these stereotypical “girl things” and in my opinion I could say no and he would still choose those things. They in all seriousness accused myself and my husband of raising him differently than my other two kids. I held strong during this argument that I couldn’t have made my other kids act more or less like the more socially accepted definitions of boy or girl if I had tried and that I also can’t change what my youngest chooses to be.
This whole argument made me at first upset, then angry, and now determined to make this little boy of mine feel protected. I don’t know if he will wake up one day and stop pretending to be a girl or if he will continue to do that his whole life. I want him to know that at home he is safe. That we love him however he chooses to be. As a therapist in early intervention I see so many kids near his age and I know that he is acting differently than the norm, I also see this amazing confidence in him. He is strong in his choices and he holds true to his passions. He inspires me to dig deeper and follow my passions. I never want to put out his light to make someone else more comfortable. He may have a long road ahead but my hope is that he is always able to hold his head high and flash his amazing smile. I will protect him as long as I can until one day he can spread his wings on his own. From that day on I will be there behind him with all the pride and support in the world.
“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”