Little ballet shoes twirling through the living room.
The dreams we have for this little one twirls with the shoes. A blonde head charging down the football field like his dad or racing on a track like his mom suddenly turns and twirls towards a stage with a red curtain rising.
Two boys with a girl sandwiched in the middle means blue and pink toys filling our house. Dolls and action figures, trucks and play makeup. Most often, in the state of normal chaos, these toys are mixed together in bins and baskets, mingled among a million gender non-specific toys or random items that are not toys at all.
I find myself in a different place with my second son than I did my first. Nine years ago I bought blues and trucks and action figures, never considering the pink things sitting on store shelves. I encouraged soccer and lacrosse and then baseball and football as he got older and his natural athleticism became more apparent.
But now this second boy has a choice of toys with assorted colors and themes. And while nine years ago I would have likely encouraged my first with “that’s a boy toy” or “well, that’s for girls,” I find myself in a different place this time around. Not just because of birth order or gender but also because we live in world with much more awareness now than we did even nine years ago. And setting our children up to live in the world of the future means purposefully making a choice on how we present things now.
Right now it's about pink or blue; but it's also about color not mattering. Right now it's about playing with barbies or playing with trucks; but it's also about my daughter having the same options as her brothers. Right now it's just about wanting to dance or play soccer; but it's also about being comfortable in their own skin and standing up for the right of all humans to be comfortable in their own skin.
So in this world of social media that quickly spreads the reality of a world where racism and hate still live, where a #metoo movement is necessary, where being transgender means not being welcomed to use a public restroom, I can only hope these little minds we are raising will be part of the key to change.
So I stop myself from telling him he can't wear that because he's a boy. I correct my daughter when she comments that girls can't play that. I explain it to my oldest when he asks how a boy can marry a boy.
And I buy the tiny ballet shoes for the little blonde-haired boy.