Socially Unconscious
Socially Unconscious
Posted by linda_notonfb - Tagged , , , , , , , ,
In a phone call with my DD, darling daughter, this morning, we talk about her work, our upcoming Christmas trip to the beach and the comings and goings of her busy family, including my three grandbabies. My oldest grandchild is a six-year-old girl I’ll call Wee for the blog, and the younger two are boys, a 4-year-old and a 6-months-old bundle of grins and giggles. They live in the Midwest, and since their GG moved nearly two thousand miles away for a fresh start after my divorce, I digest every morsel of information about them like it’s caviar.

DD describes Wee as an old soul, and in her first baby photo, she looks straight at the camera knowingly, like she’s seen it all and you’re not fooling her. Couple that with her raspy little voice (my friend LP says she sounds like she’s smoked a pack a day since birth), and her composure when talking to adults who are three feet taller, and she’s a 50-pound force of nature.

So when Wee recently announced in a matter-of-fact way, “I’ve seen boys kiss boys and girls kiss girls at my GG’s house,” she received shocked looks from some adults who overheard her.

I live in a community that’s populated with as many gay couples as straight, and no, she hasn’t been to my house for some bacchanalian gathering, but rather a house party where she saw people kissing one another goodbye on the lips as they departed. She was only four then, and at the time, she scrunched up her face and said, “Ewwww, I just saw two boys kiss each other,” to which my friend Goody replied, “She needs to read the book ‘Debbie has two daddies’!”

My daughter was mortified. I raised her around my gay friends, we vacationed with them when she was a kid and she had never given Wee a reason to think there was anything wrong with same sex couples. But, my granddaughter had no doubt heard another message, most likely from other kids whose parents aren’t willing to accept a lifestyle different than their own. So after my party, DD talked to her about it, and a day later we were at a restaurant where two gay men had just gotten married and were popping the cork on a bottle of champagne at a nearby table. Wee joined us in congratulating them on their happy day; message delivered that even a four-year-old understood.

Goody tells the story about wanting to ride the train in London as a little boy of about ten–while carrying his favorite white handbag. You’ve gotta give his mum kudos for letting him be himself 45 years ago when little boys carrying purses were not the norm anywhere. My other male gay friends all have stories that vary wildly from acceptance to being disowned, and each story told years later still has a little piece of the pain attached to it like a barnacle that won’t let go. I see it in their eyes, and hear it in the way their voices change as if they’re little boys again in the re-telling of it.

When Wee told her pre-school teacher the tall tale that she was Jewish, my daughter bought her a dreidel and a menorah, displayed them right alongside their Christmas tree–and took the opportunity to cover topics all the way from the baby Jesus to Hanukkah.

I’m endlessly proud of my daughter and her daughter. When Wee grows up to be like our namesake (we each share a name that was my mother’s, a gentle soul who never said an unkind word about anybody in her life), my DD will know that she’s done things right with her kids–without denigrating someone’s sexuality, sanity, Christianity or any of the other things on the mean girl list that we shame people for.

So to the mothers out there whose children are different in any way from the misguided stereotype of what’s “normal,” and who are just trying to give their babies a chance at a safe, healthy, happy life, I say keep getting on that train, sisters–and never lose faith in what you know is right.

Click to read the next post: “Royal Underdogs”
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  • Avatar JuleS says:

    Why is it that learning what is really normal, that we are all different with unique gifts to give, has taken so long and caused such pain for those who were different? On that train. PS My nephew is finally marrying his partner this coming Saturday. Cheers!!

    • Avatar linda_notonfb says:

      I’m so glad you and I were smart enough to board that train when we were young–and congratulations to your nephew!! I’m going to a wedding at the Parker (where you attended DD’s nuptials nearly 9 years ago!!) in March between two of my great guy friends. So happy I’m not paying for it this time around!