Last night, we had to run to the pharmacy and grocery store. N has croup and we were out of coffee. (I’m not sure which one is more horrible.)
My son was back in his yellow dress. I was relieved to see him playing as he sees fit — that other children’s slights have not stayed with him as they do with me. But as we got ready to go, I gently asked him: Do you want to take off the princess dress?
My heart tightened as I contemplated a Saturday night at a busy strip mall. Scott asked if we should remind him of the possible consequences. I wracked my brain to recall the worst in humanity and the sharpest of comebacks.
Random stranger: You shouldn’t let him wear a dress.
Me: If it keeps him from growing up to be like you, we’re all good.
Random stranger: Faggot.
Me: Ignorant prick.
But I don’t know want him to think that these people are reasons to stay home. To change. To be afraid. I want him to see a world of possibilities and goodness, and parents who can believe with him.
I could stand up for us. But what if a child said something again? I can’t cut down other people’s children like that. I just can’t be that adult.
So I ran upstairs and stood at my closet. I took a deep breath and ran back down.
E looked in my arms and his eye’s lit up: You’re going to wear you princess dress, too?
Me: Yes, baby, I am.
My daughter looked up and said: OOOOH… Me dress?
So I ran and got the other princess dress in their dress-up bin.
My husband walked into the room full of sequins and satin and said: Do you have something I can wear?
With my heart bursting, I said: Hold on.
I gathered my tulle and headed back to my closet again.
We squeeze Scott into a blue and purple stretchy dress and out we went into that hard angry world.
I tweeted and facebooked: “The entire family is wearing princess dresses. #solidarity”
I didn’t take many pictures because I was too busy being a part of a family. A family who rocks. And to whom not a single person spoke or smirked. Most smiled! And to the ones who didn’t? I smiled at them anyway. Because that’s what princesses do.