Hank has a friend at school. His friend is smart and kind. His friend is always happy to see us when we arrive (typically running late) to the gym in the morning. Hank’s friend smiles and waves and asks Hank if he wants to play legos, or hula hoops, or whatever it is his friend is up to. When Hank is sad and cries when I bring him to school, his friend stands quietly and waits for him to not be sad. I only ever see his friend for those few minutes before and after school. Hank only has nice things to say about his friend. His friend never steals his Matchbox cars or tells him he is too little. Hank’s friend is a girl.
And when Hank told us at dinner that his new friend was Kendall, my husband asked “Is she nice?” He didn’t ask “Ohhh, is Kendall cute?” or “Is she your girlfriend?” Because there should no shame or embarassment in having a friend that is a kind, funny, caring, and all around awesome girl. And we don’t want Hank to ever feel differently.
This will be a challenge. I know this. I know we are going to have people ask Hank “Is that your girlfriend?” when he invites Stella or Natalie to a birthday party. I know someone might point out Margot is a girl when Gus brings her to play with the other boys. I know my boys are going to do it themselves. I dread the day Hank and Gus hang their first “No girls allowed sign” or tell Haddie she can’t come, because she is a girl. And I know, that it is my job, as their mom – the girl that sets all the norms – to tell them to knock it off. And I will.
Kendall gave Hank and I a picture when I dropped him off at school today. She was proud of it. So was Hank. He took it inside and showed his dad as soon as we got home – “My friend made this for us! She is good at rainbows! We are going to put it on the fridge!” I was probably the most proud of all.