This year my son's Christmas wish list held the usual assortment of video games and gaming-related swag. And then he sent me a link to a necklace. It's not a tough-guy leather necklace, not a little surfer dude puka shell necklace. It's a NECKLACE necklace, heart-shaped with a garnet (his birthstone). Dear readers, I will probably buy my almost-10-year-old son that necklace. But WTF?
To tell you the truth, this didn't come as a huge surprise. My son has had an eye for bling ever since he first spied the gems at an exhibit at the Natural History Museum. He has shoulder-length hair. He goes to a small, independent school filled with the children of bohemia. Every kid at that school is an eccentric snowflake. But did I mention he's carrying around my purse, too?
To clarify, it's a funky bucket-shaped handbag I no longer use. He swapped this for his LL Bean standard-issue school backpack, telling me the handbag looked more "anime." This is something he's currently obsessed with, Japanese anime, and it's influencing his personal style. The other day he asked if he could start wearing my leopard print coat with the huge faux fox fur collar and cuffs. I said no, but only because it's too long for him and would drag on the ground.
I'd always said I'd be supportive of my child no matter who or what he wanted to be. So here's my test: My son is rocking a remarkably eccentric metrosexual style at a young age. And it makes me a little bit nervous.
Where is this going, exactly? I mean, if he's gay, fine. That's less of a big deal than it used to be. We live in a community that accepts different sexual orientations. He's definitely not transgender -- he does not want to be a girl and never asks for dresses. But still, I just want to make sure he's loved wherever he goes -- I don't want anyone to be mean to him just because he dresses flamboyantly.
On the other hand, I'm proud of him for having such a strong sense of individuality. I think it says a lot about his creativity, open-mindedness, and confidence.
Yesterday we were standing at a crosswalk together, and I looked him up and down. He had that handbag of mine, and he was wearing a necklace with a rhinestone-studded bunny -- along with flared yoga pants, a literary-minded t-shirt, a flannel shirt, checked Vans, huge fur earmuffs, and a very cool, nonchalant look on his face. He looked unbelievably, heartbreakingly fly.
So my job here is simple -- try and instill the inner strength he needs to move about the world with confidence and integrity, and then just get out of his way. And then trust that he'll be okay, no matter what the world thinks of a little boy who dresses like Lelouch Lamperouge.
What's something your kid has done that surprised you and made you question whether you can handle it?
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