So, I was just laying in bed with #1 son- as I do every night. We usually sing a few songs, or he will tell me a story about a train/truck/spaceship that exploded and destroyed the earth. A precious few moments at the end of the day. I play with his hair and watch as he fights to keep his eyes open.
There is a sadness about this boy. He is a happy kid, but a depth exists within him that is disconcerting as a mother. I have commented light heartedly about his OGT’s in the past- half hoping that they were just inherited traits from his Obviously Gay father. But tonight took on a different note.
He was clingy and upset tonight when he didn’t get his way in the game he made up after Family Home Evening. He has been clingy and upset a lot the past few days because he hasn’t felt well. I just responded with firmness that he doesn’t always get to win but that it was a great game, so let’s move on.
When we got up to bed, he seemed especially urgent in his pleas that I lay with him first, instead of with his brother who usually is first in line. I climbed up and lay with him, he wrapped his arms around my neck tightly, and said, “If I was a girl would you think I was beautiful?”
“Of course! You would be a beautiful girl,” I responded. I tried my best not to let on that my guts were spilling out all over the floor.
What is going on in this poor little 5 year-old’s mind that he would ask such a thing?
“Do you want to be a girl?” I asked.
“Yeah, I like to be a girl, and Sister and me could be girls together.” He said.
“Do you like to be a boy?” I asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
“Not very much any more, just a little bit.” Was his response.
This entire conversation was anything but lighthearted. He had been contemplating this for a while, and was very intent on hearing my response to his original question.
“What kinds of things would you like about being a girl?” Was my next attempt to dig deeper into his intent.
“Oh, just fings (things, in his vernacular.)” He was done with the conversation. He had the information he was after. All he wanted now was some physical comfort so I laid with him an extra bit while watching his eyes slowly close.
I cannot bear the thought of the pain that this kid may (or may not) be embarking upon. I guess this is God’s way of kicking me in the derriere to make sure these kids know who made them, who loves them, and where to turn when things get iffy in their lives.
A few years ago, we bought a Minerva Teichert print for the boys’ bedroom. It is of Christ in a fold of sheep, carrying a small black lamb. At the time there was no significance to the choice of print other than we loved the artist, and that each of us has felt like that little black lamb more than once in our lives. Now my fears that my little #1 will become quite deeply acquainted with the feeling of being the outcast are taking form.
Maybe this is all conjecture. Maybe this is nothing more than a 5 year old’s curiosity and insecurity about his place in the world. Maybe he will grow up to be a drag queen. Whatever. Right?
“Come what may, and love it” takes on a whole new meaning.