Over the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve written about my youngest son, the Goon, and his perspective on the world. His preferences and choices tend to challenge some gender roles. As his father, there have been moments that were heartbreaking along the way.
Our journey watching his unique choices began when, as a 3 year old, he picked out his own footwear for the first time. His choice? A pair of purple and silver Dora the Explorer sneakers. I wrote about the separate-but-similar reactions that The Queen and I had at the time. We wrestled with the opposing instincts to support him in expressing himself while still concerned for the social conflict we were sure he’d face. Society does not allow one to challenge its mores without consequence.
Last year, I wrote about my youngest son- aka The Goon- and his selection of a pair of purple-with-silver-sparkles Dora the Explorer sneakers. I shared my reaction to my son’s very clearly articulated desire for the things that we would normally describe as “girly”. A lot of folks read that blog post and I’m genuinely humbled by the reaction. For me, the events I wrote about are all good. I came away from them believing that my son is a wonderfully unique little boy who knows who he is. As a father, that’s about all I think really matters.
So about a year and a half later, we’ve moved into a new house accompanied by my father (Papa), who’s still living in our basement, and welcomed the addition of my mother-in-law (who will be known as Nonni in my writings), into our crazy, loving household. (Yes- my father and my wife’s mother both live with us. No- they are not together. Yes- it is just as crazy as you might imagine. Nonni and I are going to write a sitcom. See you in Hollywood…)
My boys are now 14, 6, and 4. They are smart, considerate, sweet young men. I’m a lucky Dad. Life is good.