Sometimes, I’m all No, we’re fine as a society. We’re making great progress! And then I wake up and remember that I live in the south.
Now, I love the South. Don’t misunderstand. I love the South and for the most part, there’s nowhere I’d rather be. In particular, my little island of sort-of forward-thinking progress is unique to a lot of the South, and that makes me feel better.
In other words, I only run a 55% chance of being lynched because of my Democratic vote here. My husband sports a large OBAMA 2012 sticker on his car, and we have yet to be egged. Now, we’re not in the full election swing yet, so there’s still time for folks to deny my Halloween candy. (FINE. MORE CANDY FOR ME. I’LL TAKE ALL THE CANDIES.)
I also want to caveat here that I really do adore Tony’s daycare. We’ve had some pretty awful issues in the past, but since we’ve been blessed with new administration, those have subsided quite a bit. Tony is happy there, all of the faculty knows him by name, and we like that the faculty knows that we’re a unique family. (Most of them have seen us onstage, or they know that we do that, and they’ve seen me in commercials, and what have you.)
So I was kind of tickled .. and then taken aback .. by something that happened a few weeks ago.
It was a Friday afternoon and I was running LAAAATE and still had to make one more stop before that errand’s business closed, so I was admittedly too rushed to talk through the issue. When I came to check Tony out of their attendance log book, the lady at the front desk said, “We need to talk about something.”
Of course, I was worried. Is everything okay? Is he hurt?
“Oh, no,” she assured me. “He’s fine. It’s just .. it’s sensitive, and the teachers don’t know how to approach you about it.”
Well.. I’m gonna suggest DIRECTLY and QUICKLY at the moment.
She lowered her voice to a whisper. “It’s just sensitive, you know. See.. Tony has been kissing. On ..” by now her voice was barely audible. “On.. other boys.”
Hm. Okay, well, I’ll talk to him about it.
“It’s not all the boys, now. Just one in particular. And they were worried about how you’d take it. Being another boy and all.”
Well, he’d mentioned it to me – that the kissing stuff was happening – and he told me with whom, but it’s fine. We’ll talk about it.
“Don’t be too worried about it; it’s a phase..” but I had kind of walked away at that point because I really was running late. And I got him in the car, and we talked frankly about how we kiss our family and that’s it. I never broke it down into “we don’t kiss boys” or “we don’t kiss white girls” or “we don’t kiss nasty boys” or anything like that, because why drive that home? And was the shame and secrecy shrouding the conversation because the two subjects were owners of penises? (.. peni?)
The lady told me that the other boy’s parents would be notified as well, and okay, fine.
But the more I thought about it, I was kind of miffed. 1) Tell me my kid was kissing on anyone, and that I need to curb it. Cool beans. I’ll make that happen. But don’t assume my reaction will differ on knowing the gender of whomever he was showing affection toward. 2) That kind of discussion – in that tone, especially – runs the risk of shaming the other kid’s parents into thinking that this is a Special Problem. We ARE in the South. And, look, we are not entirely far removed from the “I’ll beat the queer out of you” mentality. So why incite it?
And, look. Again, we ARE in the South. So her hesitance in speaking to me was probably based on the reactions she’s had with other parents when broaching the same subject. I really don’t blame her. There’s no telling how other parents react.
My favorite part was when I asked Tony why they had been kissing eachother, he said, “Because it made him mad.”
My child would be the one to bully through love.