Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Color Pink (and Purple) or Anything But..

For a long time, my son's favorite color was pink. He was a pink bird in the school play. He has a big pink stuffed elephant named Pinky that was mine as a little girl and he loves it. He had pink sandals for the summer. His favorite shirt was his pink power puff girl shirt from the consignment shop. Purple was eventually added, and he loved his purple flowered pajamas.

Shortly after Christmas, B told us pink and purple were no longer his favorite colors. You might wonder what his new favorite colors were. We asked and were told anything but pink and purple. Hmm, okay then.

He still plays with his pink things. He wears his purple pajamas. But he doesn't reach for his pink shirt much anymore, and he doesn't ask for new pink things. Today, I found out why. Today, he didn't want to go to school. He didn't want to go to school because the boys at school don't believe him when he tells them his favorite colors are any colors except pink and purple. He didn't want to go to school because when he says that his favorite colors are anything except pink and purple they whisper to each other that they know he really likes pink and purple. 

Today, my heart broke. My heart broke because I can't protect him from this. My heart broke because my little boy who started to like pink simply because he did and who proudly continued to like pink even though he knew some people thought he shouldn't is now trying to hide his love of the color pink to not be teased and yet is still being teased. My heart broke because the parents of these boys didn't teach them that pink is just a color and my son is the one that has to deal with that. My heart broke because I wasn't able to give him enough love and confidence to just keep liking pink.

I wanted to hug him and shake him. I wanted to call those boys nasty names and tell my boy how much he should like pink. I wanted to tell him that there are dumb parents in the world who raise mean kids. But instead with my heart breaking, I asked him how that made him felt. He felt sad. I said it wasn't nice for those boys to hurt his feelings. I told him he could like any color he wanted and that pink was just a color. I told him those boys  shouldn't whisper about him. I hugged him and I kissed him. I wanted to make it all better, and I knew I couldn't. I told him that it was good to get a teacher if someone was hurting his feelings, because he's not one to do that. He's my sensitive little boy who internalizes things and talks about them weeks or even months later. This terrifies me.

And then I sent him off to school. I sent him off to school where he worked with, played with, and ate lunch with those boys like he always does. I picked him up from school and he asked when he could have a play date with those boys, while all I could think about was yelling at those boys for making him feel bad, yelling at their parents for not teaching them better.

I can't protect him. The only thing I can do is assure him that he is okay just the way he is. I can make sure he knows he is loved and accepted exactly the way he is. I can listen... hiding my rage, my fear, and my hurts so that he feels safe talking. And I can model how we treat others, being careful with my words and my opinions, so that he knows that it's never okay to make fun of someone. It's never okay to hurt someone's feelings or say things that could hurt someone's feelings if they heard them. isn't that something we could all be reminded of once in a while? This parenting stuff gets harder. every. damn. day.

Tonight, I put him to sleep and he begged for extra snuggling. I snuggled him and whispered..

B, I love you. I will always love you. You never need to do anything to get my love. It's always here. No matter what. I will love you if you break all the rules and don't listen to anything I ask you to do. I will love if you jump on the couch and don't go to sleep. *giggle* I will love you if help with chores and eat all your dinner. I love you on good days and bad days. I love you when you are happy and sad, when you are angry or upset. I love you when I am happy and when I am sad, when I am angry and when I am upset.  I love you absolutely no matter what. I love you if your favorite color is yellow, pink, or blue. I will love you if you grow up to be the President of the United States, and I will love you if you never have a job in your life. I love you simply because you are exactly who you are yesterday, today and tomorrow. There is nothing you can do to make me love you more or less. And you know what's cool, B? The same goes for Daddy.. he loves you the same way. And you know what's even cooler, B? The same goes for God. God loves us no matter what simply because we are God's children. We have good days and bad days. Sometimes we get upset or do unkind things. We love each other and forgive each other, and God loves and forgives us. It's pretty special. There's nothing we can say or do to change any of that.

He listened, smiling and snuggling. When I was done rambling, he snuggled in closer, and asked "mommy, can I snuggle you all day tomorrow?" Sure, B, there will be plenty of time for snuggling tomorrow.

I might not be able to fix everything, but I can snuggle and that's the next best thing.

1 comment:

  1. Fingers crossed things get better! You are such a great mom!!! :)


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