A week or so ago, my daughter whispered something to me at the dinner table.
She said, "Mama, I'm Paxton's girlfriend."
I laughed and said, "Oh, really?"
Maggie is only 3 and a 1/2 years old. The fact that she even knows what the word "girlfriend" means caught me off guard. I thought I didn't have to worry about that stuff for a while -- at least not until kindergarten.
The funny part about this story is that she followed this scandalous confession up with, "But I think I'm going to marry Sierra when I get older."
I love little kids. I love how innocent, honest and uncompromising their thoughts are. I love how they haven't yet fallen prey to societal demands and stipulations on gender and sexuality. I love how the boxes of masculinity and femininity, that we as adults try to fit into, have not yet closed around them.
It's interesting for me to function as a parent on a completely open-minded level when I didn't enjoy that same luxury as a child. My parents weren't completely closed-minded or anything, but there were many times where I felt like I couldn't be myself. I couldn't dress the way I wanted, I couldn't carry myself in the way I felt comfortable, and I couldn't talk openly about girls I liked. I didn't want to be judged or made to feel wrong for acting on what felt so completely normal to me. So I hid who I was for the greater part of my adolescence, and it wounded my soul.
I'm a parent now. We are living in different times, and after having gone through it, I make it a point to let my daughter know she can be herself and will not be judged for it. She can wear dresses and paint her nails different colors if that's how she loves to express herself, if that's what makes her feel good, and if that's what makes her soul sing.
Maggie can be Paxton's girlfriend if she wants, or she can marry Sierra when she gets older. I don't care. The simple fact that she feels comfortable talking openly about it with me at 3 years old makes me want to leap over the moon. She deserves the space to figure out who she is on the deepest of levels and to live her truth to the fullest extent. We all do. Unfortunately, many of us weren't given that same gift when we were kids. That's why I'm giving it to Maggie.
Of course, I won't actually let her start dating until she's 25. So there's that.