I had two important jobs that day: to protect his heart as best as I could, and to let him know I love him unconditionally.
My plan was to tell his teacher when I dropped him off, but a different staff member met him at the car.
(I reject the whole idea of gendered toys, but the world does not always agree with me on this.) He loved cars and ballet, princesses and superheroes, baby dolls and trains.
When he wanted to play dress-up, he often chose the princess dresses over the construction worker vest.
I spent my morning worrying, feeling my heart pound ceaselessly in my throat.
When I picked him up, he was still wearing the dress. I asked him how his day was, but he didn’t mention the dress.
There was no time for me to “warn” them — no time to ask that they protect his heart, that they support him, that they encourage him, that they call me in case things went wrong, that they call me in case things went right. Then I got back in my car, pulled out of the parking lot, and cried. But he was in a preschool program in an elementary school that went up to sixth grade. What would the teacher think when my son took off his coat and stood at his cubby in a white maternity monstrosity? I prayed that maybe he’d just changed his mind first thing and traded the dress for his sweatshirt.
A few nerve-wracking times, he wore his favorite dress out of the house.
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Like last year, for instance, when I sent my son off to school in a dress.
He had just turned 4, and he liked “boy stuff” and “girl stuff” equally.