As we stood in line for our reservation at Cinderella's table, my three big kids shimmied into their costumes--a Cinderella dress, a Rapunzel dress, and a Snow White dress. The family in front of us looked a bit puzzled. The Disney workers, of course, didn't bat an eye. Yes, we brought three princesses to eat at the castle, two of whom were boys.
Barnes loves his Cinderella dress. We gave it to him for Christmas because he had outgrown his old one. This one is "fancier" than the last, with sparkles and pearls and a little photo. He thinks it's the most beautiful gown in the world.
Shepherd returned from Disney World smitten with Belle. Yellow is his favorite color, and he just HAD to have a Belle dress. He literally asked multiple times each day when he could get a Belle dress. So shortly after our return, Andrew drove to Target after bedtime one night to surprise him in the morning. It's now his most prized possession.
At least three times a week we play princesses. Sometimes it's a princess tea party, sometimes princess super heroes, sometimes a dance party, and sometimes a sword fight. No matter the scenario, though, we don our dresses, gloves, shoes, crowns, and occasionally extra jewelry.
Why do we play princesses? Because that is what my kids choose. With an assortment of dress up options presented to them, they choose the princesses almost every time. It makes them happy. It makes them feel special. It ignites their imagination.
Do we care that our boys like to dress up as princesses? Not one bit. Honestly. Not at all. First of all, they are kids. We want them to have fun and explore and not worry about worldly expectations. Second of all, I firmly believe that allowing them to dress as princesses now will have no affect on who they become (other than to possibly make them more loving and accepting, which would be awesome). If our children are gay, they are already gay. If one of my boys still wants to wear dresses in 5 years or 10 years, he was going to want to wear them no matter what we played.
So what's my point here? Every so often, I print this blog into a book. While I enjoy writing, this entire endeavor is primarily a love letter to my children. I hope that one day they will look back and be able to relive their childhood through my words. That they will gain insight into the choices we made as parents and who Andrew and I were as people. Most of all, though, I hope that they will be able to hold these pages and see how much they have always been loved.
To Barnes and Shepherd (and Ellis when you're old enough to dress up)-- One day you may look back at pictures of yourselves in princess regalia and be embarrassed. Or one day you may look back and laugh. Or perhaps you will see your true self in these old photos. No matter, here's what I want you to know. From the day you were born, your dad and I have loved you without reservation. We adore you. We know that God created you, and that who you are is exactly who you were intended to be. There is nothing you could be or do that would make us love you more or less--you already have our whole hearts. Right now, you think that sparkly dresses are special and beautiful. Your dad and I think that you are special and beautiful. Whether you keep donning these gowns for 30 more years or decide next week that "boys don't wear dresses," we couldn't love you more. It's been an honor having dinner with princesses so many evenings, and it will continue to be for as long as you choose.