Sunday, January 13, 2008

A faint whiff of victory!

One of the greatest joys of parenting is that every once in a blue moon you can see into the future. It's a hazy, surreal experience that lasts but a moment. I had one of those moments on Friday afternoon. That moment smelled like victory.

I remember the day my mom went back to work. My youngest sister was in Kindergarten, and zeitgeist gave my mother the push she needed to put herself back into the larger world. It was a fruitful decision that led to a thirty year fulfilling career. She is retiring this year and frankly, she's scared to death.

We girls of the 70s watched all this carefully. We saw our mothers fearlessly pitting themselves against men and sometimes winning. We saw them learn how to demand more of our fathers, and saw our fathers grow into homemakers - or something resembling homemakers anyway. We heard people tell us "You can be anyone! Do anything!" out of one side of their mouths. Then we heard "You run like a girl" out of the other side. We heard that men and women were equal, then we saw our mothers going on strike in the home to get some help with the housework. And most importantly, as expectations for women broadened and grew, expectations for boys remained the same.

Right now, I'm seeing that boys are being given more options. As the boys of the 70s are growing up, they're making their own demands. Dads are choosing to stay home, work part time, or stay with a more traditional role. The important thing is that they are actually making a choice. I've never doubted that my daughter could do anything, but I'm glad to see that my son can as well.

On Friday afternoon, Jake was breathless with excitement. His class is studying biographies. They are reading books, writing reports, and presenting their report to the class - in costume. Jake chosen subject is a woman. And my little boy doesn't see anything wrong or demeaning or even worthy of comment about dressing up as an heroic woman in front of his class. To him, she's not a woman but a hero. My mother is frantic that he'll be humiliated. I'm not. I've got my crystal ball and I know that the future is full of choices for all of our children.


Jen said...

Wow that's awesome!

Lisa said...

Christy, that's wonderful! Whose biography is Jake presenting?

Mary Witzl said...

Bless him -- great kid! I was Joseph in every damn nativity play (because of my super-short hair, and how silly given that the real Joseph probably had long hair...), and I commend your son for actually choosing a woman: you've no doubt given him a good example. Now I'm wondering: Florence Nightingale? Harriet Tubman?

Bethany said...

Reading your blog is always so refreshing. :)

Christy said...

Well, it turns out that it's not quite as super as I thought. It's Joan of Arc. It turns out that Jake picked her because then he could bring a sword to school. Oh well, I'm still counting it as a victory.