That’s what she said


Me Myself and I, 3rd grade school assignment, Berkeley, CA


Back-to-School night was a few weeks back. Now that both kids are at the same school, we were busy:  two classrooms to case, two teachers to whom to introduce ourselves/ our family make-up/ our family nomenclature/ etc., two clumps of curious parents to which to introduce ourselves.  Our divide-and-conquer strategy was hampered by the familiar Mama will need to extirpate herself from the theater and won’t be able to be there for the whole shebang thing, magnified my wobbly stumbling in the wake of my recent unanticipated job loss.  Outgoing Presidents and Presidents-elect have over two months in which to effectively transfer and assume power, and I am thinking Mrs Dad and I are going to need at least that much time to re-shape our family rhythms now that I’m back in them again.  Meanwhile, there’s the frequent backing into each other in the kitchen, and the simultaneously uttered “I thought you scored the babysitter for tonight!”

So, late and frazzled though we were, back-to-school we went, and whistle-stop toured each room. True to our experience thusfar, teachers and parents were warm and welcoming, and we were able to get down to the business of consuming all we could about the education our kids were about to receive, rather than worry about whether anyone in a position of influence over our children would understand, or worse, judge us. (Those of you who do have to worry about and parent around and through such things: (1) my heart goes out to you and (2) I can’t wait ’til we fix all of this.)

We were struck with the warmth of “our” teachers this year (when will we stop feeling as if we share the kids’ teachers?). At the end of the night, as we were leaving our daughter’s classroom, we saw three rows of the kids’ self portraits on the wall in the hallway, each accompanied by a page of descriptive text.  The children were clearly asked to complete a series of sentences: “One thing I like to do in school is…” “A friend I have in class is…” And so forth.

The last question was: “I want [teacher’s name] to know that…” Our girlie answered so simply, so matter-of-factly, and in so doing also answered not just her teacher’s question, but the huge one I had long ago, when we were just starting this parenting journey: “Will my kids be insecure, or secretive, or ashamed about the fact that they’re being raised by two lesbians?”

In a word: nope.

(For foreshadowing, see also: end-of-Kindergarten self-portrait.)


8 thoughts on “That’s what she said”

  1. Isn’t it great to discover these things?! We just went through the same procedure: grade 5, new school (secondary school – we’re in Europe), and we were prepared for our daughter to want to wait with her coming-out about our family. But, no, there was her “This is me” portrait on the wall and she had come up with a category “special characteristics” to which her answer was “has two moms”. As simple as that.
    It’s great to hear your voice more often again.

    • And yours! (Haloo, ol’ chum!) I truly felt, while dogpaddling during overemployment, that I was missing out so much by not being able to keep this channel open. Wow, FIFTH GRADE. Wow.

      And to your parallel anecdote: you know, this whole parenting thing so puts us on the edge of everything: comfort, tolerance, expectation. And over and over again my kids show me that what’s on the other side of that edge is not what I expected, because it’s usually better than I expected.

      Granted, we are living (at no small financial cost! yow!) in one of the most progressive towns (if not the most progressive?) in one of the most progressive states (def. NOT the most) in the country, and we reap the rewards daily by being, for the most part, ordinary and unremarkable. Even if we’re still in a relatively wee numerical minority. But it helps so much to hear if/ whenever this happens elsewhere, that the “normal” for our kids is not a “new” normal, it just is THE normal. Before long (though not without struggle, mind you), the odd ones out will be those who don’t get that and move on to bigger & better things.

  2. This is so gorgeous, in every way. Such a brilliant, simple, living example that we all want our truth to be known that we might be well taken care of by those in charge of, and that we might be lucky enough to make friends who accept us. Her self portrait is amazing. Hearts! Hair! (And she has excellent taste in books.)

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