My Son Plays With Dolls, And I Couldn’t Be Happier

Dear Stone,

If by chance there is such a thing as WordPress when you turn 15, and this blog is still live and accessible, I hope you will forgive your old mother for this post. It was written with love and the utmost respect for the man that I believe you will one day become.

Every mother has dreams for their children, and over the course of the last 5 or so years I’ve shared mine on M.O.M. As the kids grow and develop new interests and talents, so do my fanciful thoughts of what their future lives might look like.

I don’t know what my children will become. I am certain that my mother never imagined that the thousands and thousands of dollars she and my father spent on my private elementary school education leading to a private university education would land me as I am now: a full time stay-at-home mom with a part-time job as a shoe sales associate who blogs occasionally just to have some contact with the world outside of my suburban bubble. Had she the foresight, I’m certain my parents would have spent the money on a yacht and on extravagant annual vacations. However I am also convinced that the only reason they didn’t – and the reason I will not either – is because all good parents have great hopes for their children, and they invest in those hopes.

Ultimately, I’d like to see with my children become productive members of society with good paying jobs, or as job creators themselves. For instance, my son looks exceptional in yellow. Perhaps he might go to Georgia Tech and become an engineer. He loves locomotives and is smitten with aeronautics. Who knows what he may discover or invent in the realm of mechanics in a decade or so? The 45 year old me is already beaming with pride. See what kinds of lofty dreams merely seeing him in a hand-me-down yellow polo can produce? That is why it is very important to dress your offspring (and yourself) in a manner that inspires greatness. That is why I don’t dress them in dull colors. When have you ever seen a president or a CEO in a mud brown suit?

I digress.

My goals for my children go beyond the professional, of course. My hopes for my children also include the acquisition of true love. The desire for this is stronger for my girls, not because I want them subjected to and engulfed by this pervasive Disney princess notion that has plagued our culture in their adult years, but rather because I don’t want them to deal with the plethora of douchebags that are being churned out year after year. I look at this generation of Millennials and the wider male population does little to inspire confidence in me. Please allow me a moment to make a personal plea. Seriously, for my sake, do a better job of raising your sons. The Douchebag Apocalypse is already upon us. Why should you aspire to raise a douche?

I have vowed that my son will not cause any woman douche-y harm, which is why when he bounded into my room this afternoon carrying a doll, I was beyond pleased.

Whenever possible, I leave the kids to their own devices so that they can develop some sense of independence. The last 4 afternoons of this week I have made it a point to go to my room and make sure that they play alone, without my direct supervision. I am often amazed by what I hear them come up with. The sounds of their attempts at building spaceships from tape and cardboard, silly songs about ponies and of course the occasional howl of pain from one sibling hitting another filter upstairs from where I sit. Yesterday afternoon, Stone came into my room carrying Dora the Explorer, a relic from Nadjah’s toddler years. Like all the other dolls in the house, she has been disrobed and physically scarred in some way. He had a serious look on his face.

stone doll“It’s the baby’s birthday,” he said solemnly.

“Oh, is it?” I asked in genuine surprise.

“Yes. And I’m the daddy. I’m going to get her cookies and ice-cream for her birthday. Okay?”

“Okay, Stone.”

He left the room and came back a few minutes later with a request.

“Can you tell Nadjah and Aya to be quiet? The baby needs to sleep.”

I told them I would ask them to tone it down for his “child”.

With her trademark scowl, we walked out of the room and barked at his sisters to “hush!”

Of course, I was tickled to my core. I knew my husband would be mortified at the thought of his son playing with dolls, as would many a red-blooded Black male, but for me it solidified a conviction that I’d silently held: My son is going to be a great dad someday. And the reason I know this is because he was a wonderful role model in his father.

Marshall comes home and cooks for his family every night. I have cooked dinner a cumulative twelve times in the eight years that we’ve been married – and that might be an overestimate. My husband has never once shrunk away from changing diapers and is not above doing laundry. He’s a man that knows his way as well around the kitchen as he does the hood of his car. As gender roles in society become more and more blurred, with more women becoming the primary bread winners and men taking a more active role in child rearing, males who come ready with these nurturing traits are going to be in higher demand. And yes, I recognize that I only when morsels and not whole loaves for my family. I am terribly lucky to have a man who helps out to the extent that he does without expecting me to earn a paycheck that rivals his.

photo(11)From his own infancy, my son has watched his father treat his sisters with respect, love and caring. It would only make sense that he would attempt to do the same with the female doll he lugged into the room that afternoon. After he put (or most likely, threw) Dora back into the toy bin after her nap was over, Stone brought his toy trucks into the room so he could make rowdy crashing noises, and irritate me by extension. But what more could a mother ask for? A son with a wonderful sense of balance – softness as well as strength – is the best I could produce, even if it is just a happy accident. I am trying to raise exactly the type of young man I would want for my girls when they become women, and they are unwitting pawns in this quest. After all his sisters, who outnumber him 3:1, are just as complicit in the results of his upbringing as I. I can’t rightly take all the credit.