Flopsy has been playing a game lately that I am not too fond of. She likes to pretend that Curly is her mommy and she runs around the house saying “Mama, Mama, Mama!” and when I ask what she wants (thinking of course that she is speaking to me) she says, “No, other Mommy! Emma Mommy.” This charade is very frustrating because she has started doing it in public and I look like I am ignoring my child’s cries for me. I get judgey eyes and am like, “Oh, no Sir, she’s not calling for me, she’s talking to her sister…”
At one point I asked her who I am and she said “Mommy” and when I followed up with “then why do you call Emma Mommy?” she said she has two mommies.
And that’s when it hit me. One of her best friends from school and church has two mommies, so maybe in addition to playing a game of house with her sister, she is also experimenting with the knowledge that there are different types of families. The first time she and Curly met “Carter” and his two mommies, I explained that we have a family with a mommy and daddy but other kids may have two mommies or two daddies or just a single mommy or daddy. They are 2 and 1/2 so this giant revelation was met with, “Oh, ok.” Followed by an extremely loud and adorable game of “Ring Around the Rosie.”
At this age kids are just starting to notice differences in the world around them. So if they innocently ask why a man is in a wheelchair, rather than hushing them and walking away, I explain that sometimes people can’t use their legs and have to sit in a chair. To them, that is no more strange than discovering that some kids at school have never seen Doc McStuffins (that was a true shock to their little systems!)
So this is where I have to stand up and give props to our church. We belong to a small, progressive Methodist Church, Greenland Hills United Methodist if you live in Dallas and are interested. And our church is the most truly welcoming to all that I have ever seen. I really noticed this the other day in the parenting group when I looked around and realized that nearly half the people there were gay or lesbian and that one family had just adopted and brought home from the Congo two of the cutest little girls I have ever seen. So when my kids see white parents with black children or vice versa, or two loving same sex parents with their children, they won’t give it a second thought. That will seem totally normal to them since it is what they have grown up with.
And if one day one of my little girls realizes that she is gay, or has questions about her sexuality, she won’t be scared that no one will accept her. Forced to hide who she is because her church, the place she should feel unconditionally loved and accepted, would shun her or try to change her. I truly believe that bigotry and racism don’t have a chance to grow if you really spend time with people of all different abilities, colors, and sexual orientations.
Our pastor, who is one of the kindest and most welcoming women I have ever met, said in service one day that she believes that “Love is Love.” I couldn’t agree more. I am thrilled that we are raising our kids in a community that teaches that God is about love, not condemnation. So if Flopsy needs to play out her interest in Carter’s family by pretending that she has two mommies, I guess I can live with it. I’ll just have to ignore Mr. Judgey at Target with the raised eyebrow. It’s much more important to me that in the long run, when my kids come face to face with people who are different from them, their response continues to be a simple shrug of the shoulders and a quick, “Oh, ok.”