To all my lovely Cractpots, I hope you are having a fantastic summer. For us, it is flying by much too fast.
On the last day of school the kids skipped home chanting,
“No more pencils, no more books. No more teacher’s dirty looks”
and I skipped right behind them merrily adding,
“No more waking cranky kids, no more seeking matching Tupperware lids”.
While my lyrical abilities might leave a little to be desired, the sentiment is the same. Summer is about shedding the cumbersome confines of routine as fast as we can kick off our shoes, rip off our socks and wiggle our toes in the grass.
It’s two glorious months, free of expectations, hanging out with my three favourite people in the whole world.
Now for the first few weeks of the holidays, our little group was lucky enough to have a mascot; Rolo, a 3 to 4 month old beagle puppy. We foster for a local rescue who helps find families for these little bundles of joy and happily he found himself a forever home that I’m sure he is going to love.
Beagle lovers know that for a relatively small breed, this dog has a great big personality and unsupervised, can find themselves in a load of trouble. Luckily, they have also been blessed with long velvety ears and a soulful expression that can melt even the most exasperated heart.
Maybe it is for that reason; looking into those soft and gentle eyes, that for the first few days, we all seemed to make the mistake of referring to our new house guest as a ‘she’. As we all sat in the backyard one evening, my daughter cooed “She’s just so cute” and my husband was quick to quip “She has a penis” as a reminder. As my daughter rolled her eyes, she cuddled the impressionable little guy and whispered, “It doesn’t matter. You’re still cute” and we continued on with our night unaware that another impressionable little guy had gotten the message a little confused .
A week later, as we stood in the kitchen making sandwiches, the middle daughter noticed that our little beagle with selective hearing was very quick to identify when food was being served. As he sat at attention at our feet, clearly desperate for a taste, she campaigned for his cause by saying, “Look how good he’s being!”
The youngest piped up in a rather condescending tone, “She has a penis you know”
Middle child retorted, rather perturbed at being called out by her ‘younger’ sibling, “that’s what I said!”
“No you didn’t. You didn’t say ‘She had a penis’” the youngest countered
“No, I know, I meant I called him a ‘he’”
“I know, that’s why I reminded you that she has a penis”
At this point my hands had risen almost involuntarily into the “stop and desist” pose that all parents are familiar with (which coincidentally is also the universal hand gesture for surrender and the starter position for the ‘my head is about to explode’ stance) Everyone stood still and tilted their heads as we tried to rewind and figure out where the conversation had gotten off course.
“Sweetheart”, I started, “she used the correct pronoun. Rolo is male, he is a ‘he’” I corrected.
I watched as my son tried to process this.
“Well why did Daddy say that she had a penis?”
After a quick lesson in tongue in cheek humour, realization dawned. We were all giggling a little but when the youngest sheepishly admitted that he had told his summer camp teacher that his new foster dog was transgender, my oldest fell right off her chair.
“You did WHAT?” I gasped, not sure whether I should laugh or cry imagining the conversation, “What did he say?”
“What do you mean?” he asked indignantly, “What would he say? People these days don’t discriminate Mum. Trans gender dogs deserve families too!”
Well, yes. Yes they absolutely do.
After the kids went to bed, myself and my oldest got to re-enact the conversation for the benefit of my husband and it was with pride rather than pity that I explained that our youngest didn’t get the joke. My daughter revealed that before school had ended for the summer, he had let his middle sister give him a manicure with the new kit she had gotten for her birthday. When he went to school the next day adorned with black and orange finger nails, one of the little girls teased him a little, and asked him if he was gay. The oldest admitted that she had never heard a better comeback than when her baby brother retorted, “How the heck should I know, I’m only 10”
And just like that little grasshoppers, the student becomes the teacher.
Come September I’ll be right back to my weekly routine but I expect the summer schedule to be a bit more laid back. It’s just so hard to fit in time to write between perfecting our marshmallow roasting skills, organizing our quartet of grass trumpet players and helping trans gender dogs find love.
While I’m on vacation I ask all of you to remember to be gentle with each other and with yourselves. Take some time before winter lures us all back into hibernation, to celebrate all that your community has to offer. As always, feel free to stop by for some T. We don’t care if you’re black or white, trans or cis, gay or straight; everyone deserves a family, and you all are always welcome in ours.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love~Lin-Manuel Miranda