Boys Have Always Played with Dolls

“Boys have always played with dolls.   We just called them ‘action figures.’”

Not sure what brought that up, but that is what my husband told our son today as we were working together cleaning the house. I’ve come to love cleaning together with our son because it gives us a lot of time together to talk.

And, we turn up the music and take regular dance breaks!

Anyway, back to dolls and action figures. I had never thought about it that way. He’s right.

My husband’s comment made me remember a time when Kai was still quite little, and I went out for a Mom’s Night Out.

The conversation turned to a mom whose son wanted a kitchen and a doll, but whose husband, she explained, would not have any part of it as he was afraid it would turn his son gay.

She turned to me and asked, “What about you, Patti? Would your husband be okay with it?”

I explained that first, like me, my husband was quite sure that playing with a doll or kitchen wouldn’t turn any boy gay.  Playing with toys is about learning, and we want our son to learn to be a good father who holds and feeds his babies and is comfortable changing diapers so he needs to practice and try out those roles just like he needs to try out cooking.

I said, “And, if it turns out that our son is gay, it won’t be because of what he played with. So, yeah, my husband is totally okay with it.”

“And, he would be totally okay with it if our son turns out to be gay.”

A second or two passed as I thought it over, and I quickly added, “ Now, if he chose to be a Republlican, that might kill him!”  😉

So, yes, boys have always played with dolls, but we just called them “action figures.”

It’s refreshing to see stores doing away with toy aisles specifically for girls or boys.  Instead,  there are toys and there are kids.  If we leave them alone, they will find what suits them.

Maybe it is time for girls to play with more action figures, so they can learn to be the heroes of their own lives and for boys to play with dolls so that they can learn to nurture and care for themselves and their families.

I want to send my son off to college knowing he has a full range of skills so he can cook  delicious, nutritious meal for himself or his friends, can do his own laundry, and can clean up after himself.  I don’t want him to be dependent.

I want to teach my child to be whole. Whole-hearted and wholly himself.



A friend asked me tonight how I was doing, especially considering the first holidays without my mom.  She knew that our birthdays—mom’s in mid-September and mine in October—had been especially hard.

The closer it got to her birthday, then mine, the harder it got.  I was stuck in those feelings of darkness for longer than I wanted to be.

On Thanksgiving, embracing the spirit of the holiday, I was determined to be thankful.

My sister-in-law had volunteered to cook the Thanksgiving meal this year, and that was such a gift, in ways I am only now coming to understand.  Rather than scurrying to cook, we sat by the fire, read the paper, and watched Polar Express.  We never even turned on the Macy’s Parade.

I thought of my mom plenty, but breaking with tradition helped me focus on what I have in my life.  I allowed myself to let go of my ideas of what the day was supposed to look like and just enjoyed it for what it was.

Don’t get me wrong; I missed my mom.  But rather than being overcome by the feelings, this time, I was able to feel them and let them go.  I let myself really cry, and then made the conscious decision to shift my focus from missing her to being grateful for the love I have in my life, which, of course, is built on the foundation of love that she laid.

That felt like a good way to honor her love.

It reminds me what Karl says to Kai when a great time with friends is coming to a close and he begins to get upset about having to leave/end the play date.

“You have a choice to make, buddy. You can be happy for the time you got, or sad that it is over.”

Seems like that is a choice me make over and over in many different ways–two sides of the same coin.  Which do we choose to see?