It’s safe to say (I think) that I came from an abnormal family. Anyone who writes a blog on the Internet as “Your Aunt Becky” is not exactly someone who you’d hold up as the pinnacle of normal.
My parents, as white-collar hippies didn’t exactly promote the idea of normalcy as something to strive for.
You want to shave half your head and dye your scalp purple? Go for it!
You want to shave your legs in vertical stripes and wear mini-skirts? Why not?
Want to get your belly button pierced at age 14 by some guy in the back of a music store with instruments that were probably NOT sterilized? WHY NOT?
They did draw the line at both tattoos and visible body piercing, for which I am eternally grateful. While wearing an eyebrow ring through the hallowed halls of my high school may have made me stand out from the crowd, ten years later, that pesky hole would drive me bonkers.
Being quirky as an adult is kinda awesome. It means that people who meet you after reading your blog think that you’ll probably de-pants them while eating a hot dog, humping their now-naked leg, while yelling, “EYE OF THE TIGER BABY!” Imagine their surprise when you do neither.
My middle son, Alex, he’s always been a character. He’s the guy who you’ll find hanging out at frat parties, double-fisting cheap keg beer while breaking furniture just to make you laugh. He’s a non-coke addicted Chris Farley in toddler form. At least, I HOPE he’s not addicted to coke – he’s been told “no recreational drugs until he’s twelve,” but you know kids these days.
Anyway. Alex is the epitome of different – he’s quirky and charming.
His Halloween costume for three years running now is a butterfly costume. Why? Because the kid loves butterflies, and why the fuck not?
(no, the wings are not some weird PR stunt – the kid just likes butterflies, and why the fuck not? They’re fucking awesome.)
He’s the first in line to get his nails painted – fingers and toes – and while he’s as rough and tumble as little boys can get, he’s happily in touch with his exuberant side.
Who the shit doesn’t love silver fingernails?
This Friday, on our weekly pilgrimage to The Target, I strong-armed my daughter into picking up some new underwear (she potty trained herself, which just figures). She, being related to me and somehow sensing that my very first training bra was a Wonder Women bra, gravitated toward not Dora. Not Diego. No. BATMAN.
(I’d totally wear Batman undies if I could find ’em in my size.)
While we were in the undies aisle, I grabbed a couple more packs of undies, including two packs of My Little Pony undies – one for her, one for her brother. I *knew* he’d get a kick out of them.
And he did.
But Sunday morning, he wandered over to me, and asked me in the very serious way in which a five-year old who thinks a lot can, “Mommy, will you kill me if I wear girls underwear?”
My heart dropped a little bit.
I wrapped him in my arms, and said, “No, baby, you wear what you want to wear – just look at your sister!” She stood next to him, adjusting the crotch on her Batman skivvies, the flap that normally covers the twig and crackle-berries sadly vacant, and smiled.
“Alex,” she said. “I love your My Little Ponies underwear.”
And they scampered off, hand in hand, and I sat watching them, hoping the rest of the world will be as kind.