Today my son wore a pink hat in public. A bright, glaring pink hat he called a cowboy hat. He was awesome.
It was with the Easter items in the Dollar Spot at Target. He tossed a purple one at Emma’s head and donned the pink one himself and off he went to look at the lawn pinwheels in the next bin while I scoped out items for their Easter baskets.
Emma dropped her purple hat to the ground as if to say “done with this!” and we took off to get the rest of what we came for. He was trailing behind me, jabbering about Mario Kart or Angry Birds Star Wars or whatever popped into his almost 4 year old mind. And then he caught up to me and I saw it. The pink hat bobbing along at my side.
Other people looked at this boy in the pink hat. Many of them smiled. Others just looked away. No one seemed to judge, but I’m sure some of them did. They saw this boy in the pink hat and found something wrong with it.
But there’s nothing wrong with it.
My son loves trucks and trains. Cars. And Cars. Angry Birds in any incarnation the game’s creators can imagine and throw into the Apple store.
He would BE the red Samurai Power Ranger if he could figure out how to make the old flip phone work as a real “Samurai-zer.” Spider-Man hangs the moon.
And sometimes he wears pink hats. Or asks me to paint his toenails. Or he puts his sister’s bow in his hair and proceeds to race his garbage truck around the house until my ears bleed from the sound of the wheels on the floor.
He loves so many things that would seem “wrong” to other people but which to me seem perfectly right. I don’t want anyone to tell him (or Emma, but hers will be another story) what he can and can’t like. And yet, I know it’s coming.
I’ve already heard his friends say “that’s for girls.” And my heart has broken a little every time.
I want him to be this unaware of the meanness in the world for the rest of his life. To protect him from that.
I admire his unwavering bravery to be who he is. To love what he loves. I know that this won’t always be easy.
But I hope that I’m teaching him to be this confident in himself and comfortable in his skin forever.
To know that he can love whatever he wants to love.
Ballet or baseball. Or both. He doesn’t even have to choose.
He is my boy. My boy in the pink hat.