We’re all different. Not special. No one is better than anyone else, we’re just different and that’s all.
I’ve tried to teach Zoe that just because someone or something is different, it doesn’t mean they are good or bad. They are just different. Unfamiliar, unique, independent but not wrong or bad. She’s done a pretty good job of holding her own where diversity is present.
She has some friends who have two dads. No biggie. One younger friend who has an a very awesome “transformer” walker to help him get around. She adores him and makes sure every kid in her class knows that he is “cool.” We have a friend who was born with half an arm. Zoe idolizes her (me too). Zoe’s has had a friend since she was 4, who was born with a cleft palate. Zoe could not care less (me either).
I really love this about her. I wish more people were like her – young and old.
I walk Zoe into school every day. I see the same group of kids every morning and they always greet me the same way. ”Hi Zoe’s mom.” I am Zoe’s mom. I have no other identity or purpose. I have been labeled. Kids need to put stuff in order. In their brains. It helps them make sense of things in a world they are just learning to understand. At this age, they like everything and one to be uniform. No variations because they just don’t know what to do with that kind of information yet.
This information is never more apparent to me, then when the Main Squeeze takes Zoe to school. The last time he took Zoe to school without me, he was grilled by the seven and eight year-olds. Who are you? Are you Zoe’s Dad? Are you Zoe’s Grandad? (I swear, that’s just too funny not to mention.) Are you Zoe’s uncle? Do you take the garbage out? They NEED TO KNOW.
I talked to Zoe about how to answer these questions. She’s self conscious about it but she’s trying not to be. She doesn’t want to seem different – without a married mom and dad. I told her to just say “This is my G” (his first initial). He doesn’t have to be anything more or anything less. I told her she could say he was her driver, bodyguard, singing telegram. She knows when I’m being ridiculous and would not fall for any of that biz.
The three of us went to drop off the other day and again, the MS was bombarded with questions. ”Zoe is this your dad?” She looked at me, bewildered. I know she was trying to get the courage up to answer how I told her to. But she just stood there. So I did what any mother would do – I answered for her.
I said “This is Zoe’s G.”
They said “What does he do?”
She answered “He makes tacos. And fixes things. That’s all he does.” (hilarious).
So now the kids call him the Taco Man. And they tried to “buy” him from Zoe because they wanted tacos. I think the highest price was $11 or 100 jellybeans.
Now, instead of being greeted with the words “Hi Zoe’s Mom!” I’m greeted like this:
Yeah, they’ve labeled him. They ask for him every day. He cannot understand it.
He feels compelled to get a taco cart and serve some up in the play yard. Probably not a bad gig to have.
Hello, my name is Taco Man.