For the last three decades or so my Thanksgiving table has always regaled out guests the guests with the story of me (loudly) asking in a grocery store check out line if the person in front of us was “a boy or a girl”. Apparently, my seven-year-old eyes had never seen a man with long hair and it confused my little brain. My aunt tried to explain that it was a man, but, as the story goes, I wasn’t done asking questions (loudly).
Fast forward to 2018. I’ve had discussions with my daughters about gender and race and about anyone being able to love anyone they choose. We’ve taught them that judging people for things outside of their control makes them a bully. We’ve tried to cover all of our bases, but you never know.
A few days ago, I had dropped off my two older girls at their respective soccer practice and took Darby home to get her ready for hers. As we got out of the car we were greeted by the noses of two dogs who were eager to make Darby’s acquaintance. Holding the dogs was a young woman who explained that she was new to the neighborhood. I introduced myself, as did Darby. We discussed dogs for a moment and explained that she may be seeing our dog, Otto, around the neighborhood as he is a bit of an escape artist. A few moments later, our new friend introduced her fiancé, who was also a pleasant young woman.
Here is the part where I tell the reader that I’ve explained to my daughter that anyone can love anyone, but I was also waiting to find out if those lessons stuck. I was waiting for my “is that a boy or a girl?” moment.
That moment seemed longer than most.
Then she asked her question. My heart stopped as I waited for the rush of embarrassment. Her question was “are your dogs getting married, too?”
“No sweetheart,” the first of the young women laughed, “they’re just friends”.
I don’t know whether or not the ladies heard my exhale but we spoke for another couple of minutes and Darby continued with the dogs.
When we walked into our house Darby looked at me intently.
“She was a girl” She asked.
“And her fiancé is a girl?” she pursued.
“Yep, is that okay with you?” I asked.
“Well yeah, but do each one of them own one of the dogs or do they both own both?”
I smiled, “We’ll have to ask them next time.”
The lesson here girls? Not much of one really, because it seems like the lesson has already stuck. I’m always proud of you three for how you treat others. I think that there are a lot of adults who could take a lesson from you three.
Maybe the lesson is for me. Maybe the fact that I had doubts about whether or not Darby would say something inappropriate it a sign that I’m a dinosaur and that the next generation has us covered assuming we get that far. I hope that’s the case. In the mean time, I think I need to look into dogs getting married. I think Otto would like the idea of having a Mrs. Otto in his life.