The other event that stands out in my mind, from when A. was young was my first large Christmas party at the hospital where I worked at the time. All staff were asked to submit the names, ages and gender of their children. Gifts were bought for them and Santa was planning to make an appearance to distribute gifts by name to all the children. The hospital where I worked at the time was a large Catholic hospital in Toronto. Needless to say, I didn't feel terribly comfortable calling one of the nuns and explaining the ins and outs of my gender fluid child. My brilliant plan at the time was simply not to attend. A. was about 6 years old.
When asked that week if I was going, I explained to my co-workers at the time, that I was likely to go. Several women suggested I should go anyway, as it was a nice networking opportunity at a hospital that was still trying to understand and integrate midwifery. They also suggested I prepare A. for the inevitable girly present and offer a trade at the toy store. One of the midwives I worked with, a gender-fluid woman herself, also pointing out that hiding my kid at home, was not much of a solution. This convinced me to go.
We spent several days preparing A. for a fake Santa that didn't know her (like the mall Santa did), and the likelihood she would get a gift that she didn't like. The fact there would be cake, cookies and carols guaranteed her attendance however.
Sure enough, as predicted, s/he was presented with one of those large Barbie heads that you apply make-up to, and style their hair. A hideous toy, no matter who you are. Despite our preparation, her disappointment was palpable. Luckily, kids seem to bounce back from these disappointments quite quickly. Most of the party, she played with the boys and their new toys.
As luck, or fate, would have it one of the girls at the party coveted her new Barbie head. Being a surprisingly generous child, s/he offered it to the little girl. The little girl sheepishly offered her brother's toy in return pointing out that he already had one. Her face lit up! "What did he get?" she asked enthusiastically.
"A Hot Wheels set," she replied. A. looked like she had just won the lottery.
"Look mom!" she squealed as she bounded over "It has cars and everything, and it loops upside down...I always wanted one! This is a great party!"
This and many other episodes like it since have reminded me that life has a way of working things out, as long as you are true to yourself, and nurture and trust your spirit.