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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Your son just.....


So I am totally used to people referring to A. as my son. This is no longer a surprise, but in certain venues I am still taken off guard it seems. Years ago, I used to correct people, and let them know that A. was indeed my daughter. This led to a variety of reactions, mostly just awkward apologies, and A. looking embarrassed. It has been years since I corrected someone.

One of the places there is no confusion is A's hockey world. She has been a member of the Vancouver Angel's girls hockey team since our arrival in Vancouver 4+ years ago. All the parents, coaches and kids know her and make her feel welcomed and valued. This year she plays goal on a Pee Wee rep team. Last year she helped out as goalie for the Midget level girls team and played at the Bantam level (one level up from her age group). As a result, parents from almost all levels know A.

The new factor this year is that Molly has started to play hockey... also for the Vancouver Angels. Its fair to say, many of the parents on Molly's team, don't know A. or know that s/he is natally female. Recently at a skills building session at the Trout Lake arena, I was bringing A. to her session and picking up Molly from hers. When Molly and I emerged from the dressing room a very agitated mom was waiting outside the door eager to let me know that my son appears to have gone in the wrong dressing room.

This is what I mean by being taken off guard. "Sorry?" I said, a bit confused.
"Your son just went into the girls dressing room...I think he's in the wrong place."
Molly, a veteran of these conversations, immediately caught on.
"That's my sister...she's a girl, that's her team." she informed the well meaning mom.
Catching on, I realized that she thought me teenage son had just crashed a dressing room full of half-naked 11 and 12 year old girls...thus her distress.
"Yes," I added, "that's my older daughter Anneke, s/he is the goalie for the Pee Wee rep team."
Since its been years since I had corrected someone, it has also been years since I had witnessed the awkward reaction to this revelation. As anticipated, she repeated, "I'm so sorry," about 6 times. Molly attempted to comfort the poor mom by simply stating that "That's ok, it happens all the time. Anneke is a girl... but really is mostly a boy. Everyone gets confused. Bye!"
While this makes total sense to Molly and I, the woman watched us walk away, with a look of both embarrassment and confusion etched across her face.

I used to get irritated by these conversations, but now I view them as opportunities to share with other people how wonderful and unique my kid is... and to challenge their traditional views of gender.

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