Nothing Gold

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. -Robert Frost

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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

I am a white American middle class suburban housewife trying desperately to tell herself that that is not who she is. One time I was a glowing young ruffian. Oh my God it was a million years ago.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

On Snuggling

My sister-in-law and my two little nieces were staying with Levi and me this weekend while Schuyler was in Germany. We kept pretty busy and had a lot of fun. At one point, both of my nieces climbed up to sit in my lap. I was snuggling with them and thinking that it would be nice to have a girl at some point. But then I started thinking about why that was. I do, after all, enjoy snuggling with Levi as much as I would with a daughter. He is a great snuggler. But then I realized that girls can snuggle with their moms all along, at any age. I can still snuggle with my mom if I want. I may not have snuggled much with her during my adolescent years, but the opportunity was there and I still did enjoy hugs and would occasionally snuggle up to her to watch a movie together. Boys can't snuggle with their moms (or their dads) past a certain age. So, once Levi is 10 or 12 or something, I won't be able to snuggle with him. I can give him hugs, sure, but we can't be cozy and watch tv or read a book together. And he won't be able to do that with dad either. The really sad thing is that once he reaches the no cuddling with mom age, he won't have anyone to snuggle with until he starts dating. And that will be different and awkward. He won't be able to be really cozy with anyone until he has a long-term relationship with someone. That could be a really really long time with no snuggling. How is that fair? Poor little boy.
And then, at another time, Levi's cousin got to wear a pretty dress and Levi came up to me and said, "Mommy, I need to wear a pretty dress."
It breaks my heart to have to tell him that he can't do something because he's a boy. He's just figuring out the differences between boys and girls and I have to introduce negative ideas to the equation. And it's sad to me that he can't be pretty. I remember that feeling as a little girl of being sooo pretty. When I got into my mom's makeup or brushed my hair or wore a frilly dress, I felt like a fairy princess. I can see the desire for that same feeling in my son, buy I can't encourage it. It is so unfair. He put some lipgloss and his cheek and said, "mommy, I'm really pretty". I told him that, yes, he was very pretty, but it makes me sad that I (or society for me) will have to kill that impulse and that desire to be soooo pretty. I still experience that feeling sometimes and like to occasionally get all dressed up and pretty. I wonder to what extent men still feel that. Is it completely squashed by the time they are adults? Is it there subconsciously? Can they feel that way in a manly way still when they put on a tux, etc?


Blogger Ross said...

Umm... we don't have that kind of angst around here:
(Yes, you know who that is :-)

8:08 PM  
Blogger Israel said...

wow! If I didn't know who that was, I might say "that's a cute girl!" Gender-blender!

7:00 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Good thoughts, Maggie! I hate that men have such a narrow place to be. Is it "cool"? If not, forget it. Whereas, it seems like girls can be masculine, feminine, whatever. It's all celebrated.
I sort of love seeing Italian, Greek, or whatever men walking down the road, arm in arm. (not that I see that a lot.)
And I'll stop before this conversation takes a dangerous turn. Anyway, I had never thought about that major difference as relates to having a son vs. a daughter.

4:32 PM  

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