I am writing to both of you today, because you’ve been on my mind. And, quite frankly, because I am concerned for both of you. Thankfully I’m concerned about two separate issues, because if I had to worry about both problems for both of you, I’d be loony. (Hush.)(I mean it!) And a little scared. So, Alex, I’m going to start with you.
Alex, your eye is freaky. FUH-REEK-EEEY. I am equal parts shocked, horrified, grossed-out and weirdly fascinated by the shape it’s taken, the yellow stuff oozing out of it and the perfect oval-shaped area of hot redness that encircles it. I also feel guilty that you’re hurting and that a doctor couldn’t fix it and instantly make it all better. I apologize for gagging last night when I smelled it, while I was trying to put in your Pink Eye relief drops. You know I have a strong stomach, but that was bad. Baaaaad. (I’m gagging a little bit right now, just remembering.)
So… you have bacterial conjunctivitis. So… you have had it several times before in your life and I just didn’t realize what it was. You know how your eyes always get watery and goopy before you get sick? Yeah, it was always Pink Eye. I didn’t realize Pink Eye is nothing more than an itchy, watery eye. I thought it was some big, scary thing like Chicken Pox or Scarlet Fever. I’m sorry. Luckily, it always went away on its own during the night, heralding the cavalry of cold germs and then making a hasty and cowardly retreat. This time it’s different. Gross, smelly, oozing, crusty, RED… and sorta cool. Your uncles would be proud. You look like you went ten rounds in the ring but emerged victorious.
Honestly, Alex, it’s a miracle you’re still alive, in spite of your mother and her gross incompetence. Sorry, Sweetie.
Now, Anthony, your problem is not physical. And in some ways that’s more worrisome. I desperately hope that this is just a phase, and that you outgrow it QUICKLY.
So, here’s the deal, little man: You are a boy. B-O-Y. With your blue eyes, curly hair and dimples, you could easily pass for a little girl, but that is not how you came to us. You have boy parts, boy energy, and boy charm. Boy, boy, boy, boy, boy. This kick about you wanting to wear dresses FREAKS. ME. OUT.
Last week when we went shopping for Kendra’s baptism dress, you were beside yourself in the fancy-dress shop, surrounded by tulle, satin, lace and beads. I thought it was funny (sort of) when you squeezed in-between the racks and wrapped yourself in the fabric. I couldn’t allow it to continue, though, because those dresses cost more than a four-year degree from Harvard. It was understandable that you wanted to try one of them on, especially after you had to sit patiently and watch your sisters model them. And, truth be told, you looked… um… exceptionally pretty in that pale blue color, even with your holey-kneed jeans and camo Crocs peeking out from under the flouncy skirt. You totally could have modeled that dress on the runway. Except, you’re a boy. B-O-Y, and I fear you have forgotten that.
You now ask for a dress every time I change you out of your pajamas. When Hannah changes clothes, you raid her drawers for sundresses and skirts, pulling them on over your clothes. You rummage through her dress-up trunk for the tutus and fairy wands, and I could just cry. (And NO, those are not all tears of laughter.)
I never thought I’d encourage this, but I’m desperate… ANTHONY! PLEASE MESS SOMETHING UP! Drive your toy cars into the piano, the wall, the kitchen table… Go play in the dirt. Eat dog food. Put food in your hair and resist having baths. Wear your (jeans) until they are stiff and crusty. You have my permission to proudly show off dirty pig feet without the threat of a thorough baby-wipe rubdown. I am pretty much open to any previously-forbidden activity, as long as it isn’t done in a dress. That last part is key.
Thanks, Sons! I love you, even if you do smell funky and enjoy cross-dressing.