Today is apparently the day that people are dressing in purple in memory of several recent suicides by gay teens and tweens who'd been harassed by peers. I've got some purple on and would have had the boy wear purple today if purple clothing for boys of his age actually existed. He does have purple socks on, and the hippos on his shirt kind of look purple. It's the thought that counts, right?
During maternity leave, I have not been very good about following the news. (The upside is that I'm apparently missing WUNC's latest fund drive...sorry, NPR, but your fund drives last way too long.) There have only been two news stories that have really gotten my attention: the rescue of the Chilean miners (trapped for most of Emmett's fourth trimester) and these suicides.
Friends keep posting videos from the It Gets Better project, where prominent public figures and others try to give teens who face harassment the message that things will get better. It's a touching and important message. I've watched a lot of these videos while nursing Emmett, and I can't help thinking about some of my hopes for the future.
I wrote a more rambling version of the following a few days ago:
Emmett, I would love it if you could grow up in a world where there's no bullying of any sort and where there's true acceptance of things like homosexuality. I think that there's something warped about us humans that means that teasing will always exist. I hope that you are someone who can develop a thick skin about everyday teasing if needed; I hope that if you ever engage in anything other than mild teasing, you have the strength of character to feel bad about it, and/or to make amends if someone is hurt by it.
More importantly, I hope that we have sort of a "bridge over troubled water" type of relationship throughout your life. I hope to be one of the people you really can turn to if you're ever having dark thoughts or need support or a sounding board. I hope that you'll have many great people in your life besides me that you can turn to when your emotional needs are strong.
Most of all, I hope that you can be yourself and be comfortable with and confident in who you are. Sometimes it takes courage to be yourself, and people definitely try out different identities along the way. Whatever sort of personal style or preferences you choose or end up with, I hope that you are a person who approaches life and interpersonal relationships with compassion.