By Lynda Shadbolt
Jim and I were in Orillia on the weekend for his brother’s wedding. It was such a happy occasion.
Rob has had a lot of tragedy in his life, and we were so happy to celebrate with him.
The morning after the wedding, we headed up to his farm. It’s where he and Jim grow their 5000 bulbs of garlic every year.
Rob isn’t living there anymore – he rents it out to a young family. The young family has three boys aged 10 months, 5 years, and 7 years. The two older boys love Jim and Rob.
We arrived at the barn, and the boys and their two dogs came running down to meet us. “Jimmie, Jimmie, Hi Jimmie.” They really love Jim.
They were so excited to tell us they were heading off to the Coldwater Fall Fair. They wondered if we could go with them. They wondered if we liked rides and candy apples.
They asked where Rob was and when he was coming to the farm. They love Rob, too.
Rob has a big tractor that he uses to cut his lawns, and the boys love to ride with him.
The boys had been at Rob’s wedding, running around all night.
Their parents had catered the event, and the food was gourmet. Jim and Rob spend days at the farm preparing the soil for planting and then planting and harvesting the garlic.
The boys are glued to them as they work. I was meeting the boys for the first time, and the 5 year old took me aside to show me his supplies for the fair.
He had his money, his juice box, sunglasses and a card for his mom all stored in his little pink sparkling purse. He was ready for a great day.
When Jim and Rob work at the farm, this little guy comes out to help dressed in his favourite flowing blue and pink and colourful dresses. He runs around pulling garlic, or digging in the soil or riding in the tractor in his dress. He is happy and loved.
This is what we want for all kids. To be happy and loved. Henry is loved, and he knows it. He’s not trying to be something or someone he isn’t. He isn’t trying to get his brother to wear a dress.
And no-one knows what the dress is about at this point anyways. He might just like playing dress up. Maybe he feels more comfortable in a dress, or he likes the colours.
It doesn’t matter. He is allowed to dress as he wants without one comment from anyone. If Henry is straight or gay, it’s the way he came into the world.
And our responsibility as friends, parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings, co-workers is to love him and encourage him to grow into a loving, caring person. When kids aren’t accepted for who they are and aren’t free to express who they are, mental health can suffer, and that can lead to all kinds of issues.
If Henry grows up in a loving family and society, anything is possible.
Love will always be stronger than fear or hate.