I’ve lost a good chunk of my sense of humor since becoming a Mother.
When the opportunity to participate in this Shel Silverstein hop popped up, I was thrilled. I love children’s books, and wasn’t about to pass up celebrating the author of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Giving Tree”…then, a bit of trivia stretched and yawned in my noggin. Shel Silverstein was a songwriter, too. And, he had written a song that was wrapped up all warm and snug in my memory, Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue”.
Game over. Lunch theme sorted and set. “A Boy Named Sue” it is. That song put me sitting in my grandfather’s lap as Johnny Cash performed on the black and white television set (complete with tinfoil wrapped antennae). My Papa’s Old Spice mingled with the house’s scent, a delicious blend of old books and Johnson’s Paste Wax. He rocked and chuckled as Cash played. Such a lovely memory. I haven’t heard the song in years.
Yesterday morning I whipped out this bento with pepper rings, lettuce, watermelon letters, and rainbow carrot slices (that look disturbingly like bacon to me), all in our Planetbox Shuttle. Scout came down for breakfast, and I googled boy + named + sue for a video to show her what her lunch was all about. While I tidied up, I listened.
The song played and the warm, fuzzy memories blew away. I had already realized my mistake before I spun around and saw Scout’s confused look. “Pretty weird, huh?”, I asked. “I don’t really get it”, she said, “it’s just a name”. “Yep, Scout, just like pink’s just a color…if a boy likes it, then it’s a boy color.” A girl’s name is just as good as a boy’s name. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Bam.
I told you my sense of humor had taken a hit. When I look at my daughter, my bright, mechanically minded, math loving, sewing, cooking, Batman obsessed daughter…I want the world for her. The whole world. And, it’s going to take a massive perception shift to get that to happen for our kids. That includes all those innocuous little things that are so wrapped up in tradition and “well, that’s just how it’s done” that we don’t even recognize how “not funny” they are until you hear them sung to the rapt attention of your child that you’ve spent nine years guiding. Nine years of “girls are GREAT at math” and you’re free to love whatever color you want and play with whatever toys appeal to you. People are people whoever they are.
So while Scout ate, and I flew around signing her agenda and filling water bottles, we talked about how silly it is that the most embarrassing thing the dad in the song could think to do was to give his son a girl’s name. How wrong it was that a part of the son’s identity got him teased to the point that he became hard and combative. And, my heart ached for all the kids that get bullied because what they like doesn’t fall within certain perimeters, and for the kids too afraid to live the lives they want for fear of ridicule.
Honestly, I only started out to make lunch. I didn’t intend to take a stand and shake my tiny little fists. But, I’ve come to realize that if you don’t speak to your kids about your disapproval of something…you might’ve well of endorsed it. Sometimes, I think they learn more during our silent moments than they do from our speeches. And, it’s probably not what we want them to absorb.
Climbing down off my lunch box now to say, “Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein! I absolutely love most everything you’ve written.”
Here’s hoping that you’ll hop on over to Robot Squirrel and the Monkeys. As, she’s bound to have something fun and fabulous to celebrate Shel Silverstein. Click the button below or the link above…but, don’t miss her post!
Not pictured is Scout’s cloth napkin, peppermint EO hand sanitizer and an insulated Klean Kanteen of ice water. I use two different ice packs to keep Scout’s lunch at a safe temperature. A sheet of Cryopak Flexible Ice Pack for Lunch Boxes went underneath her lunch, and a PlanetBox Cold Kit travels in the mesh pocket of the case. And, everything…and, I mean everything, gets labeled with one of Scout’s Mabel’s Labels.
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