We HAD two umbrellas. We did. One basic black one and one pink princess one. Somehow over the summer one broke and we were down to one. The Pink Princess one. Now, umbrellas are one of those things I never think about buying until we’re actually walking to school in the rain.
So over these last few weeks of rain my 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter have had to share the one lone umbrella, the princess one. Obviously my son is taller and is the one stuck carrying it to cover both of their heads. This didn’t seem as much of a problem for them and the walk is not really that far (it takes longer to drive around to the front of the school and park).
But then something happened that broke my heart. Kids laughed at my son. They cracked jokes about his pink princess umbrella and how pink wasn’t for boys.
Now this isn’t the first time he’s gotten a little grief over the color pink. For Christmas he got a DSi, which turned out to be pink (which was beyond my control) but that’s not something that’s brought to school and when he’s been asked why his DSi is pink by friends he shrugs and says that he doesn’t care. And he doesn’t. My son is aware enough to know he’s lucky to have one and the color really doesn’t matter.
But this, the pink umbrella was different. THIS was standing beneath a glob of pink princess in front of his first grade class with all his first grade friends. I made a point of telling him to give his sister back her umbrella so that all the other kids would be clear that it was not his.
I then resisted the urge to call them all mean little punks and break all their fancier umbrellas.
That afternoon when my son got home he asked why boys couldn’t like all colors. All colors are beautiful he pondered, why couldn’t he like them all? My husband, God Bless Him, told him real men could like whatever colors they want. He asked why the boys at school don’t like girl AND boy colors. We told them it was their loss.
The next morning, having not gotten around to purchasing a second umbrella yet, we headed for school in the rain. Only this time as we came around the corner toward his classroom he handed his sister the umbrella and pulled his hood around his face. He stood in the rain, not wanting to be under the pink umbrella and waited for his classroom door to open.
As he turned around and gave me a kiss goodbye he asked me if I was going to be getting him a new umbrella today. I told him I would.
After both kids were safely at school I ran to the dollar store and picked up a few black and blue umbrellas.
Then I cursed society for making the color pink a crime for first grade boys.