Penelope, Gender & Our Very Own Superhero: Mama Bear Mondays

I thought I knew it all – and then came Penelope


If things in life made sense at first glance, life would be dull. We have to go deep to find meaning.

Meet Penelope. My third child. The self proclaimed Superhero. Penelope defies most stereotypes and challenges anyone she meets to re-think ideas of gender, ability, and most of all happiness.

Penelope in the middle

I think it’s in her nature to be different. Dresses and skirts…not a chance. Button fronts and ties are more her style. Think Shilo x 100. In karate class she’s a shinning star with a mean, stiff-torso push up. On day one, teacher called out, “Little Dude, come to the front of the class and show these pansies what a real push up looks like!” Wrestling, check. Skateboarding, check. Soccer, check. I work overtime to understand her head space. And it’s not easy, because at the same time, Penelope is my most gentle artist with a secret passion for all the pretty jewels on my bedside table. Perhaps not for herself to wear, but more to marvel over and to touch. Go figure.

Penelope the soccer star

These are just small examples of a very complex person. I have yet to find a single definition that works for her. The more I observe, it’s clear that I’m learning from Penelope. Learning about drive, determination and accomplishing what others might not have even imagined for you.  Mostly I’m learning about the layers of interests that can contrast each other but exist with in one person. In order to be complete, we have to touch each of our layers. Scary but true.

Penelope is our Superhero

I support Penelope’s complexities. Regardless of the comments we hear: “She’s so pretty, just put a dress on her.” “Don’t encourage her to take it too far. She’s a tomboy and can grow out of it.” “Cutting her hair so short is extreme. Why would you do that to her?”

My New Year’s resolution is a promise to my children. From here forward I will not waste a single moment trying to redirect my kids from their natural selves. I’ll champion for them. I’m here simply to move the world out of their way so that they can think – uninhibited – about themselves at first, and then about the world surrounding them.

Everything that is worth something, begins inside the individual.  Finding pride and joy in our quirks is the key to life. Different is so normal these days.

Penelope top right

2013 is about trusting ourselves and listening to our voices. Recognizing that form follows feeling and we are who we feel ourselves to be. Period. Start from there and the world is yours.

For 2013 – remove just one filter from your vision – and life will be different.

Penelope – Don’t waste one nanosecond trying to package her.


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One Response to Penelope, Gender & Our Very Own Superhero: Mama Bear Mondays

  1. I commend you for putting your children’s self-identity and happiness first, in spite of any outside (or even inner) pressure to the contrary. Although on the one hand we are a technologically advanced super society, on the other we can be dictatorial and repressive when it comes to respecting and honoring each individual’s right to choose their own self-expression, and path to happiness and fulfillment in life. You and a few others like you are on the leading edge 100% championing for your children across the board, including the super sensitive area of gender identity. And you are so right. Even though we as parents are our children’s first teachers, THEY teach us so much more!

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