Friday, February 23, 2007

Kissing Jellyfish

The boys and I are in full vacation mode. Jeanine is gone- back to work- so we pretty much live by the pool with an occasional trip out for food.

No two-hour drives.

Yesterday, at the pool, Ben shouted to his brothers, Now for the ULTIMATE underwater challenge! TEAPARTY!

And sunk to the bottom of the pool, legs crossed, pretending to serve tea.

The second best part of vacation, after being able to recharge in the sun and by the water? Hanging out with my kids.

Currently, Ben is obsessed with a certain girl. He goes between two, back and forth, sometimes one, sometimes the other. There is a third- someone from his class- but that’s a more closely held secret. I’m not allowed to blog about her.

Two days ago, we were driving around in a golf cart and everyone wanted to get a drink. We stopped at the little shop and I said whatever you want.

I'm easy when I'm at the beach. Want a ton of sugar? Sure. Ride in a golf cart? Yup. More sugar? Sure. They know to take me to the beach once a day and they're pretty much getting anything they want.

Ben grabs a sprite. Zach, coke and Jake, a mango odawall juice.

Of course. Jake is my foodie apprentice. Ben and Zachary always grab the chance and go for a Coke. Sugar and caffeine.

Sprite? I asked Ben.

Well, [girl] and I have the Sprite is the best club, he said.

Really? Zach asked.

Uh, no. But I'm sure she'd want to join because [girl] loves sprite, he said and took a less than delicate gulp.

I mean, totally... he finished.

Zachary rolled his eyes.

Jake copied Ben.

Totally. He nodded.

At each meal, Ben’s ordered Sprite. Anything you want, I said the other night. Sprite, he ordered. Of course, Jake had milk. Zachary? Coke.

No wonder Jake and I fell asleep mid-American Idol that night.

Yesterday, we were walking on the beach and there are hundreds of beached jellyfish. Maybe it's the season; maybe it's the nuclear power plant twenty miles down coast. Maybe it's the paper mill ten miles up coast. You decide.

We come across two jellyfish touching.

Look mom, Ben shouts, they're kissing!

We all go to look and Zachary says, yeah. Like you and [girl].

Does Ben punch him? Yell at him? Chase him? Nope. He just sighs.


To avoid laughing out loud, I start walking away.

MOM! Take a picture! Ben shouts.

So... thus the [girl] and Ben ... uh... dead jellyfish... uh... kissing? picture.

Mom, they have no brains, right? Zachary asked me after I took the picture.

I wanted so badly to make a comment about pre-pubescent boys...

People have asked me if I think Ben is straight or gay. I have no idea. I don’t care. I only want him happy. Comfortable in his skin. It’s not always easy for him. Being away from the pressure of school and what is and isn’t okay allows the best part of him come out.

The girl kissing, tea party challenging, gentle soul.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how a massive anti-gay marriage campaign in Massachusetts would affect my kids. You have to understand- I’m in Northern Florida, an hour away from the Georgia border. This is not South Beach. This is a place where more than once I’ve been driving behind a car with a KKK symbol painted on the back. When Jeanine and I are with the kids? Her dark features pretty much peg her as the nanny.

All this is to say, there is always a level of fear.

I don’t want that for my kids in their own home. I cannot bear the thought of the airwaves being bombarded with negative images of gays and lesbians. At least when I was coming out as a young teenager, there simply was a void of information. It did not exist.

And not just for kids struggling with their sexuality but kids that may simply be different in how they approach the world.

Like my son, Ben.


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