Sunday, June 25, 2006

At the beach

The sea at Cristoforo Colombo yesterday was magnificent. Admitedly I'd have been happier had the beach been deserted, but it was good to watch people relaxing in the hot sun, with the waves dancing in the brilliant sunlight. A small crane lifted boats to and from the water's edge. Sails bobbed up and down on the horizon. Games of beach tennis made noisy, but peaceful interludes as children armed with buckets and spedes made their sandcastles. All very lovely.

I was struck by a very pretty little girl of about three years old, whose blond ponytail hung onto her bare shoulders. She was fascinated by the water, stamping up and down in the waves that lapped at the edge of the beach, protected by her mother from going out too far. She was having such a wonderful time that, as I paddled towards the spot where I was heading in order to exit the beach, I enjoyed watching her play. It was only when her mother moved aside that I realised that 'she' was a 'he'.

Some parents create problems for their children, and it makes me very sad. I knew a woman once who, whenever her son was naughty, he would be clothed in a dress and forced to play outside under public gaze, the house locked to him for several hours. I've wondered about him on so many occasions: what is his relationship with his mother now that he is an adult? Does she regret her foolishness? How does he relate with others?

There is a saying that 'boys must be boys'. The context is sometimes perjorative, but there is a sense when it is absolutely right. In justice to their children, parents who might be disappointed that instead of giving birth to the son or the daughter they wanted so much, the new baby was of the 'wrong' sex, but that does not mean that they have the right to pretend that the birth did not happen. Boys must be allowed to be boys. Girls muust be allowed to be girls.

God bless,
Sr. Janet