The weather today was beautiful for a parade. Clouds were threatening and at one point, even let loose a few droplets from the sky right before the parade started. It stopped as quickly as it started - no spirits dampened by it at all.
It's now late in the afternoon. I can hear that the Pride 2012 party at the Forks has slowed down, maybe even stopped. I don't see brightly dressed people outside our highrise window, I don't ear music or hoots and hollering anymore.
Correction - just as I finished typing that I heard what had to be the loudest cat-call whistle I've ever heard in my life.
I took my three and a half year old son to the Pride parade today. He loved the music, made quick friends with a boy probably more than twice his age and was all smiles while parade goers handed him treats and flags and balloons along the route. He danced, he hollered and he waved his rainbow flag vigorously to all the people marching today - many smiling and waving back, blowing him kisses, or commenting how 'cute and adorable' he was.
While walking home after the parade, I started to think about why I was taking him to the event. I've always identified as straight - probably almost as straight as they come. Starting in my young adult life, I've been surrounded by people who identify a number of different ways - gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans, poly, etc. While I myself enjoy men, I never an issue with people loving or being with whomever they chose - just as long as they were happy. I attended my first pride parade in my early twenties to show support and love for my friends who decided to walk and partake in the event. I won't say I went every year, but I went more often than I didn't.
When Hunter was eight months old, he attended his first Gay Pride parade. While he was too young to understand what was going on, I believe he had a good time. He was all smiles, and just before we walked home after the parade had winded down Broadway, he feel asleep in his stroller.
Today, this parade, it was different. He was involved, he was interested, he was point things out and he was asking questions.
I've always maintained that I would be as honest as I possibly could with my son. I don't want to hide him from anything and I don't want to influence how he should feel about things. When my grandmother passed this last November, we were honest with Hunter about what happened. We told him exactly what was going on and while I don't think he completely grasped the concept, he knows the language, he understands enough.
While walking home from the parade, after everything was done, Hunter asked me why everyone was saying "Happy Pride!"
"Well," I said "Mommy is a girl and daddy is a boy and we love each other, right?"
"Sometimes two girls might love each other or two boys might love each other. And that's alright, as long as they are happy and treat each other well. Sometimes girls get married to boys and sometimes boys get married to boys and girls get married to girls - and today, the parade was to show everyone that its okay to love whoever you want to love, boy or girl."
"Oh," said Hunter. He stopped walking (which he does when he is thinking hard) and then said "I love you Mommy - can I marry you?"
I laughed and gave him a hug and we continued on our walk home. On the last block home I started to think of why I wanted to take him to the parade and why I'll always take him. I want a son who is understanding and accepting of other people. I want a son who understands that is it normal to love whoever you love - and that I'll always be understand and accepting of him, no matter how he turns out. I want a son who is respectful to people, maybe people he might find a little different from those that he is normally around. I want him to understand that is alright to be different and its alright to be proud of that.
I want him never to be afraid to be himself.
I'll be his biggest supporter, I'll be here for him and happy, no matter who he falls in love with - man or women.
Most of all, I want him to feel at peace with himself and his ability to make his own decisions. The only thing I can do is inform him, expose him to different cultures and situations and help him keep an open mind and be understanding.
Love is a wonderful and precious thing - and we should cherish it, no matter who we find it with.
Happy Pride, Winnipeg.