Tuesday, August 26, 2014 • 4:28 AM Comments (93)

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posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

A friend posed one of those perennial parent queries the other day: Do I let my boy be a princess for Halloween?

The question of how you feel about your child’s self-expression and explorations and passions is seemingly a lifelong one. Remember how mesmerized your baby was by a light bulb’s bright stare or the sound of the dryer? Remember following your toddler around endlessly or the stampede of preschoolers towards ants on the playground? Remember every variation of construction truck and how you learned the distinctions and proper names?

Later, perhaps it was baseball stats or opera scores (not the numbers kind). There’s a reason every Scholastic book club ever has the Guiness Book of World Records on offer. Lure to eye shadow, rainbow hued hair, a particular jacket or pair of shoes… a friend, a boy or girlfriend, a bent toward science, an aversion toward school… it all goes on, and on.

Because it’s the turn toward the school year, I’ve read about firsts and lasts and launches and reckoning (happily, less happily) about the part of our unconditional love for our children that is less about love and more about acceptance, even embrace for things about their lives we don’t fundamentally or at least instantly understand.

None of this has anything to do with the big, hard things in the world or the trivial things, either. I did not say anything about any Emmy dress anywhere. (I did write about the end of summer for Brain, Child). My heart does stretch to confusions, though, and this includes the messy world I root for, despair with, and love anyway. I’d say more, but folks, I can’t say a thing more useful than that and so quiet solidarity with peace and love.

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