Lil’T stormed off the bus. Her friend harumphed down beside her.
Both girls ran for their mothers, crying. “She hurt my feelings!” “She said she wouldn’t be my friend!”
The bus driver looked distraught. “I don’t know what happened witht them.”
Twenty seconds later the two girls were holding hands and skipping down the sidewalk, best friends once more.
It wasn’t until I was on the phone with a classmate about a group project when I learned what the problem was.
Lil’T and two other girls had been talking about marriage. Apparently this is a common topic for them. When I was four, I remember being more interested in riding my bike and the neighbour’s newborn kittens than weddings.
One of the girls on the bus said that her mother told her two girls couldn’t get married. Lil’T had asked me about this earlier in the week and I had told her that sometimes two women or two men marry each other. Perhaps the girls had been discussing marriage all week.
Lil’T told them that two girls could get married. The other girls disagreed. Loudly.
Lil’T began to cry just remembering it. “But, mommy, girls can get married, right?”
“Yes.” I replied.
“How do you know?” Lil’T asked, tears gone and eyes narrowed.
“Well, darling, I’ve met a few women who are married to other women.”
Not satisfied, she asked for names. I said a few and she skipped off again.
Of course, at her age Lil’T just wants to be right. She wants to know she can trust her parents when they tell her things. But it makes me sad that four and five year olds are not immune to issues of homophobia.
She came home upset once because another girl told her real princesses don’t like cars. Lil’T has always loved things with wheels, engines, or chains. She is our mechanic princess.
She listens to me now, but I know there will be a day when she won’t ask me to give her one more kiss before hopping on the school bus or ask my opinion on what real princesses like or what women are allowed to do.
I think she’ll be fine.