Happy October y'all. Slipping in here at the end of the month, here's my nod to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I wrote it a few years ago. The children have grown and the shirt has shrunk. But the sentiments remain.
The majority of little boys like to fight.
Don't get me wrong, my toddler daughter is something of a scrapper, too. Try to take her toy, or worse, her food, and you're sure to be pounded with a high-pitched scream and perhaps an assaulting little fist to go with it. I wouldn't say this makes me proud, but I am glad she is learning to daily hold her own against her 5-year old brother.
It's her brother, though, who takes joy in fighting - or rather, the idea of fighting. Books and shows on karate, ninjas, warriors, or soldiers are pretty much a guaranteed win with him. He and is father are often practicing Krav Maga or Jiu-Jitsu moves together or spending some time with the heavy bags in the garage. Er, make that 1 heavy bag + 1 air-filled balloon in the shape of a heavy bag. My son also proudly has his own set of boxing gloves, like his daddy's, and can't wait to also start taking fight classes.
It's my son who is growing up with the aspiration to be tough. While my husband and I are struggling to raise him into a man of character, I'm pretty sure he just wants to be strong and able to fight off bad guys.
So, my Little Ninja is particularly interested in a shirt I occasionally wear that reads, "I Fight Like a Girl." I tried to explain to him what this shirt means... How I am proud to be counted among the group of women who have had to surmount a cancer diagnosis and treatment. ...How difficult it is to fight against a disease, when the fight is for your life. (Try explaining that in Kindergartner, non-scary language.)
Little Ninja has never heard, "fight like a girl" in it's original, negative context. Rather, it's quite a compliment.
I hope that he can grow up maintaining this understanding of girls/women that is free from assumptions of inferiority. Certainly, I will do my best to ensure such.
I hope that Little Ninja will grow up to have compassion for the suffering and gratitude for whatever blessings befall him, daily.
And of course, I hope that my daughter, that my nieces - that no one in the generations to come - will ever have to grow up and find themselves having to fight like a girl against cancer.
The many women who have lost their lives to the disease, the women who have been fortunate enough to treat it successfully: they have all faced a host of terrible, have endured and coped - for however long they did. That's tough.