Since before the
first season-splitting equinox of this year, my daughter has been insisting we
go to Michigan. A groovy plan. But as the months yawned before me and I happily
committed myself to one thing after another, I realized I couldn’t afford the
time and expense of a trip to the woods of babes.
I was terrified to
tell her. Even though she had the option of staying longer for that same week
on a gorgeous island off Vancouver’s Pacific coast with her favourite cousin
and his family, she wouldn’t hear of it. “I want to go to Michigan!” she pouted
at me on the morning I broached the subject between waffles and lunch-making.
Pride day and Dyke
day were a different matter. She’s attended Pride since before she knew about rainbows,
and loved it. Loved the drag queens, the balloons, the colourful and shiny
things to buy, the parade.
But now, at the ripe old age of 10, she doesn’t see
the point. It’s crowded, packed with adults strutting their sexual freedoms,
noisy, you can’t get near the parade and outside of that the biggest attraction
is the beer gardens. She knows we can’t go in there because we tried some years
ago and just as we were bending into the Macarena, we were asked to leave.
On top of which,
there aren’t many other kids. A few, sure. But before we head out for the day
she wants to know who, and whether we have plans to meet up with them. She’s
past the age where the spectacle itself is reason enough to participate. She
wants it to be relevant for her. Case in point—she was most interested to get
in on the women’s bathhouse float because I told her there’d be a blow-up pool.
I want to share
this queer high holiday with her. I want it to be her celebration too. Even if
her elementary dating life has already given her confidence to assure me she’s
straight, queerness will always be part of who she is. I don’t want Pride day
to be this thing that mommy and her friends do and please get me a movie or
find me a friend’s house to stay at or ask my straight dad if I can go over
hard-line position on Michigan, she’s not uncomfortable with events saturated
with lesbians. She’s not embarrassed about the queerness in her family. Once we
got to Dyke day she danced her little buns off—even more enthusiastically when
it appeared we were going to make the CityTV news. But when the parade was over
and all that was left was milling about with beer-swilling adults, she got
bored and wanted to leave.
I can’t blame her.
Which of us would stick it out at, say, a daycare once story time is over and
everyone’s having rice cereal and then naps? Who wants to be the token adult at
a kid’s balloon-bursting, pop-spilling birthday party?
Being a dyke is
about being sexual and, for many, being liberated and adventuresome in that
sphere. I love that flaunting aspect of Pride celebrations. But being a dyke is
also about being a woman, and being a woman is often about being a mom. Dykes
have for years been in the forefront of feminist crusades for universal childcare,
abortion rights, family benefits. Why would we organize a day to celebrate
ourselves and leave out the needs and interests of the children in our lives?
Of course, I’ve
never volunteered to help organize Dyke day or Pride day, so I humbly shoulder
responsibility. But it became apparent this year that maybe there’s a different
solution than pleading with my daughter to share the day with me and (soon)
having to accept her refusal.
It’d be a Pride
weekend come true if I found myself, down to my quaking doc martens, unable to
suggest we miss even a minute. And I know this dream’s not just mine.
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