Lesbian and Gay Parenting book coverIn a Family Way

A column by Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Social Skills and Voting Rights

Posted By on July 1, 2009

Social Skills and Voting Rights
By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev
I know my baby is growing up because there is suddenly a new level of sophistication about his social relationships. I find myself unprepared for the social dilemmas he faces and deeply impressed by how carefully he manages them.

By the time you read this, perhaps we will know who the new president is. However, according to a television show I saw before the election, many Americans have no idea who is running or what they stand for. A scary thought, and one that is combated in my home while we watch the coverage with my five year old.

Visiting my mother, a staunch Republican (don’t ask), she says to him, "Do you know who is running for president?" I am sure she meant this as a trick question and was quite surprised when he answered, "Sure, Al Gore and George Bush." Startled, my mother said, "And who are you voting for?" I could tell my son knew that something was up. He scanned the crowd, looked at my mother carefully and said, "I am voting for Al Gore." When she asked him why he said, "Because all George Bush cares about is money, and Al Gore cares about the animals." Except for the twitch in her eyebrow, my mother did not respond–quite an accomplishment for a five-year old don’tcha think?

It is not just family members that he manages though, but also he own very active social life. My handsome Black son has always had a "thing" for very blond Irish looking girls. In daycare, he had an entourage of them, surrounding him and begging for his attention. I am sure his taste in women will be forever blamed on his being raised by white parents, though I can assure you my taste in women was not something I learned at home.

He has had one special friend for the past three years, who I will call Emily. Recently, he has begun a new friendship with a girl he goes to school with, who I will call Rachel. It is very clear how much he really likes Rachel. After spending the afternoon with Rachel the other day I said, "It seems like you really like playing with Rachel." "Yes," he said, "but can I tell you something?" Slowly and thoughtfully he said, "Don’t tell Emily how much I like playing with Rachel. I think it may hurt her feelings."

Sigh. The sons of lesbians managing the intricacies of intimate relationships with gentleness and precision.