Last weekend we took the kids to see a movie in the theater. I’m not sure we’ve ever done that and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s seemed too expensive, maybe they never seemed to interested but Sunday it was smoky and hot in our valley. The thought of an air conditioned two hours in the theater felt like the right thing to do.

We went to see Brave – or Bwave – as Lucille called it, about a princess who wants to let her hair blow wild and shoot a bow and arrow. She doesn’t want to be a princess but she is and when the idea of marriage comes up it all falls apart between the princess and her mother. The princess goes to a witch to get a potion that will change her mother and the princess believes this will change her fate. To Pixar’s credit, no one ends up getting married. There’s only a promise that the people of the kingdom can marry for love.

Sitting there beside my own wild-haired bow and arrow-shooting girl I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels. Eliza, however, only wanted to nibble her M & Ms , tug the popcorn bag out of her sister’s hands and hide her face from the scary monsters in the movie. She saw no parallels. She only saw a story unfolding in front of her.

I sat there wondering if I was like the animated mother on the screen trying to fit her daughter into a box by asking her to comb her hair, to wear shorts above the knee (this is our latest clothing battle) and, when asked, tell people that, yes, she is a girl. My feral girl steps across gender lines and has become to me her own species. The love I have for her is deep and pure. I think she’s perfect exactly the way the she is. Out here, on the farm in summer, she runs shirtless, she wears boy underwear, she climbs to the top of the swing set and I just see her as Eliza. There is no backdrop of other children her age out here but with school starting that is about to change. And it’s then, when I see her in a class of other six-year-old girls, that I realize, again, she’s different. <Read More>