When Devin was three years old he asked me if he could wear one of my maternity dresses. I gladly helped him into it, along with a pair of tights, per his request.
He danced around the living room watching the dress swirl with him with every move he made. He leaped from the couch and coffee table looking behind as the dress slowly floated behind him like a cape. He was so happy. He loved wearing my small, short, maternity dresses, that fit him just right. I used clothespins and paper clips in the neck and waist to cinch in the measurements to fit him more comfortably. He would say, "Mama! Watch me dance!" with a pure appreciation for himself and what he was capable of.
When friends would come over, they would respectfully celebrate his love for dresses with him, commenting on how nicely he danced and how great the dresses looked on him. I am so fortunate to have always had loving, supportive friends who have respected my children when most people would judge.
Not everyone in our family was supportive of our choice to allow Devin to wear dresses when he wanted to. Close family warned us that if we "let" him wear dresses he would grow up confused and it would somehow "screw him up" as a person. They were well-intentioned when they encouraged us to buy him more "appropriate" clothing for his gender, like pink collar shirts, or boys button down shirts with Hawaiian flowers. I think some family assumed his intentions were something they were not. The assumptions that he wanted to "be a girl" just because he wore a dress were far-reaching and exaggerations of the simple fact that my son loved to wear dresses. I wouldn't have minded if he wanted to be a girl, and I would have supported him in that desire, but Devin still loved being a boy! He just wanted to express a feminine part of himself that is often stifled in boys in our culture. I was encouraged to bring him to a psychiatrist to evaluate him.
I never listened to anyone but Devin and my own heart. I knew that the fear surrounded Devin's dress wearing was just that - fear! I knew that the only way that I could ever damage my son would be to not allow him to express himself in the way he felt was right for him, even at three years old! I knew that the fear that others had in Devin wearing a dress was just their own issues and that I never had to take their "advice" and bring my son for a psychological evaluation, or make him wear pink colored boy shirts - instead of his beloved dresses.
Listening to my son and respecting his desires in what he has been drawn to over the years has never led me wrong. I trust him fully in his own inner knowing about what is good for him.
Devin wore dresses all day, almost everyday for over four years! We stood by his side and supported his passion for dresses with unwaivering certainty in his wholeness as a person. We helped him on with his tights and zipped up the back of his three favorite dresses for years, with love.
Today, Devin is boy who loves to play video games, build things, shoot his BB gun, ride in his Kayak, create stories and so much more. He has not worn dresses for six years, but if he ever wanted to again, I would gladly support him. I am so happy that he was always able to express himself and I have always trusted him.
We may not know what need is being filled by some of our children's actions and choices in life. Quite honestly, I do not think it is our business to pry into our children's minds to try to find out, because in doing so is when we damage them and make assumptions based on others fears most of the time. It is my role to support my children's choices, without judgement.
One thing is for sure, I will always be by my children's side in whatever they choose to do, or have, or be in life. Unconditionally.
I am so glad that I have listened to my inner guidance from the beginning with my kids.
Devin is a joyful, content, whole and healthy person. I am so glad that he was able to truly be *him* and wear dresses for the years that it met a need within him. I will never forget him dancing around the living room, with pure bliss in his eyes, spinning and leaping and able to be who he was at that moment. I still have his favorite yellow dress, which is now full of holes and little rips from being worn and washed so much over the years. I sometimes take it out of my top drawer as a reminder to never stop respecting, honoring and listening to myself and my children.
Sometimes boys just want to wear dresses and it's all good!