Dear Daughter: About girl and boy friends
Before I launch into the subject of the letter, I need to talk about the quilt block that accompanies it.
I’m growing quite fond of the quilt I’m making for you. I think I’ll have to speed up production, otherwise I may not be able to let it go. I’ve started to think about how to put all the quilt blocks together. I want to add a strip of fabric between each block. Probably a solid purple, but I am looking at alternatives. I want to achieve a good balance so that each part is shown off at it’s best.
The quilt block, this time, is called duck and ducklings. I like the pattern, but I’m not sure I understand the name. I see ducklings, at a squeeze, but the mother duck seems to have wandered off. Unless the middle part is the mother. Or not. Not that it really matters. I like the balance.
So. There is the quilt block. Now for the letter that goes with it, as part of the Dear Daughter Quilt project. In a way, it is about balance too. Different people joining in to achieve a harmony. Bear with me. You’ll see.
Last week, your brother looked thoughtful. He obviously had something on his mind that was troubling him. As we walked to school, he asked me a question. Took me back. I remember you asking a similar question, albeit the other way round, when you were even younger than he is now.
“It’s OK to have friends that are girls, isn’t it?”
“Yes, of course,” I told him.
“It’s just that T at school keeps on teasing me about me being friends with M.”
“Being friends with girls is good, just as its good to have friends that are boys. Ignore him. He’ll grow out of that attitude, one day. You can always ask him why he feels that way. Might make him think.”
I watched your brother disappear into the playground to find his friend. Presumably to chat about scooter tricks and Minecraft, as they usually do. Or ways to escape out of school. In his mind, it makes no difference whether she is a girl or boy. She likes the same things as him.
It got me thinking. Will that change? Will his friend T finally realise that boys can be friends with girls? Will your brother reach a point where he starts to believe T and think that girls don’t make good friends?
And while I am navel gazing, I don’t think I had a clear parenting directive on this aspect of friendships. Maybe I should have done. Although I didn’t think I needed to spell it out or artificially manufacture friendships. It should be natural. You like the people that you like.
At your age, I had best girl friends, but I also had a lot of friends that were boys. More like brothers, without the sibling rivalry. They were fun to be with and made me laugh. That was enough. I wasn’t about to start scratching our joint intials into the school desks (as if!)
I went on to carve out a career in an industry that was male dominated. Still is. I’m not sure I’d have felt so confident and held my own, if I’d not had that experience of having good male friends.
The work teams that I have enjoyed working in the most, have been a good balance of genders and/or a real mix of people. It needs to be mixed. If everyone is the same, has the same experiences, then they bring the same ideas to the project. More than likely, it will skew the approach and possibly the results.
You used to be friends with boys. In fact, I often thought you got on better with them. I don’t hear you talking about them anymore, only the really annoying boys. Maybe it will change again. Maybe you are surrounded by people who share your brother’s friend T’s take on life. I don’t know.
I guess I’m trying to tell you that it is still OK to be friends with boys. It will add something to your life. Balance, a different way of thinking, different interests. Who knows? There will always be people who try to link you romantically, but, hey, they’ll get over it. You can’t live your life for them.
Your loving mother
If you would like to see more quilt blocks or letters from this project, then click here. There is also an explanation about why I started on this marathon in the first place. Even I read that occasionally to remind myself!