Editor’s Note:  A special thanks to Victoria Redel for allowing me to share her beautiful poem, which I am sure will tug at the heartstrings of parents far and wide.  Touchingly penned, her words capture what many of us have experienced raising our brave children.


Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

He’s bedecked.  I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.

Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake.

Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs, battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub.

Then tell me it’s fine – really – maybe even a good thing – a boy who’s got some girl to him, and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park.

Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means – this way or that – but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows – made every shining true color.

Now try to tell me – man or woman – your heart was ever once that brave.


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2 Responses to Bedecked

  1. this alien says:

    thanks so much for posting this beautiful poem.

  2. I. Tal Alkalay says:

    Beautifully written. I’ve posted before under the pseudonym ‘Kai’ – in my own choked-down childhood experience (female body, wanting nothing to do with said glitter) – and if you read my posts, you will understand that I was NOT as brave. Nor would my family or the mid-1960’s world I inhabited have embraced a girl insisting that she was a boy. I still struggle with the feeling I had then that being girlish was ‘good’ and being masculine, or a tomboy, was ‘bad’ – and I learned to set my sights always lower than what I wanted (having become accustomed to my expectations of fulfillment as ridiculous, unfulfillable expectations). Your male-bodied glitter-loving child is brave, and so are you for letting him/her be who he or she (or she and he) or – ? – is and not allowing her/him to believe that his/her sartorial desires are ‘bad’. They are good!

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