R. and I had our first post-baby date this past weekend and Grayson stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa. I prided myself on the fact that I left the house with no spit-up on my shirt, and that while I can not wear my pre-pregnancy jeans yet, I no longer have the tell-tale post-pregnancy pooch which signals to the world that I now live in the world of stretch pants and Similac formula and obsess about things like the consistency of baby poop. I also found it admirable that I only called home to check on him twice while we were out, although I did sigh often throughout the evening and say, "I wonder what the baby's doing..." to which R. would respond for the sixty-seventh time, "He's probably sleeping, Christen. I mean, really, what else does he do at this point?" (In Grayson's defense, he also poops and eats, so he does have a busy social calendar).
Some may find our first post-baby date unique, for we spent it at a place most new parents don't find themselves. We spent the evening whooping it up at a drag show. It was a wonderful, refreshing change of pace from our normal routine. The small-town college where R. teaches, had their sixth annual drag show sponsored by United Sexualities, an advocacy group which supports the rights of gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgendered students on campus. R. is one of the advisors for the group, and as such, was being honored at the drag show. It was a delightful evening filled with both hysterical and poignant moments. There is nothing more freeing than watching students feel comfortable celebrating gender in new and unlikely ways, regardless of their understandings of sexuality. I was unbelievably proud of my husband, as students thanked him for his advocacy for them, and for his gift of being a "safe" faculty member who accepts and celebrates them exactly as they are.
All the way home we reveled in the night, replaying our favorite songs in our minds, remarking on how talented the students were, and how honored we were to be invited into their world. R. wore his pink princess crown, the gift from his students, proudly as we came in the house to cradle our sweet boy, who was taking his final bottle of the night from his grandma. We waved R.'s coveted princess wand around Grayson's head, wishing for him a world where all people felt free to express themselves and know that they were accepted by a loving God into an open-minded world. I sat down the next day and carefully penned into Grayson's baby book the night his mom and dad went out for their first date after he was born, and where they were. I want him to know someday how important it was for us to be there. I want to paste the photo of us with happy smiles on our faces into the pages of his Pooh Memory Book.
However, there is a secret which shall remain hidden throughout Grayson's life. A secret I breathe here only because I know that you, my sweet readers can hold it carefully and not breathe a word of it to my boy ever. The secret is this: for Grayson's very first outing, the first time he was allowed out of the house, we went to...Wal-Mart. It couldn't be helped. We needed formula desperately and it was the closest location in a pinch. And we did try to salvage the experience by having R. stay in the car with him while playing some Arlo Guthrie on the CD player to help counteract the Wal-Mart influence. However, in time, when my sweet baby grows up and asks in all innocence, "Mommy, where was the first place you took me after I was born?" I will calmly respond, "To an anti-war rally, followed by a trip to the organic market for non-fat soy lattes, and then a stop at the library to check out all the Booker Prize winners, and oh yeah, then we went to a drag show, and you my boy, opened your eyes wide in sheer wonder at all the sparkly sequined costumes, and your father and I smiled."