I read a piece about about Julie Marie Nemecek earlier today, which was good. But it got me thinking about this kid I met a while ago (especially after watching the TG youth video on their site). It the second time this week that I've thought of this kid, so I thought I'd share.
Years ago I used to face paint at kids parties and events and things (hard to believe, I know). I met literally thousands of kids over the years I was working. Only a very few stand out in my mind. But then I'd only see each kid for maybe 4 minutes, it's not a long time to make a lasting impression. (Generally, they all remember you and you have trouble even remembering what event they're talking about.) Anyway, this one kid, I will NEVER forget. I don't like kids, but this kid I loved.
He was maybe 6 or 7, just a little kid and he was at this other kid's birthday party. It was a fairly typical party, a few boys, a few girls. The girls all wanted to be butterflies and kitty cats. The boys all wanted super heroes. Then this kids sits down in front of me, he wasn't in-your-face but he wasn't timid either. I smiled at him (my very practiced, face painter's smile) and asked what he'd like to be. I waited for the inevitable "Spider-man!" or "Batman!", etc.
Instead he looked at me as calmly and with as much certainty as I've ever seen from anyone and said without hesitation "I want to be a princess."
That was the only kid at that party and countless others that got a real smile.
I've had hundreds of kids ask me to be painted exactly the same as their friends, listen to others tell them what to be and change their minds because someone laughed at what they wanted. I painted them all like they asked and I don't remember any of them beyond that.
My only question for this kid regarding his decision was what colour eyeshadow he wanted. He picked blue, which got another smile. In the end he had red lipstick, blue eye shadow, gold stars and a tiara and he was the happiest kid at the party.
"You're all done!" I said and handed him the mirror. "I think you're the best princess here."
He smiled with his whole face and gave the biggest thank-you I've gotten to date.
When he went back to the party I saw a couple boys giggle and I was getting ready to smack some kids upside the head. But this guy just brushed it off, found himself a good toy and got back to playing with the others.
If I live to be a thousand, I seriously doubt I will ever meet a cooler kid than him.