"Come sit with us."

"Let's sit here," she says, lifting herself onto the stool.

The last time we were all here together they needed help getting up there. They needed a boost.

The stools are tall in this restaurant and not even my feet know how to touch the ground. We are all small, here. None of us can reach.

The girls start to play I Spy. I ask if Archer wants to sit with me but he shakes his head.

"Can I play I Spy with you guys?"

"Sure! Come sit with us."

This isn't always the way, of course. Sometimes the girls don't want to include their brother and I totally get that. When he's with a friend it's much the same.

But Archer and Fable still share a room. They live their lives in tandem. They watch the same movies. Play with the same Legos on Sunday mornings... They draw pictures and tape them together, dress up like Harry and Hermione...


"Why do we need an International Women's Day?" Fable asked me the other day. "Is there one for boys, too?"

Archer was sitting next to me so I took a moment to think, wanted to choose my words in a way that didn't demean boys or men... because I truly believe that our broken system is not their fault, that pushing our forefathers off their thrones is not the way to prove that sometimes the king is in fact a woman. Time is a change agent, yes, but life is long... and tomorrow was never going to happen yesterday, even if it should have. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep pushing, girls...

And as all of these thoughts overlapped in my head, as I sat like a log trying to formulate the perfect answer...

"Girls do not have the same rights as boys in many parts of the world," Archer said.

... Archer just went ahead and spoke.

And he was right.

And Fable listened.

And so did I.

And as I listened, I realized how important it was to hear him say it. To hear him talk about why women weren't allowed to vote once and how in some parts of the world, girls have to marry men when they're not ready and how we've never had a woman president ever in the history of ever and...


What a loss it would have been to not have had him part of our conversation that day. Had Archer not been there with us at the table, we would have missed out on a very important perspective.
At the cafe, the girls play I Spy... point to things on the walls.

"I spy with my little eye... something... yellow."

"... something red..."

"... something with a plant on it..."

This is where he feels comfortable. In a world where girls climb onto their own chairs... next to boys who want to have conversations about International Women's Day...
photo 4 And cars.
photo 4 And music.
photo 4 And... spying things in a room.

I watch them, side by side, and I think of course. But also, not of course, because when Fable has friends over I assume that Archer will not want to hang out with them... that he'd rather talk about things they are not interested in talking about.

Because even when I don't think I'm projecting, I project. I have to stop myself constantly. I have to bite my tongue when assuming Archer doesn't want to see a certain movie that his sisters have begged me for. I have to remind myself that feminist issues are his issues, too. Which is why I'm such a huge fan of He For She and any organization that invites boys to sit down with girls. Because even those, like me, who advocate for our sons, can do better.

Hell, we HAVE TO do better. 

In order to make any real, lasting change, we have to do more than hold a few seats for our sons at the table. We must invite them to sit down, to speak, to share...

Otherwise, we are drawing an even bigger line in the sand -- separating our sons and daughters with our fear when we should be bringing them together with our strength.

For it is their perspective that will change the world, not ours.

And this fight doesn't have to be a war.

Because in the words of my nine year old son, one of the greatest feminists I know, btw, "It's about all of us sitting together. This is about girls working with boys and boys working with girls. And you want to know something about boys that a lot of girls don't know? We're good listeners. We pay attention to things. Some of us are messy but we pay attention..."

Keep pushing, girls. And boys. 


When the smoothies arrive, Archer hops off his chair to grab four sleeves to put around our freezing cups.

"These are so none of our hands get cold," he says.

And none of them do.