Dinah put the finishing touches on her set-up by placing two bottles of water on the coffee table. She stood at the ready by her easel until she heard the bedroom doors open. There was a limited amount of time before the kids had to leave, and she wanted to make the most of it.
Seth emerged first, bright-eyed and already dressed. He stared for a minute, and Dinah waved him to the couch. With a graceful shrug, he sat.
Kelsie came out next, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and yawning widely. She sneered at both Dinah and Seth, but she obeyed the command and took up residence beside her brother.
Dinah took a long sip of her coffee and picked up the plastic wand with the hand-shaped pointer on the end. She flipped the first page on the easel to reveal a pie chart.
“You may be wondering why I called this meeting.”
Seth eyed the water bottle in front of him warily. “Not really.”
“I’m too tired for this!” Kelsie whined.
Dinah ignored them both. “Now,” she said, thwacking it with the pointer, “this is a representation of the possibilities of genders in the world. See how it’s a gradient? And this—” She flipped the page again. “—is a representation of the possibilities of sexual attraction—” She pointed to the top pie. “—and romantic attraction.” And the bottom pie. She sipped her coffee again.
“Why,” Kelsie muttered.
Seth just sat there, staring. Dinah wasn’t sure if he was interested in the material or waiting to see if his mother had completely lost it.
“So, with all these fine possibilities…” She flipped the page again. “Here is where I—” She gave the page a hard smack with the pointer. “—overlap.”
Dinah gave each of the kids a two-page, double-sided handout. She launched into a complicated but somewhat detached and very long explanation using the notecards she’d prepared the night before.
Seth’s eyes widened as she talked. Kelsie crossed her arms and flopped back against the couch with a resigned groan. After about three minutes, she gave up.
“Mom!” she barked when Dinah paused for a breath. “Please stop. We already know this stuff.”
Dinah fidgeted. “You do?”
“My friend Brianna is bi,” Kelsie said.
“Theo told me at lunch this one day that he’s gay. Like, right in line at the cafeteria,” Seth said.
“You two are in middle school!” Dinah gaped at them.
“Mom,” Kelsie said, using a patient tone she must’ve picked up from her teachers. “Times are different now.”
“So, you don’t care that I’m bi?”
Seth shrugged. “Are you telling us this because you’re leaving Dad?” His tone was casual but with a slight hesitation.
“No,” Dinah said.
“Okay,” Seth agreed. He tilted his head, eyes narrowed. “Then do we get to stay home from school?”
“No!” Dinah threw her hands up. “I just thought you should know. You still have to go to school, do your homework, eat your vegetables, and take out the trash. Okay?”
“Fine.” Kelsie rolled her eyes. “I’m going to go pack my lunch.”
She stood, and Seth followed her. That had been…interesting. And somewhat of a letdown. Dinah began picking up the living room.
She decided she’d save the conversation about her gender identity for a different morning meeting.