Bethany Biron
Updated May 21, 2016 @ 10:03 am
Credit: Facebook/Maya Alderman/The Mighty

In a society where girls are socialized to dress in frilly pink bows and tend to baby dolls, while boys are destined to playtimes of wielding fake swords and crashing toy cars, it’s not easy break ingrained gender binaries.

However, one sweet little boy came to Target dressed in a bright fuchsia rose headband, the allowance he saved up for a Barbie burning a hole through his pocket. What happened next is so touching.

His mother Maya Alderman took to Facebook to write an open letter to the woman who gave her “the look” while her son was perusing the Barbie section. Her open letter was later republished on The Mighty, a website devoted to shining light on disease and disability, and then started going viral. But before you jump to conclusions about what she had to say, read on.

In the open letter, she addresses her personal struggle with chronic anxiety, and how it often becomes exacerbated over fear that the world won’t accept her son. “Going places with my son can be difficult for me,” Alderman writes. “I panic when I think of the stares and the thoughts people are thinking about him. He, thankfully, does not appear to notice or care.”

As she continues to recount the shopping trip, the tension grows. They run into a woman shopping for toys with her husband and young son, and Alderman immediately tenses up, for fear of what the boys and the family might say or do. As she passes them, she’s surprised by what transpires.

Incredible. In the open letter, Alderman calls the moment a “mom-to-mom high five.” This small but beautiful moment shows us that sometimes the world can be a wonderful, accepting place. Let’s hope we see more of this tolerance in the future.