A Note Before You Read-
Prior to the experience related below, my son had explained to us that he was genderqueer. Therefore, I reference him with gender neutral pronouns (ie they, their) in the story below.
Both of my children live out of state…my daughter lives a couple of hours north of my eldest. It was in February 2010 and I was on a trip to visit them both and a spot equidistant between them. When my eldest showed up to pick up their sister and me from the hotel, I noticed THE CHANGE immediately. My inner voice was saying, “Uh oh!” :
Hair-the shortest ever worn to date-and a different, much more boyish style.
And the chest…I know my baby’s chest. THAT was not a C cup chest. That was NO chest.
I tried to keep the inner fear at bay. I remember making a comment that I didn’t get why their keys were hanging from a belt loop on one of those C-clip type key rings – never worn before that way. A sudden desire to look like a janitor? Now in retrospect, I commented about it in a disapproving tone. (Nice touch since this was the first time I was seeing our child after several months). I asked if shopping was something we could do during this visit and my eldest said they didn’t need anything. Panic.
We moms DO know everything. We sense it. But we don’t listen to our inner voices nearly enough. It’s not as if my eldest hadn’t been building to this new look. Or as if I wasn’t clued-in prior. I had received countless pictures from my eldest in the months prior via e-mail- and in those pictures, they actually WERE sporting this new chest. However, I DIDN’T SEE IT! Or take the previous August. We had just returned from a family vacation with my husband, the younger daughter, the eldest and- the boyfriend!!! (this is the part where I need to digress and explain that the eldest had previously explained that they were queer and even though we had been told this, I had decided to live instead in “LA LA Land” and believe this was a heterosexual relationship!!!). After that vacation, we were informed that the eldest was changing their name from a female spelling of a unisex name to the male spelling. AND STILL I WAS IN DENIAL!!! HELLLOOOO??
Back to the February trip: after dinner, the three of us are cozied-up on a hotel bed chatting (like three girls would do, right?) and the eldest reveals there is something important to share: my eldest is Trans. And they have been living as a male and is being referred to by male pronouns and it would be appreciated if we could do the same. This is important to..to….HIM.
I explain that I am crying because of the loss of MY dream…that I understand it is my dream alone- it is what moms do when their babies are born. Moms have a plan…and this wasn’t my plan. I explain I am crying because for 23 years I have related to them as a woman to another female and I am losing this. My eldest is more than generous. My eldest states, “I know you will have your own process around this.” I explain that even though I am crying, I only want my eldest to know that they are loved no matter what.