Admitting to Lows

5 Jul

This is a season filled with celebrating events: graduations, retirements and weddings to name three to which I have recently attended. Therefore, it seems that my  “engrained expectations” seem to be at hand when I am at such a gathering. As a child of the 60’s and coming of age in the 70’s in a family well steeped in “traditional American values”, I sometimes find myself off-kilter during such events. I grew up KNOWING and assuming that (like most of my friends’ children actually are) I would have cis-gendered, heterosexual, and successful (by upper-middle class standards) children that were Democrats and held typical occupations (are you rolling your eyes?). This is what I actually believed ever since the age of what, three? five? I dreamed of wearing a white wedding dress and having beautiful children and that those children would, in turn, do the same. That was until, well, I went through a divorce and still later again, when my eldest informed us he was trans. And that I further realized that my trans-son would not conform to a “typical” lifestyle, nor occupation. I know, this is particularly loathsome and embarrassing to admit, but it is my truth. I own it.

So when I have occasion to attend events to which like-minded families converge and parents who were raised with similar beliefs stand around to reconnect through the sharing of updates of their growing or now adult children, it is as if my pre-programmed DNA screams, “Hey! Where is YOUR “normal” looking family? How are you gonna give the update on how YOUR son is doing?” Now mind you, not one of my friends is asking these questions, nor is anyone anything but supportive of my trans-son. No one is casting side-glances or conspiratorially whispering nearby. This is ALL IN MY HEAD.

I have to confess…when I sat and watched the traditional wedding ceremony realizing my son will never have anything to do with such spectacle, part of me was bummed. When I attended a recent retirement party and the hetero-son introduced his oh, so adorable fiancé, part of me was, yup, say it Girl: jealous.  After receiving the announcement containing a photo with parents embracing their hetero-child at a law-school graduation, I winced.  I have to admit there is a longing, an ache that is not present except for rare times such as these. Admittedly, that twinge was there A LOT when I first learned I was a trans-mom…but despite the months that have passed and all that I have learned about these expectations being ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS in what REALLY MATTERS in life…I acknowledge (in order to be honest with myself and with you) that I have been hard-wired to feel this kind of hurt.

So I hope you will join me in my quest to embrace the journey: accept that these pangs of doubt and loss will find their way to the surface now and again, but know that they are meaningless. Understand that just because we were programmed and immersed in propaganda of such standards- it is love, acceptance and tolerance that are the ONLY values that matter!

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4 Responses to “Admitting to Lows”

  1. Diana April 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    Although this post is almost two years old, I just want to say to the author a big THANK YOU…. this is exactly what I’ve been wrestling with. My conclusion is the same as yours… that in the end it is love an acceptance that really matter. The heartache that comes with “if only” is a private pain that I never want my son to see but I’m glad it can be acknowleged between mom’s who’ve been there.

    • transmom April 16, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

      Thanks so much, Diana!
      Ours IS a difficult place in which to balance- as individuals, we moms deserve to feel whatever we feel- to acknowledge our/experience our disappointment, heartache, etc. At the same time, if we CAN balance those emotions with being fully available for our children, then we are able to support our children without inadvertently hurting them at a time when they need us most!

  2. Kiki August 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Since my son went back to college, after his sisters bridal shower, I’ve been waking every morning feeling that low. I get on this blog to read and it brings me back to the present moment. Where I do accept him no matter what. That he will never be married as his sister, and that I am blessed to have a variety of children to teach me acceptance. I do have a son traditionally married with religious beliefs, a daughter getting married next month in her own beliefs but still a traditional heterosexual relationship. And my youngest FTM informed me that he is still wearing the dress he promised his sister to be the maid of honor! Talk about non-traditional, but I’m trying to go with the flow. After all he has not transitioned completely and is just going to start t-therapy. I hope he gets through this awkwardness at the wedding, having just come out as a boy, and still wearing a traditional maid of honor dress.

    • transmom August 14, 2015 at 1:52 am #

      These are REALLY different times, Kiki! As moms in 2015, many of us are being asked to not only accept and support our childten’s gender identity changes-but many times also non-conforming roles and relationships! THIS IS NOT EASY!! the kids that choose to be gender fluid and our kids that are queer and have partners that vary- these are new to those of us moms raised and steeped in traditional homes with traditional expectations! All we can do is to remember this is our time to learn FTOM OUR KIDS!!, take lots of deep breaths, and find humor in it all. And wine- wine at the end of the day helps too, Friend! 😉

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