An Amazing Gift

13 Aug

I want to share with you an exquisite present that I received from my son. I have been holding it close- savoring its content, again and again. However, this gift is so personal, it has been difficult for me to decide just how to communicate about it without making the focus around me. My purpose in revealing my son’s generosity is not about him, either- nor is it about the gift itself. Rather, my disclosure is about what we as mothers of transgendered children can remember about our children.

My birthday falls close to Mother’s Day. This year, it was only a month post-op after my son’s top surgery. Since I had recently seen him during the surgery (see “A Whole New Chest”), there was no legitimate way for me to push for my annual “gotta be with my kids on Mother’s Day” plea- so I sucked it up and in lieu of his presence, received a padded envelope mailed from his home out of state.  Without my knowing, my husband spirited the gift away, saving it until after our daughter had arrived. When she was here and we were enjoying a celebratory restaurant meal together, my husband brought out several cards. My son’s contained a CD. After dinner, before we had even driven out of the darkened parking structure, the three of us sat mesmerized in the car. Listening . “Stunning,” was the only word I could say through my tears.

My son had the amazing clarity and thoughtfulness to audiotape his voice while going through his transition. On the CD, he speaks to me about his feelings – his excitement about the process of transitioning and why he feels this way. He begins his narrative only two days after the start of his testosterone injections.

“Hey Mom, it is two days on “T”, and I love you”. It is the voice of his former female self. He states, “This is the voice you know so well.” My son shares that part of the reason why he is excited about transitioning, is due to the love and support that we (me with my husband and daughter) have given him. He is particularly grateful for the intricacies of my ally-ship. He shared what has been of significance for him- changing pronouns, asking questions in respectful ways, requesting suggestions for reading materials, going out of my way to find a therapist and seeking support groups. Telling him all the time that we love him was important. Letting him know that his ability to make decisions is respected was essential.  Being genuine has been key for him.  He is been grateful to be on the receiving end of unconditional love.

On the CD, my son continued to memorialize his voice over the passing months with the same sentence, “Hey, Mom- it is ___ months on “T” and I love you.” The voice deepens. It becomes full and rich. Within ten such statements, it is the male voice I recognize and love today.

This is REALLY a reminder of how our kids feel- whether they state it as eloquently and powerfully and my son has- or not. My son may be unique in his ability to express his gratitude- but I believe his feelings during this time of transition are universal: the need to be loved and to know you are loved. To be reminded of that love during stressful and unpredictable times of change-OFTEN. To be aligned with those who are genuine. To be respected and trusted. To be understood and supported. Our children deserve no less.


11 Responses to “An Amazing Gift”

  1. JD August 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Just beautiful that your son included you in his change and knew that it would be so important to do so, especially if you don’t see each another frequently. Many of the difficult moments for moms of transgender kids come with visual, and in your case, audio, changes. It helps us moms when we know our kids are sensitive to that. I’m so happy for you and your son.

    • transmom August 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      That was a great virtual hug from you- thanks!

  2. Trans*forming Mom August 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    I kept having to blink away tears so i could read this. What a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Renee October 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I am continually amazed by your loving family and each member’s ability to articulate your love and support of each other. I feel blessed to know you.

    • transmom October 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      Hugs to you! Your authenticity always reminds us to step up and be ourselves for one another!

  4. janet November 19, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    This is the first I’ve heard of this gift for Mother’s Day, and I am truly moved. I’ve said for the past two and a half decades that you have a very special kid. This cd shows that. What compassion. The love that you share is inspiring. Seeing that loving support chronicled here is very important to moms of transgender kids and to those of us who love these young adults who have transitioned to their authentic selves.

    • transmom November 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Thank you so much- I am blessed to have an amazingly thoughtful son. I am equally blessed to have friends that continue to appreciate and admire him!

  5. Marie December 31, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    You are most fortunate. Our son, in transition now to female, seems to have clue none about how difficult this is for us. He does not include us & even lies about what he is doing when, so when the photos come & they do, it is quite shocking. He asks for our respect, but gives none in return…what do we do with that?! It is horrible! We are TRYING to love unconditionally, but when the trust isn’t there, how does that work?

    • transmom December 31, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

      Marie- I sooooo get what you are saying! You are so right- I was INCREDIBLY fortunate when my son allowed me the time and gave me patience in my process toward understanding and acceptance!!!

      Please know that I have heard from countless moms that are in your shoes however: they are parents of teen and adult children who ABSOLUTELY SHOULD be respectful and patient and understanding of what this news does to their parents!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE: THIS SUCKS!!!

      However, I am going to advise that you continue to be the parent! Take the high road! Know that there is A LOT that goes on with children- no matter their age!!!!- when they transition. By this time in the process of finding themselves and allowing themselves to take on this HUGE and RISKY decision, they have undoubtedly encountered so much negativity that they worry- even believe- that you will bring the same reaction! So many adult children behave in this way as a defense against more- the greatest level really- of rejection possible. They steal themselves against losing you, their parent!

      I know it doesn’t make sense, but if you react badly, then they can blame you.
      So rather than letting that be the narrative- I encourage you to send back a note after receiving those shocking photos! Remind him/her that while you understand it is important for them to share their new identity and have you respect these changes in his life, you would appreciate the same respect in return. Ask him/her to understand that EVERYONE gets to have their own process, emotions, and feelings around transition! Your love for him/her has not changed, but the ease which you feel around him/her needs time. Ask your child to please consider your process and journey: you are trying to take this all in and your need dialogue and consideration.

      While you ask this- whether in person or on paper- please use their new chosen name and pronouns (if there are those)!! This is another example of how you are trying and respectful- you will be modeling how your child should treat you!

      Your child is an adult, but what he/she is going through sets them WAY back emotionally- especially as it involves a parental relationship!

      My best to you during this difficult process!!

      • Marie January 1, 2018 at 2:31 am #

        Thanks again for your advice. Last night was a tough one!

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