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.