I don’t pretend to understand how the universe works. I am not sure if there was a higher power at work devising a plan so that my son’s new identity became a reality more easily for me. I wonder if the stars were aligned in a precise pattern so that I was not alone when I struggled most with understanding his transition. I questioned whether it was “meant to be” that other mothers like myself were found through friends-and in my very neighborhood no less- when I had no idea who they ever were before that time I needed them most. What I DO know is that many opportunities to connect with other mothers of transgender children have come my way since my son came out to me almost two years ago (this coming February). What I DO know is that my life has become substantially and positively influenced with each of these amazing associations.
One of the first “transmoms” I met was someone that a friend of mine knew. Out of the blue, this close friend inquired if my son would consider have top surgery. At that point, I didn’t know anyone that even KNEW what top surgery was!! It turned out that my friend’s acquaintance had a son who had a terrific outcome with his recent surgery. That connection absolutely and positively impacted my own son’s surgery…thanks to that open and generous mother, I was able to navigate what could have been a difficult journey. Instead, I had information that became key in his decisions and in my ability to support him.
Another time, I attended a staff meeting for my school district. There, I ran into a high school counselor that had been extremely supportive of my son during his high school days before his transition. Immediately upon reconnecting with her, she inquired about my daughter. Since this was somebody that I knew my son had trusted and admired, I explained that I had an update: “she” had transitioned and was now male. “That is so amazing!” she declared. “I have a student whose sister is going through the same thing and the family is struggling with the process.” I offered to send her a link to this site with my phone number for the mom to contact me. A week later we were sharing coffee over her tears and a week after that we were attending a talk and book signing of Two Spirits, One Heart, alongside other parents of transgender children. This was the first experience of this kind for my new friend: prior to meeting me, she had thought she was alone in her community. I truly am blessed with this new friend- a woman who brings me perspective– one that I would not have otherwise met.
Last week I met another “transmom” for coffee in our mutual neighborhood. When we originally connected, I remember being floored that she was only blocks away! We remain connected through e-mail and the phone and through a parents’ group that meets once a month. Two hours flew by during our recent visit before either of us realized the time- we relate to one-another about far more than simply our shared experiences with our two sons. Happily, I have found a kindred spirit.
Finally, I was especially blessed by an integral connection through mere happenstance. A long time friend’s support was particularly meaningful when I disclosed my son’s transition. This friend had lived more than 50 years without divulging that he was gay- a painful secret he had hidden from his wife, his children, and his parents. So when I let him know about my son’s transition, he shared how thrilled he was to know someone so brave that they could be their authentic self at such a young age. Later, upon his hearing about close friends/business associates of his having a son transitioning from male to female, he contacted me. What should have been an unlikely meeting across a large metropolis, evolved into a special bond and wonderful friendship! Recently, we enjoyed an evening at a university (down the street from my home!) listening to the author of one of the first books I read as a new “transmom”: Nina Here Nor There (see Apr 16, 2012 post). Sharing books, disclosing our concerns about our transitioning children, and relaying the events of our lives, has enriched my soul.
The universe, indeed, works in mysterious ways! Our children find their ways and we, in turn, do so as well. If we allow it and open ourselves to the possibilities…our children will bring a richness and fulfillment that we would not otherwise have known.