There is a fabulous parent support group in Los Angeles. They completely rescued me 4 years ago when I felt so alone during the first months of my journey! While I no longer attend monthly parent meetings (while the kids and their sibs attend groups for their ages), I continue to stay connected through frequent e-mails.
This is how I found Cyndie Klein! She is, like you, a loving and supportive mom, standing up for her child and learning along the way. Her family attended the recent 23rd Annual Models of Pride conference on the campus of the USC in Los Angeles. I am so pleased to share wonderful Cyndie and her articulate reflections with you:
We went to Models of Pride yesterday and wow….what a great day! It was our families first time, in fact it was our first time at anything like this for the LGBTQ community and we were overwhelmed with emotions at the end of the day.
I’d like to share a story of my revelation this morning…its a bit long so continuing on is completely up to you:)
I was going through my bag from yesterday’s event and throwing away the papers I don’t need and rereading some of what we heard. I was finishing up when I came across our lanyards lying on the table. You know those necklaces you get with your name on it when you check in? We received the black Models of Pride lanyard with our name tag hanging off the bottom as our pass to be there for the day. We also received another lanyard for participating in a panel where we discussed some challenges we have faced with our Trans son and where we could share a little of our story with others. This lanyard was bright in color with the LGBT and rainbow insignia on it. I picked up the lanyards off the dining room table but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. This was the first event we had ever been to for the LGBTQ community and we were very proud to have been there. I tried to think of a place I could keep these lanyards for now so as they hung from my hand, I walked through the house looking for a spot. When I got to the den I saw the board on the wall with all the pegs on it. I thought, “This is perfect”, so I looked for an empty peg. You see, all the pegs had my husband’s medals from his many marathons hanging from them, 24 to be exact. As my eyes fell on the last peg I had to laugh. I saw that my husband had the same idea and had already hung his lanyards there. I hung mine on the same one. I started to leave the room but when I got to the door I glanced back at the peg board to look at the lanyards again and immediately halted and starred at all the lanyards hanging from the board. All of them with these beautiful medals representing the incredibly disciplined, hard work one does for a marathon. The ones from yesterday, however, didn’t have bright shiny medals but instead they had name tags in plastic sleeves with our hand written name and designated pronoun on them. As I stood there I became aware of the fact that out of all the lanyards hanging there theses are the ones that mean the most. These simple lanyards without the pretty painted lettering and polished medal like the rest of them. These simple lanyards represented so much more. This marathon was much longer and much more grueling than any of the others. This marathon was not a mere 26.2 miles but instead, this one took years. There were many trips and falls before finally reaching this finish line, but arriving as we did yesterday was one of the biggest achievements of our parental lives. As I turn and walk from the room and through the door I hear the bang of the start gun in my head and I know that we are off again as another marathon begins. So, this is not the end but the beginning of yet many more to come. But just like any workout done over time, all the hard work that got you through the first one gets you in better shape and prepares you a little more for what’s to come in the next one and I feel like we are in the best shape we have ever been in. So as my husband an I start this new run with our incredible son, we feel like we will breathe a little easier, be a bit more prepared and maybe a little less tired and worn out by the time we get to the next finish line to receive our next lanyard.