The Person Inside ... The Gulf Between Us

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Mother and Child Reunion

On Mother's Day, A brief reflection on mothers and motherhood.

Pamela Valentine publishes a wonderful blog, Affirmed Mom, in which she tries to share the perspectives and experiences of transgender families.  I especially love one of her most recent posts: To Mourn A Child.  What a beautiful story. What a wonderful mother.

I just returned from a weekend with my own 83-year-old mother and father. My mother fully embraces my transition (as does my father). And yet she mispronouns me at least half of the time. I find it wonderful every time she does...

It is wonderful because of the love that shines through all of our interactions. Mom is more distressed than I am whenever she gets my name or pronoun wrong. When we talk on the phone, she makes it a point to sit in front of a recent picture of me. “So I remember who I am talking to.”

I know that her mistakes are the product of decades of conditioning and of her loving memories of our past. I know that, for me, my children will always be stuck in my head as the devilishly cute three-year-olds they once were.

I would offer this to all of you mothers who mourn the “loss” of a transgender child. Embrace your mourning. But remember that, in a world where so many relationships are based on wrote formulas, there is something uniquely wonderful when two people are forced to reach into unfamiliar territory. Because of our efforts to connect across the divide in my life, my mother and I have shared an intimacy that was heretofore unimaginable to either one of us.  Yes, she has had to let go of some ritual labels and anticipated moments. But she has come to know me in a way that few parents ever get to know their children.

My mom would be the first to say that I am a far more happy, complete, and giving person today. And, today, I love her with the love of two lives. I hope that I am as lucky with my children.

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1 thought on “Mother and Child Reunion”

  1. That is such a beautiful statement and affirmation. I can’t believe you wrote it days ago, and I didn’t know enough to go to your blogs. She is absolutely right that we have grown closer and that she is “a more happy, complete and giving person today.” I rejoice with her and her beloved Mary. Louise

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Tina White

Tina White

Tina White is the Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Pride Center, in Asheville, North Carolina, and a member of the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign.

Tina spent 35 years consulting to and working for global corporations. Her specialty was large-scale business transformation: redesigning companies to pursue new strategies and improve performance. She has since shifted her focus to activism, writing and speaking. She speaks and writes on issues of diversity & inclusion, organization transformation, social justice, and personal identity.

Tina is the author of Between Shadow and Sun. She describes her 50-year struggle with gender and her wife's efforts to embrace her revealed identity. She holds an MBA in Strategy, Marketing & Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an AB in Economics from Princeton University. She and Mary live in Asheville, North Carolina.

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