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.