What set the wheels in motion…
Our daughter was always a bit different. We loved her uniqueness. We fostered her individuality. We tried our best to instill confidence, to stand up to those who said mean things to her. We taught her to be brave. We even had a beautiful hand painted sign made for her a few years ago that said “Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?!” Everyone always told us “she’s just a tomboy” or “she will grow out of it”. We just let her be her, whatever made her happy.
Last Summer when fourth grade ended, she told us she wanted to cut her LONG hair off. My response (mom) was “its just hair, cut it off if you want to. It will grow back if you don’t like it.” The smile on her face was priceless, so we googled short hair styles and made the appointment. When she looked in the mirror at her new short do’, it was like a load of bricks came off her chest. She looked content, proud and confident. Over time, the hair cut got shorter and shorter, to where we are now. But, it was this moment that set the wheels in motion in her brain, in our opinion.
Shortly there after, June of 2015, just barely 10 years old, we could see that something weighed heavily on her mind. My hubby and I assumed she was struggling with her sexuality and was going to essentially “come out of the closet” so to speak. One night she asked to speak to me privately. I just knew in that moment that she was ready to tell me. I sat on her bed and watched her struggle to find the words she needed to say. I told her she had to be able to say what was on her mind and that maybe she wasn’t ready to tell me yet and that when she is, to let me know and I left her room. My brain felt like she needed to be able to be brave enough to say to me what she was struggling with. I didn’t want to speak for her. Shortly after, she called me back in and handed me a piece of paper and said “I think…” and the paper said “I’m gay.” The first words out of my mouth were “I already knew that” and embraced her with my arms. I told her I love her always and forever and have always told my children they are free to love whomever their heart leads them to, so long as they are a good person. She asked me why I made her tell me if I already knew and I said because she needed to be brave and say it herself. It was her story to tell, not mine. We embraced and cried and I told her all will be alright in the world because no matter who you love, you are too young to like anyone right now, anyways 😉. Then, she asked to speak to daddy and he was just as loving and accepting as I was. There was peace in the home and I was happy to see her feel free and lifted of the burden she felt she was carrying.
This was the Summer that “I am Cait” aired. Our daughter watched the Barbara Walters 20/20 special on Bruce Jenner with me. She intently watched the entire show and I could see her brain spinning a bit. I answered a few of her questions and that was that. I felt that some of the context in “I am Cait” may not appropriate for a 10 year old, so my hubby and I watched the season together once the kids were in bed. I found myself crying every episode and even told my hubby what if she is this…this life seems so much harder and scarier and I am not sure I would be able to parent through this. My heart hurt for these women and all they struggle with on the daily. I thought that is just such a difficult path and I hoped that our daughter was just a lesbian.
Over the next 8 months, things started shifting with our daughter. The hair got shorter, the choice of clothes got more masculine and we could just see a change. In February, she was struggling again with something. I just knew in my heart what it was, but wanted to stay in denial. One night, she did the same thing, asked me into her room to talk. I sat on the edge of the bed again, but this time, with fear in my heart and head. I knew what was coming, but didn’t want to hear it. She struggled and couldn’t get the words out just like last time. So, I said the same thing as last time and left the room. She called me back in and this time handed me some papers that said “…I’m not who I should be. I feel like I should be a BOY. Like I am transgender.” My head got dizzy and I blurted out “Do you even know what transgender means?” Which she replied through tears, “yes mom, I do.” I said some stupid things like “Are you sure?” “Do you understand what all this means?” “This is a difficult path to go down.” (All things I am not proud to admit out loud, but we want to be honest with our journey.) Then, I looked down at my brave child who had tears streaming down her face and I just hugged her and told her I love her still and so much and always and then I asked for time. I needed time. I asked for her to let me process, research and understand what this all means and how to best help her. She agreed and then asked to speak to my hubby.
He was prepared because he knew too. We had some light discussions about transgender over the last several months and he saw my face – red, puffy and filled with tears when I came out to get him. He went in alone. It was his time with our child. While I don’t know exactly what was said between the two, I knew he loved her, always and forever too. I asked him today, what stood out during their conversation that he would want me to share in our blog. He told me she said “I was afraid you wouldn’t be accepting.” Those words still ring through his ears, 3 months later… with which he replied, “I will love you no matter what.”
❤︎ Just Parents