I always dreamed of having three kids and life did, in fact, bless me with three beautiful children. One boy, one girl, and one child who falls somewhere in between. At two years old, my middle child would refer to themselves as both a boy and a girl interchangeably. I didn’t think much of it. By five, they refused dresses in favor of “boy clothes” and begged me to get their ears pierced. No biggie. Then, at seven, they requested that we begin to use gender neutral pronouns and announced that they identified as “gender fluid”. Not seventeen – SEVEN. Which tells you a bit about how special my daugh/son (get it? Its a little pet name we came up with) is.
This child is passionate. Witty. A fast runner. Obsessed with cats. Unwaveringly rational. Huge Harry Potter nerd. Authentic. Loyal to the end. Loves a good riddle. An old soul with a 1,000 watt smile. And a sharp dresser.
This child has big plans for the future. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and they won’t skip a beat in answering: a lawyer. Mostly because they want to wear a suit every day and work with me at the big insurance company downtown, but also because “lawsuiting” people sounds like it could fun.
I suppose there were a lot of different responses I could have had to my gender non-conforming child, but only one ever made sense to me: come as you are, be who you are, because I want to know YOU. Here’s the thing…my reaction to my child would not have changed their gender; it simply would have changed how much of themselves they would be able to share with me. It breaks my heart to think about missing that extra twinkle in their eye, or dimming that brilliant smile even just a little bit.
Wherever this journey takes us, I’m in. That sentiment comes, in part, because I’m their mom and that’s my job, but also because I really like this kid. There is something incredibly special here and I don’t want to miss out.
The truth is, I’m not always perfect about using non-gendered language (it took me longer than I care to admit to restructure my sentences here to ensure nothing slipped), I still trip over myself a bit in social settings, and no, this is not the child that I dreamed of long ago. This child is way better.
So to my baby: follow your heart to the you-est you possible. Keep breaking apart those boxes and paving your own way. Be kind. Don’t forget to floss. And keep kicking ass.
Photo Credit: TDM Photography
2 thoughts on “Come As You Are”
Beautifully written, Elise!! My 11 yr old has been asking a lot of questions lately about being transgender. Maybe it’s just curiosity, a phase, who knows. But regardless it is my child, and I will love him/her regardless of their gender! Bravo momma!
Beautifully written, Elise!! My 11 yr old has been asking a lot of questions lately about being transgender. Maybe it’s just curiosity, a phase, who knows. But regardless it is my child, and I will look him/her regardless of their gender! Bravo momma!