Motherhood is a constant one step forward, two steps back. It’s figuring out who you are and navigating life with tiny people who are also doing lots of figuring and navigating. Ultimately, we’re just a bunch of people without a map, without a guide book, with only each other to lean on.
1 year and 11 months ago, I posted a blog titled, “A Boy Named Lucy.” I had no idea how sharing my words would change our lives, but I knew if I wasn’t honest about who Lucy is, who Lucy chooses to be, and who Lucy has a right to be, I wouldn’t be a good mom. Period.
In the beginning, it was easy. I think most people believed we were in denial. I think most people were afraid to talk about it because they didn’t understand or didn’t feel comfortable. I want you to know that I get it. I get that it’s scary to talk about. I get that it makes you feel uncomfortable. But I also don’t particularly care about your feelings.
When I wrote the ScaryMommy article, they told me not to read the comments. And for the most part, I complied. I asked my friends to send me some of the positive, encouraging comments. I thought after putting our story out there, I deserved a little bit of reassurance. To tell you the truth… there weren’t all that many. Aside from the few beautiful comments were three common criticisms.
She’s so young. She has no idea what being a boy or girl even means. Really? To be honest, I believe we over-exaggerate gender norms to our children. So much that at 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 years old, they’re typically very confident in their gender. This is clearly an example of an atypical child who is uncomfortable with her birth gender.
If this mother was truly supportive, she would refer to her child as ‘him/her’ and use the child’s preferred name. She’s never asked me to call her anything else. I am simply following her lead.
Let kids be kids. Girls can play with boy toys and boys can wear tutus. Yep, that’s actually not my point though. This isn’t a girl who’s a ‘tomboy’. This is a child that has both a neurodiverse and gender diverse brain. I’ve always let my children dress as they wanted and play with both gender neutral or gender specific toys, yet here I am…
The worst part is that nearly two years later nothing has much changed. People still feel this way, still have these criticisms.
I’m finding hope. Sometimes I have to look for it through pain and scars and through cracks and holes to genuinely find a minuscule ounce of peace. I’m finding it feels okay in the middle. I don’t know if Lucy will ever transition. I don’t know if Lucy will ever medically transition. I don’t know if Lucy will ask me if she can change her name. I’m finding good people, I’m finding my tribe. People who aren’t afraid to ask questions or ask how they can help.
I never wanted this pain for her- or us. I never wanted this.
Ultimately, I believe these wounds are wickedly more painful for me than her (at this point in her life). At these beginning stages of bullying, I have my sword and shield ready, but it feels frightening knowing that it’s only going to get worse. It’s only going to get more confusing. It’s only going to get more complicated, more unappreciated, more hateful. And that’s why I never wanted this.
I want her to be happy. I don’t care if she’s a boy or a girl or a chimpanzee. She’s a really cool kid. She wants to be a pet groomer when she grows up (or a fixer, but one that can ‘fix everything like lights and cars and wood and stuff’). She loves ice cream. She loves her sister, her dogs, and her parents (in that order). She’s hilarious, and kind, and wildly intelligent.
So, no. I didn’t want this. But if this is what it takes for my child to find happiness, then it’s a journey we will take together. She’s so deserving. If I have to hold myself together and cry later, I’ll do it. If I have to console her when kids are being mean, I’ll do it. If I have to meet with schools and clubs and the President, I’ll do it. If I gotta knock a bitch out, I’ll do it. (Omg, chill. Violence is not the answer).
I just really love my kid. And I’m reeeeallly trying to figure this out.