Just checking in to let you know I’m OK (though still hacking my way through a fairly dense forest), and to wish you a Happy Pride Month!
I also wanted to share this drawing that my daughter M. made – see below. (She gave me permission to share it with you, by the way. I think she’s pretty proud of it.)
Here’s the story behind it: Last week, M. told me that she wanted to tell a girl from school that she’s transgender. Per our usual routine, I reached out to the girl’s mom (whom I had never laid eyes on – also per the usual terrifying routine) and told her what my daughter wanted to tell her daughter. It went great. The mom was supportive and kind. I told M. that her friend’s mom was cool, and she could go for it.
Then my daughter said, “I’m going to tell her tonight via FaceTime, but first I’m going to draw a cartoon to explain it.” She did. And here’s the adorable resulting illustration. (I wasn’t allowed to listen to the conversation, unfortunately; she’s a tween, so when she made the call, she shut her bedroom door and told me, politely, to bug off.)
Please feel free to make use of M.’s explanatory cartoon to convince any doubters in your own lives that indeed, “transgender is totally normal!”
I wanted to check in with an update, as it’s been a fairly long stretch since you’ve heard anything from me. First and foremost: My kiddo is doing GREAT. So far, she’s told a handful of friends at her new school that she’s trans, and thus far they (and their parents, whom I spoke with) have been kind, supportive, and respectful of our request that they keep this information to themselves.
She was elected class representative by her fellow fifth-graders, is enjoying her piano lessons (she’s getting pretty good!), and, to her mother’s delight, seems to be growing up pretty slow. While traces of tweenhood are appearing (more eye rolls, more mood swings, and my jokes are progressively less funny), her favorite activities still revolve around the world of imagination. At this moment she is in the backyard with two of her best friends, befriending elves and fighting dragons.
Her mom is OK, too, but is struggling, coping with a family crisis that has brought me to my knees. I’m battling my own dragons: Life’s inevitable losses, the grief that follows, the fire-breathing fear that keeps us up at night, the facing of painful truths that cut you down before they set you free. I am deep in the woods of life. It is not an easy place to be, but it is the only place worth being. And I believe it’s the only place we grow.
For now, battling dragons needs to take precedence over producing podcasts. I don’t know when I’ll arrive at the next clearing and have the energy to tell more of our tales. It could be tomorrow, it could be in a month. I just don’t know.
I want to thank you for hanging in there with me, for your generous support, and for your beautiful emails sharing your stories with me. It is an honor to read them. If you don’t get a reply, please know that I’m sending my love and that I’m with you on this bumpy, beautiful quest, always.
Stay strong. Be kind to yourself. I’ll be back again when I can.
It seemed like a good time to sit down and ask my 11-year-old about her world, and get a snapshot of what she thinks and how she’s doing. We covered some pretty typical tween girl stuff: Gossip, fashion, cliques. And we also covered some not-so-typical stuff, including what puberty looks like from the perspective of a transgender girl. I love this interview. I hope you do, too. (And can you believe how grown up she’s getting?!?)
This latest episode gives you an update on our new life here in the suburbs and some of the challenges we’re encountering. I get some helpful advice from a new friend from the Bible Belt. You’ll also hear how my daughter is faring in her new school, plus: Wedding audio!