What being the mom of a Trans Kid Taught me

Someone said to me once, “When your children are born, they are characters in your story. But eventually they start their own story line where they are the main character and you are in a supporting role.”

It may be hard for a parent to determine when their child’s story has begun, when we should let them learn from their own actions. Notice I did not say “learn from their own mistakes” because I have learned that sometimes mistakes are happy accidents in disguise.

There are many parents of transgender children who wonder, “Is this transition for attention? Is my child trying anything to get through their depression? Is this a response to abuse? Is this because their friends are doing it? Because it’s cool?”

Parents with these thoughts are not alone, and are not horrible people. These are some of the questions that keep us awake, shaking and crying at 3am. These parents are reflecting on a major change and transition, and want to be sure steps are being taken mindfully. Going over “what ifs” in your head is not wrong, but at some point we all need to stop ruminating and move forward – move toward growth.

What finally worked for me was: Release trying to figure out WHY, and focus on WHAT is happening.

You love your child, heart and soul – and seeing them happy while at the same time they know you have their back – will eventually transcend those questions. Keep loving their heart and soul. Who cares about their clothes or haircut? All of that is temporary.

Therapists look for consistency and insistency when helping trans kids. If your child hasn’t wavered the last few years in their transition, then getting them on a path that may fight dysphoria and mental health issues seems like the way to go in my opinion.

Hold their hand and get through it together. You’ll both grow so much from the experience!! And that is not temporary. That is forever.

People ask me if I miss my daughter. I’d rather have a happy son living his true life than a suicidal daughter living to satisfy others.

Isn’t it beautiful when people are allowed to be who they uniquely are, and we accept them without boundaries?

LOVE, real love, is willing to allow those who you care for to be their authentic selves without any insistence that they satisfy you.

A Bronx Tale at Straz Center

This week I got a special treat as part of a partnership between Tampa Bay Bloggers and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. I received two tickets to see “A Bronx Tale” in exchange for this post.

“A Bronx Tale” started their national tour in fall 2018 and is currently in Tampa, Florida. But get your tickets fast! The show is only in town through February 3!

(And I know February sounds like it’s a long way off, but it’s tomorrow…)

The show’s book is an autobiographical tale by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri (who has been in over 55 movies, so you know him from something), with music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken (As in Disney’s Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors, Enchanted, etc…) and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater, directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (you know who he is!) and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

I believe this was my first time going into a Straz show without knowing anything about the production, nor having seen the film. It was just date night with my husband and anything could happen. So imagine our surprise when this guy’s tale about being raised by a loving family in the home and the MOB outside the home told one of OUR stories in the middle of it!

The lead character, C, based on Chazz Palminteri, is told if he picks up a girl in a car and opens the door for her, she should unlock his door from the inside while he walks around to his side of the car – or she’s too selfish to bother with. Brian totally tested me that way on a date 22+ years ago! When we first started dating he was in college living in a dorm without a car, and I drove us around in my mom’s Toyota Camry, which had power locks. But when he was home on spring break or summer break, he’d have his dad’s car (Bessie) and she did not have power locks. So he used that test on me the first time he picked me up in the burgundy Pontiac.

“A Bronx Tale” is full of real life stuff like that – only the guy had mob ties, so for him that was also part of real life stuff. But so was learning about following his heart and passion from his dad, and standing up for what he believed in when he went against the status quo – natural parts of many lives.

The song was touching at many moments, racially charged, funny, relatable, shocking and sad at other moments. The singing ties everything together, although the dancing is athletic and wonderful when it pops up!

“A Bronx Tale” started as a one-man show, so this musical adaptation is guided heavily by C’s narration. This let’s audiences frequently know what was going on in his head. It is set in the 1960s, so the score is heavy on doo-wop style music. The show reminded me more of “Jersey Boys” than of my own time living in New York City because of the period it was set in. There are a couple of video clips on the backstory on the Straz’s website. You can also see more on the show’s YouTube channel, I like this one highlighting the kid who kicks off the production with chops. Frankie Leoni was great as young C, and another standout singer was Richard H. Blake as Lorenzo, C’s father.

I really did laugh and cry, I also was shocked into gasping a couple of times. It may not stick with me forever, but it was entertaining for a great date night! I found it very interesting that Oprah and Deepak Chopra taught me lessons about how to follow love vs. fear, but I could have learned that while watching “A Bronx Tale” in a plush velvet seat in Carol Morsani Hall for $65+ right here in Tampa!

Get tickets while the show is still around on the Straz’s website, here.

Like Gifts, We Wear Wrapping Paper

One night at dinner, my son asked me something along the lines of, “They say parents of trans kids mourn for the child they used to have. Do you think you are in mourning for me?”

Here’s how I responded:
“Let’s pretend you told me I couldn’t see my friend Erin ever again. I love Erin, she’s fun and one of my tribe and I would miss her and be hurt, angry and sad.

“When you came out as trans I was scared I would miss the person you used to be. I was so scared of what I MIGHT feel, when I should have taken the time to actually figure out what I was feeling. And sitting here, across the dinner table from you, feels a whole lot like sitting across the table from the kid I used to have.”

It’s still my child’s heart, it’s still his soul, and it’s the same twinkle in his eyes. The rest is just wrapping paper.

People. We’re all people. We wear our packaging, our window dressing, our wrapping paper. But (unless you’re Dr. Who) you still have that one soul and that one heart, just like the people you see every day. Like the person who cut you off in traffic, or the person who is yelling at Starbucks, or the person who was beat up just for loving someone too much like them.

One heart, one soul – just people. 
Please be kind to one another, people. That’s how we make the world a better place for everyone. Follow love. Choose love. Lead with love.

 

Photo by Dirk Shadd. 

Read More by Topic