mama bear

How Love is Love became my Battlecry

Love is Love became my battlecry

I was young when I got married. Many people shared their opinion that I was making a mistake. More significant than the fact that I was still a college student, I was marrying outside my faith.

I was raised the daughter of an Orthodox, Jewish Rabbi and I married a man raised Catholic I had no business even knowing.

I stood up for the love I felt was magical and everything to me, and I was called stubborn and selfish. Most of my family boycotted my wedding. My parents and grandparents who could have made an appearance in a 20-minute drive were not there. (Oh, I knew in advance they wouldn’t be. It was made very clear to me.) 

Now, after nearly 25 years with my husband as my best friend we face the same prejudice with my daughter‘s engagement. The tone may be softer and the language has changed but the message is the same.

“We won’t be there to celebrate your love. We don’t think your love is right.”

As a Mama Bear I have come forward in the LGBTQA+ community to say I will stand up at a wedding for someone whose parents are doing the same thing. If your mom won’t be there to celebrate you and validate you, I can be. If someone makes you feel your love is wrong, let me tell you why it’s right. If you are made to feel less than by your family because you live in the LGBTQ space, I and 11,000 other moms will tell you that you are wonderful just the way you are.

Love is love.

Love doesn’t know your body parts or hairstyle or pronouns or skin color. Love doesn’t care if those around you welcome it or shun it. Love prevails and love permeates and educates and invites others in.

I’m letting you know that my love was judged, I know how that feels, and I have learned a lot from it. Hopefully many of you can learn some of that lesson without ever experiencing it. (And if you think it is your job to judge someone else’s love, please stop and consider why it’s your business in the first place. How does it have any effect on your life?)

People have all different words to describe connection and inclusion – and I choose Love.

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.

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. 

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