I love you. Always have, always will. So does your Addy.
It’s almost a year ago now that we sat down with you and told you that your Daddy has felt, since s/he was younger than you are now, that s/he is a girl. I will always remember that day. You cried, and the first thing you said was “I’ll never have a normal family again.”
Now, my personal opinion is that normalcy is overrated. But I didn’t think that was the best thing to point out to a ten-year-old. So I just sat there, rubbing your back as you cried.
Still, I think that in years to come, your tears that day will not be what I remember most. What I will remember will be how well you bounced back.
I thought it would be tough for you. And I was right. Your brother is in first grade – young enough so that for him, the news that Daddy wants to be a girl does not appear to be substantially stranger than the fact that grownups think soap is useful, or that his friend Noah’s dog gets to eat people food.
You, on the other hand, are in middle school, and that’s not a period of life a lot of people enjoy to begin with. I have grieved for the hard fact that you have had a big fat giant extra layer of complications added to your life, and had it added in these years. But I have also witnessed the truth of a much-used platitude: kids are resilient.
We told you a week before Father’s Day. Myself, I had heard a little before Christmas the year before that your father, whom I had never seen without a beard at the time, felt like a woman deep down inside. Your Addy and I had put up quite the front through the holidays, and beyond, trying to spare you eternal issues with Christmas, and to work out the future. But it had come to be time to tell. And I figured if you were going to have issues with a holiday, well, you were going to have issues with Father’s Day anyway.
One of the things we told you was that this news was not a secret, but not everyone would be ok with it. We thought you would need time to chew on it before you talked to your friends. But the very next day, you went and told your friend C. And then, you and C asked whether he could spend the night on Saturday – so that you could make a nice pancake breakfast for Daddy’s last Father’s Day.
J, I love you for one reason and one reason only: you are my son. If you were my son who could not get over the fact that his Daddy wants to be a girl, as we told you that day (or needs to live as a woman, as we say to adults when we tell them) I would love you still. It would not change the fact that I believe your Addy is doing the right thing; those two things would coexist in my life, two truths that would not meet.
But I am also proud of you. I am proud of you for so many reasons, too many to name by far. But when I think about why I am proud of you, one thing I think about is those Father’s Day pancakes.
What we have told you and your brother is that I am not gay, and so your Addy and I are no longer a couple. But the four of us are still a family and always will be. It is the end of March and I have started to wonder what our famliy will do for Father’s Day, and then Mother's Day, this year. Knowing you, together we will come up with something that is honest and generous all at once.