If you haven’t figured out, my title drips with sarcasm, but it points to something that Fab’s Mom got to experience yesterday for the first time.
So, Mom went to pick Fab and her brother up from school, and she arrived at the same time that a neighbor of ours did. The man in question is not a friend, or someone that we even really know, but we have seen him at the bus stop from time to time, and he has always been pleasant in the past. I should clarify that we’re pretty sure he doesn’t know about Fab’s transition, or at least he didn’t until yesterday.
Fab came down the hallway rocking her jean shirt dress, leggings, and cowboy boots, and the man who had been smiling at Mom, looked at Fab, and then looked back at Mom. When he looked back he was no longer smiling. She had been waiting for a moment like this to happen, the moment someone would stare or act with hostility. She had been ready to lay into the first person who acted this way, but after it happened she told me it didn’t anger her as much as she thought would. Instead, it made her sad, and shocked her a little that a grown man would let what a child was wearing bother him so much. Put another way, it left Mom with a “what the fuck” feeling. The man’s angry stare came with the unsaid accusation that “she” had turned Fab into a girl. Mom said, if the guy had been Superman then her face would have had two holes from his heat vision. After all, as many of us know, what other reason would Fab possibly have for being a girl?
Ladies of transgender children, I feel for you on this count. After all it is always at your feet the blame is laid. Often, this is done by people who haven’t been there to see the gradual changes in our children. For Fab this has been a four year journey. We moved very slowly, and only at her insistence. People have no idea regarding our reality, and the only thing I can say is the dude is lucky I wasn’t there.
See, I was the first parent to accept that this was the direction Fab was probably heading. Mom had a real hard time with it. She was thrilled we had two boys and no girls. She didn’t want girls. Girls were hard, boys were easy, and she loved being the only lady among men. Add to it that she was losing her baby boy, and she was in serious mourning for much of the last few months. She didn’t want to talk about it, or learn about transgender issues. She didn’t want to lose her son.
Now don’t get me wrong, Mom was always affirming and supportive. She didn’t share her fears or sadness with Fab, those were conversations between husband and wife. Fab never knew, and only after last week on vacation, did Mom finally say this week, that she only saw a daughter now. The guy who glared at her didn’t know that. He didn’t see my wife breakdown in tears during an argument we had about Fab. The guy who glared didn’t see Fab breakdown, or the conflict within that she found a way to describe as her “boy and girl hearts.” He simply saw a mom, with what he had known before as two boys, and we know where the assumption went.
For me, he’d say I was gutless, whipped, or that Mom must keep my balls in a jar, because after all, what real man would let his boy be a girl? I would say a “real” man, a “real” father would celebrate his child finding herself. Whether Fab is a boy or girl has no bearing on if I am a good father or a bad one. How I treat her, accept her for who she is, teach her compassion, and how to be independent and confident makes me a good parent.
Am I a good father? My kids tell me so. This morning I got a “Daddy, you’re awesome.” from Fab, who is very stingy with compliments. It was spur of the moment, and unexpected, which made it matter all the more, and reaffirmed we are doing the right thing as parents.
Mom and I know people will stare, and some will make comments. To be honest, we have no fucks to give. Our kids give us strength to deal with the assholes that are out there. We will do what we need to in order to protect both our children, and to prepare them for the ugliness of the world. Mom is happy to shoulder the blame for Fab’s “becoming” a girl if that means the anger is directed at her rather than Fab. In a perfect world, the anger wouldn’t exist, because instead of seeing a boy who was turned into a girl, the man would have simply seen a happy child skipping down the hallway. After all, it is what we see most days, a happy, sassy, little girl.