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This is the struggle and beauty of parenting tiny humans. This is the struggle and beauty of parenting tiny humans who are trans.
It is sadness, a sadness I can’t explain. A haunting kind of sadness that lingers on your soul and unveils itself at the most random times.
It is a sadness you are not allowed to have. It makes no sense. Because what you lost was never there to begin with.
I woke a memory tonight. With simple words.
She would shout it at me on nights I didn’t stay in her room while she fell asleep.
She was only 2.
But I was consumed with worry about a messy house, backed up dishes, or “work” that I convinced myself mattered.
And so she would cry, “Keep me!”
It took me a few days to realize what she was communicating.
“Keep me company!”
Because that is what we would ask her at night: “Do you want me to keep you company?”
“Okay baby. Lay down and go to sleep. I’ll be right here. I’ll keep you company.”
And ever so dutifully, with the security of knowing I was right there, she would snuggle back down and fall asleep.
This is when we didn’t know you were a girl.
As I awoke those words tonight, I thought of the little boy I thought I had. I don’t need a boy. But I built an idea, an image, in my heart.
It’s not fair to say I missed him. He was never really there.
But I miss a child I loved. A shadow.
At some point, do I need to let go?
Or can I keep you both?
Being a mother to someone who is trans means saying goodbye to someone who was never there.
As I think of that memory, I think of a little child reaching out to me and saying, “Keep me.”
I want to darling. I want to forever.
If you let me, there is a place I will always keep you.
One tucked safely in my heart, and one always by my side.