As Q gets older, life becomes more complex (of course). I’ve found that it’s become harder to advocate for him as his challenges have become harder to pin down, more subtle, and sometimes more ambiguous. For instance, Q has expressed a feeling of invisibility at school and the sense that folks just “don’t get” him. But it’s subtle. He’s not down and out there at every turn. And many have said he seems happier this year than last. But something isn’t right for him. He has a hard time articulating it (after all, he’s only just 10), and that leaves me having a hard time trying to rearticulate it. Or to make meaning of it. And then, harder still, to try to help others make meaning of all of this. It’s no longer just watching out for my little boy in a dress. With growth comes change, and complexity, and navigating the more complex layers of life with and for Q has been quite something (something of a challenge? something of a heartbreak at times?).
May 2.5 year old daughter loves pink. And wears it a lot. What does this mean?????
I think that what is needed here is a series of confession posts. So, here goes (be gentle, please).
Sometimes I prefer to just drop Q off for swim team practice instead of going in so that *I* don’t see the stares or looks he gets from some other kids, siblings, etc. He still is only conscious of that very occasionally. I, however, am hyper aware. And it makes me SO angry. And, at the same time, I feel SO helpless to do anything about it. I’ve considered asking five year olds if they have a particular question about my kiddo. Perhaps I should. I fear how it would go over…
So, I’m feeling cowardly.
Confession #1. Done. (Now, I will proceed to hide, having just shared this hard truth.)
I’ve been a stingy blogger lately. Very stingy. In fact, WordPress was kind enough to send me a little summary of stats about my blog at the turn of the year. Three. That’s exactly how many posts I wrote last year. Horrible, I say! I realized my stinginess, promised to write more (out loud, even, to a friend!), but then I didn’t.
I just am not sure what to say. I feel like we’re in a holding pattern and like I just don’t know what to feel or say lately. Q remains awesome. Dressing like a girl. Identifying as a boy. Continuing to confuse many people, but apparently not himself. At the same time, something isn’t right for him. He’s sad, often feeling a bit sick….just off. I’m worried. And most of all, sad that I don’t know how to help him see his way through whatever is happening at the moment. That he’s hurting in some way and I can’t just cuddle him and make it all better.
I know that’s part of growing up. For most kids. For many adults, even. But, as a mom, it’s just hard, and it makes my heart hurt.
So, I’ll try to be around a bit more. Though perhaps sharing…just confusion? We shall see.
To celebrate Blogging for LGBT Families this year, I’m blogging with/about gratitude.
This occasion crept up on me, as I’m not quite ready for June. And, it reminded me about how neglected this blog is. It’s been complicated, thinking about what to share here, what to write, what to keep private. As Q gets older, he continues to navigate the world in complicated ways. And, at the same time, he is so purely himself — a true stereotype breaker. The identity he grabbed onto with such zeal at 4, and the one that still sticks with him today, at 9.
For a kiddo like him, it can be hard to be in the world. Heck, it’s not always easy to be in the world as a queer family (connecting back here, to the purpose of this post). So finding places where it is easy to be? Well…it fills me with gratitude. We are so lucky to live in a community among many other queer families. To have allies around us.
As I thought about this post, though, I thought about how lucky Q is for the school he attends. I’ve been in a bit of a muddle about Q and school lately for a number of reasons. But at the end of the day, my kiddo is known there. He is loved for who he is. And he can shine.
Beyond that, our family is known, loved, and not alone. And that is rare. All too rare. For queer families, queer kids, gender non-conforming kids. Every year, Q takes the stage as co-MC at his school in order to lead the annual LGBT pride celebration assembly. I see his chest swell with pride. He plans his outfit with care (this year it included a rainbow ribbon braided into his hair), and he proclaims it, every year “one of the best days of my life.”
How can I not be grateful for that? As an educator, I think that schools need to take the best in every child and bring that out. Celebrate it. And for Q, that’s what happens at that assembly. He beams with pride. And in those moments, I can feel nothing but gratitude.