Most parents I know have a mission about making sure that their kids understand that they are loved unconditionally. It’s parenting 101. I have felt that desire with my kids too. I think that mostly kids pick up on it, they feel it from the look in your eye when they walk in the room. But most of us endeavor to tell them, sing it to them, whisper it in their ears while they sleep. You are loved. You are precious. You are perfect.
When E began to expose her gender variance to me, this instinct went into overdrive. I was desperate for her to understand that I loved her, no matter what.
Wait a minute.
I realized I had to be careful with my words. “No matter what” seemed in indicate that there might be something in our recent discussions that would cause her to be unlovable to someone else, not me, but someone else. “No matter what” seemed to be some kind of qualifier, a hitch. That wasn’t the message I wanted to send.
It got me thinking about things I had read, discussions I had had. Parents of kids like E wondering, what is wrong with my child? Is it something I did? Is it my fault?
Fault, another tricky word. Fault means that something has gone wrong and there is blame to be placed. Parents of gender non-conforming kids are faced with this annoying word “fault.” We are made to feel all kinds of contradictory things – by ourselves and by others looking for some kind of explanation. Did you wish for a boy when you were pregnant? Or did you put too much stock in wanting a girl? When you allowed her to play with Matchbox cars instead of Barbies, were you sending a wrong message? When you bought that first babydoll and placed it in her questioning arms, were you messing her up? Maybe you dressed her too girly, or – from another – not girly enough.
I mostly think people want to have a reason. And the flipside is that there is a reason that their child is a-okay; they’ve done something right. Insert pat on the back.
I guess I can see why some people think that something has gone wrong with a gender non-conforming or trans kid – the body doesn’t match the mind, the sense of self. But really, my child is as healthy and happy as the next, maybe more. It is nobody’s fault because there is nothing wrong with her.
Maybe what’s wrong is that we have such limited views of gender.
I am very careful now. I tell her I love her all the time, no strings attached, no qualifiers. No sweet girl. No princess. No my daughter. No no matter what. Just E, my child.
You are loved. You are precious. You are perfect.