The Day I Told Someone I Have Two Girls And A Boy, And My Son Was Devastated

There are endless opportunities for you to screw up as a parent. Every single day there is some situation, some reaction, some word that you said that you regret. Endless moments that at the end of the day as you reflect on all of your mistakes you realize you could have done differently, more loving, more understanding, more patient. If you weren’t so tired, weren’t so overloaded with sports to get to and birthday parties to remember to buy gifts for and doctors appointment and school registration and…… as your list continues the list of reasons that magnify your chances to screw up become endless as well.

We all, as parents, have those moments. But one of mine that will always make me cringe with absolute heartache happened shortly after my son came out to me as trans. We are only currently about 6 months into this process, so this was {maybe} 4 months into his path of transitioning.

I was on a work call, and wandering aimlessly around my yard while the kids were all playing with their random toys that didn’t belong outside, that would normally make me squawk at them to take back in the house, but…. I was on the phone… and so they know, this is their chance to get away with murder. I believe all kids of all ages, shapes, and sizes know this offspring life-hack.

Mom said no? Well then, just wait until she’s is on the phone, and then…. ask for whatever you want. The world is your oyster once she has someone important on the receiving end of her cell. She will say yes, and if you’re lucky, the call will take just enough of her focus and energy that by the time she hangs up, she will forget you even did this to begin with. Kid WIN.

My son was currently practicing this little snippet he learned from the  children’s secret society we have no intelligence of (or maybe it was Pinterest, who knows where they figure this shit out): he was asking me for something (I couldn’t remember what if I tried), and I was waving my hand in the “go ahead do whatever you need/want be quiet this is important” mom motion. Meanwhile, the person on the other end of the phone heard my kids in the background which prompted him to ask about them. And I quickly responded, I have two girls and a boy, and continued our business discussion without another thought.

My child was off playing again with his siblings until the next epiphany would come to them to request from me before my phone call ended and their time ran out. It wasn’t until I hung up the phone that my son came up to me and tugged on my shirt ever so gently with a single tear rolling down his cheek. I thought for sure he had fallen off his bike or tripped on the sidewalk and had a boo-boo for me to kiss somewhere on his little body. But instead, he simply said, between the most inaudible but tragic sobs, “mom, you told your friend that I was a girl.”

UGH. Those little words, that devastated face, the wretched shoulders. In that moment I felt so small. So lonely. So undeniably AWFUL. I couldn’t believe I did it and I also couldn’t wrap my head around how intensely upset he was. It wasn’t an obvious visual or audible upset. It was as if someone had just died and the initial shock hadn’t worn off but the emotion was so deep. So hurt.

I’ve since explained in great detail to my son that I am determinedly trying and making a very conscious effort to change my language in regards to HIM. But, there are times I can’t get my kids names right when I am looking right at their faces! I call them out as their sibling, the dog, the neighbor boy, whoever’s name pops in my head first in my fit of fury. But to my trans child, when I make a (avoidable) mistake like that it cuts him on such a deeper level, and so I really need to be more careful.

I haven’t made that mistake in public or with an “outsider” of our family since. And after that moment, I don’t think I ever will. As parents, we always want what’s ultimately best for our kids and we never (intentionally or not) want to be the one that causes their pain. Ever. The excruciating hurt of that one slip was way too much. For us both.

Until next time… be the mom you want to be. Even if she has faults. Even if she gets through her day and promises herself that tomorrow she WILL do better, and tomorrow comes and so do the new day’s errors. Nobody is perfect, but you are trying. Always give yourself credit for that.

 

MomTransparenting

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