I have shared my parenting journey – as a single mother raising a boy for several years, and my heart is overflowing with appreciation, love, respect, and more for everyone who is completely committed to the responsibility of parenting. As always, I post because I know that I am not alone, and I want to make sure that other single mothers know that too.
I’ve been trying to find the proper words to explain my thoughts, emotions, and feelings about recent life events, but it’s like an itch – it’s hard to get deep enough to really reach – yet alone, explain. I must also clarify that I am living outside of myself (experiencing a kind of rebirth, learning who I am, re-evaluating my purposes, etc.). Re-evaluating has been necessary because I have learned that ‘learning is forever’, and it has been extremely helpful to look at things from a different level. So, though I do not feel that I can truly untangle the past three months of my life so that it can be known as I know it, I am posting now, regardless, because in contrast to my earlier postings, so much is going on that I am having a difficult time keeping up with my thoughts as they occur.
The time finally arrived – that point in time when I would escort my one and only love off to college. I surprised myself by feeling completely prepared to be an empty-nester. With the help of family, friends, and friends of friends, I was given support by way of monetary gifts, ‘been-there-done-that’ tips, and a lot of helpful guidance. Also, a loving friend touched our hearts with a gift to my child that stretched above and beyond generosity. So, needless to say, I felt like I was ready for the world and whatever it had to offer, but as I have come to find out, the earth is constantly revolving, we are continuously evolving, and time thrusts forward (never backward). Whereas I have always communicated with my child, and I have always left the door open for communication in return, I was surprised to learn that though there were moments (even photographic evidence) of laughter, fun, good times, and joyous occasions, there were also moments of uncertainty, seclusion, internal angst, and anonymity. As I reflect back, what I may have taken as puberty overload may have been also due to my child’s need to understand why the label they were given was incompatible with who they truly were. So, as I was preparing for our new journeys (Moms are always preparing), my child had already set into motion the beginnings of a new journey as a transgender female.
I will not lie – I didn’t see it coming. Yes, I had a pity-party because I felt that I was losing on two levels – my son (as I had known) and my child (to a land far, far away). Surely, I took moments to understand why I had not known something so absolute about the child I spent eighteen years loving, nurturing, teaching, and protecting. I spent days searching the internet – in an attempt to find out how I could be so unaware – they say there are indications that will enlighten you, but as I reflect, they mentioned only one (best ‘girl’ friends at every grade level), and I don’t think that is actually a ‘thing’. So, truth be told, I don’t know how I missed the insight, but more important, it didn’t matter. The immediate essence became clear, quickly – in a matter of days, my child would be moving thousands of miles away as a transgender female and I needed to help her prepare for the move. Putting all questions aside, and with the help of my sister – who flew out to help with dorm preparations, etc. – move in day was a success.
As I boarded the plane for my return flight home, I was surprised that I felt comfortable and content. I felt that there was a loss, but I did not cry (not yet). I did not feel as sad about the far away move (not like I thought I would). I will say that the spirit of the college campus soothed me – it gave me a sense of peace, and I had a deep feeling that it was a good place for my child. I have said in previous posts that I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason – I say that to say, the right school chose my child. Now that I have been enlightened, I do not think there could have been a better choice for her new life.
Here is where the water-works came into play. About three weeks into my empty-nester status (three anxious weeks), it was evident that communication had fallen off the bandwagon. Everyone kept assuring me that it was normal for children to move off to college and forget home for a bit. I tried texting (not my thing), and I even texted that we should have a verbal conversation – at least once a week (that’s not a lot). I’m sure that the recent new revelations – topped off with a lack of true communication – was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I cried (a lot). When asked how my kid was enjoying college, I cried. Knowing what I knew and knowing nothing about how things were going – I was losing my mind. I can truly say, that space of time was one of the hardest things that I have had to go through. Was this a case of ‘needing to feel in charge’ or ‘helicopter Mom’ withdrawals? I don’t know, but I do know that I felt, used, abused, and ignored! So, I sent a few ‘come-to-Jesus’ text messages, and when we finally did have our telephone conversation, I explained that the once-a-week phone call was not an option – it needed to happen.
Communication is better now (it’s not exactly once a week, but about every 10 days), and I am less anxious and more at ease. Last week, she said, “I’m living my best life.” THAT WAS EVERYTHING TO ME! A weight was lifted from my heart, and I had my first, true, good night’s sleep.
The lesson within this lesson has been profound. There are those important people in your life that will accept any/every version of who you are (no matter what) – I am so grateful to have those people in our lives. There are some who are struggling with putting all the pieces in place and understanding the simplicity of ‘it is what it is’ – we can grow and learn together. And yes, there will be those who will not be able to process the transition – futures will fade, but great memories will last forever.
A small moment of clarity opened the window for me to write this post. However, in light of everything that has transpired over the past three months, I am questioning whether, or not, to change the name of this memoir (to what, I’m not sure yet). They are the memoirs of a single mother who thought she was raising a boy – who has transcended into a young woman. For me, though the exterior will change, my child is as brilliant and talented as always – I could not love her more.
Please note my earlier words where I explained that this is like an itch – my attempt was to transpose my feelings into words, but the task is not easy when you are growing and learning and feeling at such a rapid pace. I’ve learned that parenting is loving and learning, and as the child evolves, so must the parent. Being a mother has been my biggest blessing, my best challenge, my greatest lesson, and my heart’s purest love. For that I am forever thankful.
Peace & Blessings