Yesterday, I tweeted the following:
I don’t feel like I have a day as a parent. I’m not truly a mother, & I’m truly not a father either – I’m just a parent.
It was in response to an Allyson Robinson’s tweet that was only tangential to considering transgender parenting. Frankly, my oldest son calls me “Autumn,” and my twins and I aren’t on speaking terms. But even if my twins and I were on speaking terms, I’m about 100% sure that they don’t see me as a Mom to them at all.
Mom’s Day hasn’t seemed like my day, but Dad’s Day hasn’t felt like my day either. And, as far as I know anyway, there is no gender neutral parents’ day.
Anywho, yesterday began as another kind “Hallmark Card” kind of day where people celebrate motherhood or fatherhood in a way that I haven’t felt a connection to as a parent.
But, I forgot about April.
April is a wonderful, young, now 21 year old trans woman I took under my wing a few years back. Sometimes April and I act like friends, sometimes I act as her mentor — and sometimes I’ve acted as her “trans mom,” and she as my “trans daughter.”
Yep, I forgot about April, but she didn’t forget about me. She called me up on Sunday, and wished me “Happy Mother’s Day.” I told her I didn’t feel like a mom, and then gave her the story about how I didn’t feel like a mother or a father to my three kids, and what feelings I did have for my three kids were of that of a kind of gender-neutral “parent.”
Then she reminded me that she was my trans daughter, and asked if I forgot about her.
Y’know, I love April dearly as family, but I was thinking too “in the box” about parents and children yesterday to remember her in that way. I had to tell her I did forget, and boy-oh-boy, did I ever feel stupid for a moment.
Many of us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community create our own families in our own, non-traditional ways. Sometimes these are formal families, and sometimes these families are very informal. Sometimes we lose all or some of our traditional families when we come out, and sometimes our new formal or informal families become family we cherish deeply because of the losses in traditional family we experience.
Well, April is my family, and I forgot about our informal family relationship on Mother’s Day until she reminded me of our family relationship. After reminding me, she again wished me a Happy Mother’s Day.
My eyes welled with tears, as they’re welling now as I think about that call.
I’ll never think “in the box” about my family again. Thank you, April, for reminding me that often times in the LGBT community, family love isn’t just about who our partners are, or the children that are warmly embraced by partnered LGBT couples. Sometimes, it’s love between disparate community members that creates family in our very broad, yet very granular LGBT community.
So, with a smile I add here too that I forgot that I’m also the “Mom” to my kats Bon-Bon and Maggie. Reeeeeally thinking out of the box now, LOL!