I read a lot of tech-related blogs at work. I skim through Google and Apple news, the latest buzz about 3D glasses or AI hardware, developers’ thoughts on the Agile process, Amazon news about setting up giveaway hosting, and other exciting things.
As I skimmed through my feeds today, one jumped out at me and I actually clicked through to the blog itself: Transgender 9-year-old boy shows how to be yourself in beautiful video (Facebook video embedded below). The boy’s mom, Renée, posted a video to Facebook about her son, who was born a girl, and asked for support for her child. The way that she put her message together was well done: started with pictures of her little girl, talked about her interests, talked about how those eventually turned to confusion and then struggles, then talked about taking their little girl to an endocrinologist and child psychologists before the diagnosis: gender dysphoria. The video was so touching as this mom showed support for her child through his struggles, and simply stated that she has unconditional love for her little boy.
This led me to my greatest fear: how I will help my kids when they ask for help with whatever their struggles are?
You can’t get through this life without hardship.
And it’s heavy stuff.
So when Dominic comes to me one day (and I really hope that he feels safe enough to come to me), I hope that I will respond first with unconditional love, no matter what he comes to me to tell me.
I remember, as a little girl, being afraid to tell my mom about playing with fire. The little boy across the street, Jeremy, had just set a blaze to the overgrown alley behind his house. I had been in that alley just a day or two before, lighting fires inside of a concrete block, because that makes it safe. Jeremy’s fire had flames so tall that they jumped up and over the power lines, killing power to the houses on that side of the street. I still remember all of the fire trucks and seeing Jeremy sitting on the curb, his face blackened by soot, crying out of fear. He was just a little kid.
I had been doing just what he did the day before. I just didn’t end up with a fire that was out of control. Mine stayed small enough that I could put it out before I climbed back out of the bushes and trees, into Jeremy’s backyard, and ran home for dinner. I could have been that kid who started the fire. I felt like I needed to tell my mom that it had almost been me. That I needed to tell her that I felt so guilty.
I told her in the basement family room. I cried about it. She simply said that it was okay.
That was just a small thing: a little girl who was fascinated with fire. Bigger, metaphorical fires came later on and even though I tried, I couldn’t put them out without help. Sometimes, I went to my parents, but not always. I found additional help as well, in a church leader, a college professor, a roommate, a teammate, a neighbor, an aunt, a friend.
So I hope.
I hope that, when that day comes, I will answer Dominic that it’s okay. He will have his own struggles, different than mine, so I may not relate, but I hope that I can always remember to start with, “It’s okay”.
I hope that he will find good help when he can’t turn to me or Nathan.
I hope that he will have an Aunt Natalie, a Nena, a Louise, a Cirbie, a Meghan, a Byr, a Steig, a Mike. I hope that he will have people that are safe so he can talk to them, turn to them, find help from them, and they are the right kind of people to offer the right help, to teach him to become stronger and stand on his own so that he can turn and be that same help to another.
I hope that I have the opportunity to be that same help to another and repay the Natalies and Nenas in my life.