Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the nineteenth installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
I have a private Facebook group for moms of lgbt kids. We have more than 1,000 moms in the group and it keeps growing. It’s a wonderful community of moms who are trying to be the best moms they can be and who love their kids fiercely. The group is a place where we share a lot of support, encouragement and wisdom. The following story is a real life moment that one of our members shared. I’m sharing the story with her permission. The names have been changed for the sake of privacy. (for more info on the private Facebook group for moms of lgbt kids email firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Mom’s Facebook Group” as the subject)
A kid gave my kid two cookies in a plastic wrapper yesterday.
We were following the plan: new haircut, teachers and administrators on board. At the last minute he hung on the door of the minivan and didn’t want to get out, so we said the verse together he had picked out for his transition (Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid, because God will be with you wherever you go”) and he got his courage up. We happened to walk into school with a BFF and dad, then climbed the steps together to the 5th grade hall, where the guidance counselor was hanging out in the classroom as planned, and the teacher gave me the signal.
I hugged my kid. “Pray for me,” he asked, as he always does. “As always,” I said, and left.
I blindly ran a few PTA errands and left the building shaking, but couldn’t leave the parking lot. I almost needed to keep vigil, and it wasn’t like I was in any shape to drive anyway. I knew the plan: the teacher would simply tell the class that Amanda* and Amanda’s family had decided that he would go by Aidan now, because that’s just what seemed to fit him better. The guidance counselor would be there if any questions came up, and they would just see what happened.
When the guidance counselor called me afterwards, still in the parking lot, she said that things had seemed to go smoothly so far. Then she said that one unplanned thing had happened after I left and before the teacher made the announcement, while kids were still unpacking.
A kid from another class, whose mom had already told him what was going on with Aidan, asked his teacher if he could leave to give something to Aidan. After checking the package, the teacher gave permission and he went to my kid’s classroom. There the guidance counselor met him in the hallway, listened to his request, checked his package again, and called Aidan out in the hall. The kid handed Aidan the package and said, “I knew today might be tough for you, so I wanted you to have these.”
A child gave my child two cookies, and I sat in the school parking lot and bawled like a baby.
I don’t want this to sound like the Facebook highlights reel of my child’s transitioning. In the past 48 hours three well-meaning families have already told my husband and myself that they love us, but we’re wrong, citing pseudoscience printed out from the internet. And things are really, really hard with my extended family. So it’s not all sweet.
But still, a child gave my child two cookies, and I thank God for that.
*names have been changed.