Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the twenty-eighth installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
I have a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group is Serendipitydodah for Moms and presently has more than 1,200 moms in the group. 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 as we learn to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with our LGBTQ kids.
Sharing in each other’s journey, learning from each other’s experiences, seeing each other grow and evolve is a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.
The following is a glimpse into one of those journeys.
The following was written by Tamara Darbin. Tamara is a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms and recently shared this in our private Facebook group. She and her son, Sawyer, have given me permission to share it here with you.
The journey continues to evolve…
Several years ago, when my son came out as transgender, he chose the name Oliver. For me, a particularly painful piece at first was setting down his birth name. I remember agonizing over picking his name. He was our fourth “girl”. It couldn’t be just any name. It had to fit with the rest. I remember saying naming him was like writing the last line in a poem…
Ironically, after our first child was born and given a rather gender specific name (Savannah), the next three were purposefully given more gender neutral names. That way, we could name the baby before ever knowing their sex/gender. We had a “boy” or “girl” middle name picked out to go with the given first name. So…it went like this:
It kept us all on our toes…learning to use the correct pronouns and the new name. In time though, he truly became “Oliver”. My initial grief, over losing my ideas of “daughter” that were connected to him (and his birth name) in my mind and heart were replaced with the joy of learning more and more of who my child truly was, and had been all along.
A few weeks ago, he told me that he has decided to go back to his birth name.
What??? Wait! Wow! Cool! Seriously? But, what about Oliver??? Ha ha! Yes, folks! My brain (and heart) seriously just did this total double take. I had this mini freeze of fear and panic. Was I losing something yet again….something that I had fallen deeply and fully head over heels in love with? My son. Oliver.
Whoa! Emotions and words… male. female. someone’s name. When and how do we become so deeply attached to the “ideas” and “expectations” that are connected to things? How many other things (belief systems, judgments, societal “norms”) blind us every day to the reality of who the people around us really are?
I’m thankful for what I’ve been able to learn about life because of this journey I’ve been on. I am thankful that I’ve gotten to watch a very beautiful human being grapple with self discovery, draw boundaries and lay claim to a territory that demands the world get to know him on his terms. I am grateful to watch him pick back up some of his own pieces that he at first rejected due to his own pain of having been forced to be something he never felt he was. I feel setting down his name to some degree was also about his own pain of having been seen as someone he did not see himself as. To watch him pick it back up again is symbolic of the healing and growth I’ve seen take place in him. He is my son. He has gone from hyper diligent rejection of every. single. thing. feminine… to realizing that he can do and enjoy and be whatever he damn well pleases! Make up. A skirt. Who told men they can’t wear these things anyways?
So, I’d like to reintroduce my son to all of you as “Sawyer”. The child that was born to me, but was never “mine” to own. I am blessed beyond words to have been invited on this journey with him.
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is set up so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,200 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a few days. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers and public speakers.
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