“T” Time

No, I am not talking about watercress finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and a steaming pot of Earl Gray. Nor am I thinking about a round of golf here in Michigan or anywhere else.

I am referring to testosterone; “T” as it is familiarly referred to by those transitioning from female to male. “T” is what will deepen the voice, encourage facial hair to grow and build muscle mass. It is the magic elixir that will help to transform a trans boy into a man.

hunter 3For two plus years our son has anticipated this moment. After coming out to me as transgender (female to male) more than a year and a half ago, one of the first things he said was, “I want to go on T.” At that moment, life came to a screeching halt. There was so much I didn’t know, didn’t understand, didn’t want to hear. Hunter had been doing research; he did all his homework and knew exactly what he wanted.

Yesterday was a big day. Yesterday, Hunter, my husband and I drove together to DMC Children’s Specialty Clinic and rode the elevator in anticipation to the Pediatric Endocrinology department housed on the third floor. Long-term, injections will be given by us, at home, on a weekly basis. The first time, however, is a required teaching session with our endocrine nurse.

Over the last few months, I’ve had numerous conversations with two of the nurses. They have been immensely helpful, kind and understanding through some very frustrating situations. I felt like they were trusted friends. While waiting for our “lesson,” the exam room door opened and in walked both nurses. They, too, felt a connection to us and to our journey.

“We just couldn’t wait to meet you,” they exclaimed, practically in unison, as if they’d rehearsed.

We’ve had so many hurdles to get past in order to get to this day, it really was especially meaningful that the nurses were there to cheer us on. And then it was down to business. I think we were attentive students; I know that I, for one, didn’t want to miss a single moment of the instruction — this was not a time to lose focus.

By the time we left, we had truly bonded with our nurse. We knew that she was a wife, a mother, a daughter and a breast cancer survivor. We knew that she cared deeply about her job and the children that she’s able to help every day. We knew that we had made a new friend.

So, here we are. Our journey — Hunter’s journey, has taken a new path. I have been very comfortable with where we were; perhaps, a bit too comfortable. Honestly, I am not sure that I am prepared for the road ahead of us. When will his voice start to change? What will it sound like? When will I feel stubble rather than a soft, smooth baby face? What will it be like for Hunter to go through puberty (again)?

We are hoping to document our weekly “T” times so we can track Hunter’s transition during this part of the journey. I am optimistic that at some point, down the road, I will once again feel comfortable with where we are.





Today’s Parent

climbWhat is it like to parent a transgender teen? Well, I can’t really answer that question. I can tell you, however, what it is like to parent my transgender teen. It is an emotional roller coaster. For real.

By now, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love my son unconditionally. I am his advocate. I am his biggest cheerleader. I am a walking billboard for acceptance. That said, this is no piece of cake.

Transgender individuals come with a built-in set of insecurities. They feel different and wrongly put together. They walk around believing that the outside world can see the anxieties and mismatched parts that make-up this living, breathing human.

For every “win” we experience numerous hurdles. For every successful step forward, there are many steps backward. For every joyful milestone, there are tears of frustration and sadness.

Most of us wondered, as we were growing up, if we would find that special someone. The teen years were fraught with bad dates, rejection, wistful longings, that first kiss, a homecoming corsage and so much more. There’s a “lid for every pot,” my grandma would say. Try convincing a trans teen of that concept — a trans teen who feels that no one would want to date “someone like me.” This is sobering.

When Hunter first “came out” to me, one of my immediate concerns was, “how hard would it be for a transgender adult to find love.” Ironic, for sure. Now, we are collecting friends who just happen to be transgender and have managed to successfully find love and create a family. These are the role models our son needs to see. There is someone for everyone.

Being the parent of a trans teen boy is exhausting. It is like regular parenting on steroids. I always joke that Hunter was never an easy child…he was a fussy baby requiring special formula, then came night terrors (if you’ve ever experienced someone going through that you know how frightening and exhausting that is), climbing out of the crib too early, eating anything and everything including rocks, dirt, cigarette butts, chalk, markers and crayons, refusal to take a real nap, disorganized chaos at school where each day meant searching for another lost piece of paper, lunchbox or article of clothing, difficulty learning to read, never learning to write in cursive, printing that’s near impossible to read, an ADHD diagnosis, social anxiety up the wazoo — well, you get the picture.

Being Hunter’s mom has never been easy…but parenting is one tough job. Hunter is bright, kind, artistic, quick-witted and musical. He is loving, caring and an amazing friend. Hunter’s philosophy is don’t be a hater. He embraces diversity and is an outspoken ambassador for the transgender youth community. Hunter is compassionate and vulnerable. He fills my heart in a way that no other human being can. He is different and difficult and moody and complicated.

He is my son and I am today’s parent.