This part is going to be short and sweet, the rest, not so much. Sofia is using they/them pronouns now. They would prefer to be called Fox. Their story is theirs, and they will tell it when they are ready, if they ever are. I am here to tell my story. Good stories are always a journey. Parenting Fox is no different than any other journey I have been on as a parent. It has been filled with joy, and pain, and a lot of learning. One thing I have learned very clearly, sometimes through hard lessons, is how to build my kids an island (all the credit to Glennon Doyle for the words here).
When hate and fear approaches the island, we pull up the drawbridge. If you are here to support and love Fox for all of who they are, welcome. If not, there are thirteen people over here waiting to help me crank up our drawbridge, because fear and hate have no place on our island.
There was no coming out for Fox, at least not to me. There was a simple declaration of change, and as they informed others outside of our house of this change, those people would approach me with questions. Our island is full of people who love Fox. The field of work I have chosen has given me the tools to answer any questions people have in ways that affirm Fox. That doesn’t mean that there is no grief for me here. A thing can be hard and still be exactly right. This is right for Fox. It is hard for me as a parent.
It is not hard because I am struggling to grapple with who Fox is. That part is easy. Fox is my child, and loving Fox is easy. Well, not easy maybe, they are a sullen teenager, but loving your child is easy. Loving them with the weight of the world’s judgment being heaped upon you is less easy.
Cruel criticism from the crowd poses less of a problem for me than the quiet concern of the people who are supposed to love us. My family is supposed to love me, they were supposed to love my children. I think they do, but they don’t speak to me anymore, so it’s hard to tell. The worst part of any moment of difference in regard to my children is the quiet concern that radiates from them. My family will tolerate people of color. They will tolerate people with mental illness or disabilities. They will tolerate LGBTQ+ people. But, is tolerance the kind of love I want for my children? Is tolerance enough? They tolerated me right up until the moment I chose a path that was mine and mine alone. Will that be what Fox endures? That has created more pain than anything in my life, the mere tolerance of who I am. Fox deserves more than that.
The second I marched off of the path that had carefully laid for me, was the second the quiet concern began. Worry was disguised as love. Fear ruled. I had to build an island. I had to become an adult. I had to create something different. Your fear is not my family’s problem. It should never have been mine. There are people who understand that. I fill my life with those people now. I fill my life with the people who I can lower the drawbridge for, the people who understand my Fox and will love them unconditionally.
We become responsible women when we stop being obedient daughters. The best way to honor my parents is to trust fully the woman they raised. –Glennon Doyle.
I trust fully the woman my parents raised. I trust her to pick herself up from the blows of quiet concern and any cruel criticism of the crowd and to choose being a mother every single time. That is the only declaration to anyone here, the only true coming out, the advanced notice to everyone in our world that every damn time, from here on out, I will choose mother. Our island may get smaller because of it. We are okay with that.
–FullPlateMom, whose cobuilder, FullPlateDad, cosigns this post.