In a way Hope’s transition offers people in our lives two paths. You’d think the path that leads toward us would be the most direct, but it’s not. It’s filled with winding detours and countless signs where one must learn about gender identity and understand how a child could feel trapped in their body.
The path twists again forcing the person to accept that our Hope is just a child who is not at fault. Another twist and they need to decide whether they will be a loving and supportive influence in Hope’s life. Continuing along, the person must choose whether they can handle being with Hope in public and talking to their friends and family honestly about her transition.
The last stretch of road is where most people call it quits and go home. The final mile is where the person walks in our shoes. This means enduring public or private scrutiny for the choices I’ve made as a mother (“allowing” my child to “be” a girl) and for who my child is. Educating when someone is ignorant and speaking up against nasty comments, accusations or jokes at our expense. Stepping in the line of fire when someone tries to attack this helpless child even if it means taking a hit physically, personally or professionally. This last stretch doesn’t happen when I’m around. It happens when no one is watching.
It’s easy to be “on board” when we are standing right there and then turn your back and follow the crowd when no one would know. It’s easy to attempt to keep us in the closet from the rest of the people in your life. It’s much easier to act like it isn’t true or it didn’t happen, brushing our lives under the rug like an old tabloid article from an unreliable source. It’s easy to give up on us and not go all the way.
Thankfully people have made their way toward us. Some even seem to have journeyed effortlessly, though I am sure that’s not the case. Right now we have a circle of love and acceptance surrounding us that continue to make life worth living. They’ve acted as allies and champions for us. They’ve used sheer force to move mountains so that my child can enjoy a loving and healthy life. They didn’t have to do it. They could have taken the easy route.
If I look at my circle today I am inspired by these courageous people who open their hearts to us, comfort us and want to be a part of our lives. I admit, lots of people aren’t in my circle. Some people surprise me with their actions. Maybe some are taking their time on the path and we might see them again. Some have shown that they will never take a step toward us. That is okay. We have enough. This is the balance of life.