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Things I Know - A Year Later
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Last year I wrote to Miles a letter titled 'Things I Know' when we had gotten to a sad, angry place a few months after his news that he was transitioning to be male. After I first wrote it, I would re-read it all the time to remind myself of what I had to keep in sight. It was kind of a commitment to Miles that I would try, that's all he could ask me to do, and all I could do. It was honest and raw, but straight from my heart. I had to find a way to let him know how I was feeling, regular emails had all but stopped between us, and conversations were uncomfortable and short. It made a big difference to him, and we were able to communicate much better after he understood some of what my feelings were. I read it over tonight, and had to update it, a year later. So much has happened in the last year, he has been taking testosterone for that long, is still going for regular medical and therapy appointments, and had top surgery (breast removal) in June. The difference in him is simply amazing, it is hard to explain the changes in him and I believe my changes are just as dramatic. (at least I think they are!) The first lines are the original letter, the lines underneath each one with the ** are my 'year later' updates.

Things I know - ** what a difference a year makes. **

I know this is a process of stages. Grief is the first, acceptance the middle, celebration is the last.
** I am now celebrating the wonderful joyful man that you have become. **

I know I have to be able to see the 'firsts' and accept them as they happen, not with distress, but with open-mindedness.
** There aren't any 'firsts' anymore, I am blessed to be able to watch you continually grow. **

I know I can move forward through my grief and sorrow, and eventually find a sense of peace, seeing my child truly happy.
** There isn't any more sorrow, if I ever had any doubts about your choice to live as male, as you always felt you should, they are gone. I see a more confident, strong, giving man than my 'daughter' had ever been, it is amazing! **

I know that you have found yourself, once and for all, and I am glad for that.
** You knew your truth and had the passion and resolve to move towards your life as you knew it should be. **

I know my 'days' of sadness are changing to 'moments' and it is okay that I will still have some.
** I don't have many moments of sadness about your transition anymore. It has allowed you to be your true authentic self, and I can only be as happy about that as you are. **

I know as you become more comfortable with the changes in your body, so will I.
** How funny that now I look at you and see my son. All of the changes, inside and out are all parts of you.
(of course, you running around without a shirt on, showing off your manly chest makes it easier to see!) **

I know someday, very soon, everything will seem that it was meant to be and I can put it all in perspective.
** That day is here. My perspective just had to learn to keep up with you. **

I know I must move forward and support you with acceptance and joy for your happiness and contentment.
** You taught me there was no use in looking backwards, that there is no other direction but forward. **

I know I don't have to 'erase' the past. All the memories are mine to keep. I can have them and the new ones to come, together in my heart, they'll all fit.
** You have already shown me that the new ones are astonishing in their joy and brilliancy. **

I know I am waiting to hear "I love you, Mom," when you understand how hard I am trying.
** I know you knew and appreciated my efforts. Hearing your love and appreciation for our support and acceptance means so much. Now it is as effortless for me to support you as it seems to be for you to tell me you love me. **

I know I have been thinking really hard about how brave you are and how difficult it must be for you to be true to yourself.
** You are the most courageous person I know. I am in awe of your undeniable determination. **

I know I will get through this because I love you more than you can ever know, I want only for you to be happy and at peace with yourself. I am blessed to have you in my life no matter what.
** Your were patient enough to allow me my worries and confusion, and you are loving enough to share with me the tranquility and joy you now possess. **

I know that I care deeply enough for you that communication can't be stifled by my discomfort, even if I am struggling.
** You allowed my awkward attempts at understanding until I could stop struggling and start believing. **

I know that I am proud that you feel you were raised with the strength to be able to do this rather than cower and hide in a life of unhappiness.
** I was able to learn by your example and discover that I had that same strength within myself. **

I know now this isn't a loss, I will still know you, my child, with every smile and hug I get.
** The person I raised will always be here. Looking different on the outside made no difference to the wonderfulness that you are. **

I know 'practicing' a new name and pronouns will be hard for me, but for now, you are 'M', my child.
** Somehow Miles fits you far better than 'Megan' ever did, because being Miles is your truth. Miles is happy and comfortable in his own skin, Megan wasn't. **

I know that your peace is worth far more than my sorrow.
** I see the peace and stillness in you now, and know that my 'sorrow' was really just selfishness. For that, I am sorry. **

I know I can embrace not only physical changes taking place, but the changes in your self esteem and confidence as well.
** I embrace your transition with much joy and wonder. Outer appearances didn't really change who you are, they just allowed you to become your genuine self . **

I know I have not lost my child. I have found him.
** I didn't 'find' him, you were there all along, I just needed you to show me. **

I know I have to trust your judgment in terms of what you need to be whole and what you need in order to live your life with authenticity.
** I was able to have faith in you, because you showed me how much you had it in yourself. **

I know when you realize the full support I am offering, then you will be able to embrace the fullness of your past, including those pink dresses and pretty bows.
** You acknowledge that who you are today is made up of everything you have experienced, and I am proud to have those old memories and I am ready to celebrate the new ones too. **

I know I am extremely grateful for how I have grown because of what my children have taught me.
** I learned so much in the past year, about you and about myself, how to trust, to accept, to understand and to love - unconditionally. **

I know that if I educate myself and love my child, it isn't all that hard.
** Loving you and trusting in you is never hard. Loving me and trusting in me is. **

I know you aren't the only one who is transitioning, I am transitioning right along with you. Because I love you, I know there will come a point when I will be settled with your identity.
** Your identity has always been there, now your outer appearance matches the inside. I don't need to be settled with your identity, because you are. **

I know I don't have to pretend to understand everything, but I do need to ask questions, and try as much as possible to do a lot of listening when you answer them.
** I loved you enough to listen and learn, and to accept your choice, and in doing that I was able to understand. **

I know responding to you from my heart is sometimes painful for you, but I need to be honest and help you to understand me, too.
** You accepted with patience my initial confusion, and your willingness to give me time to realize this was real and true for you, showed your incredible compassion. **

I know coming to know 'M' will become such a gift, a way to a fuller understanding of the beloved child I have always embraced, and will always cherish.
** Your transition was a gift - to yourself, to me, and to everyone who knows and loves you. You will always be my beloved, cherished child, no matter how old you are. **
 
 
It was exciting to have the original version published in the PFLAG (Parents and friends of lesbians and gays)Transgender newsletter last December and to also have copies of it given out at the Seattle Gender Conference last year. The head of the PFLAG Transgender group has again asked to publish this 'update' in the next newsletter. I am amazed at how much what I have written has touched so many in the transgender community, especially the parents of transitioning children of all ages. What a difference a year has made!! 

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