Friday, October 12, 2007

A Family Joy

It was the Thanksgiving weekend of 2001. I had asked my daughters to my house. This would be The Talk, the time had come for me to tell them who I am, who I would become. I was scared. I had gone over what might happen with my therapist a dozen times - both would continue to be with would reject me, the other wouldn't....the other would reject me, the first wouldn't (I used to call them the Salt and Pepper sisters to describe their frequent differences)....both would leave. I love my daughters dearly, so the thought of losing either or both was terrifying. And I had come out to just one other person so far.

Both knew something was up...but neither had a clue about what would come next. "I'm transgender", I said. And then proceeded to tell them what that meant, what I needed to do. It was no longer a question of What...but a decision as to When.

My oldest daughter was a puddle of tears. The younger daughter tried her best to be resolute, to try to understand, but I could see she was a puddle of tears inside her shell as well. And it was she who declaimed "but who will walk me down the aisle?", a reference to a traditional role for the Father. And I would no longer be their "father". As my oldest daughter would say later, "Dad, as Dad, is gone".

While both of them struggled to understand, both have continued to be in my life and for that I'm very thankful. that question. The answer is, it wasn't me. This past week, my youngest daughter got married to the wonderful man with whom she's been together for the past few years. And yes, I was invited to attend. I met the in-laws, a terrific family. We shared stories at the rehearsal dinner. I joined my daughter in her preparations along with the other bridesmaids and flower girls. The box containing my wrist corsage read "Bride's Other Mother". And we all cried. She was absolutely gorgeous.

As I said, I would not walk her down the aisle. That was done by her brother-in-law, who is married to her half sister, the eldest of the three girls. I was escorted by the minister to begin the procession. We were followed by the groom's mother, then my ex-wife (the girl's mother), my daughter's grandmother (ex-wife's mother), and then all the groomsmen and bridesmaids. The three flower girls, who were most darling, preceded the bride.

The ceremony was lovely - though plans to hold it outdoors were dashed by a persistent drizzle. The reception was a lot of fun. I was deeply privileged to take part, to simply witness this glorious day in my daughter's life.

Many transgenders lose family members. I am blessed with two amazing daughters. I cherish their love more than they may know. Now, two families have become one - and I am part of that new union. This is A Family Joy!

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