Unlike anything else I’ve done in my life, I have the gift of removing limitations for Morgan. As his parents, we charged with shaping his experiences and our choices reflect those experiences. Dmitri and I are faced with challenges many would shrink from, deny or flat out reject and yet, we see possibility. Possibility not only for our son but for ourselves, altering what we’ve been conditioned to believe is “normal”.
In my soul, I believe that people are drawn into my life for a purpose. This belief has been amplified this year, and is continually reinforced at an alarming rate. With certainty, I see my purpose laid before me. Now I practice getting out of my own way to allow that purpose to take shape…some days are better than others.
During a presentation in a gender studies class at Pacific Lutheran University, a student asked me if by allowing Morgan to dress like a girl do I believe that I am putting him at higher risk for bullying and/or abuse. This student doesn’t know how relevant that question is to my family. The truthful answer is…yes. There are countless risk factors for a boy openly dressing as a girl. Frankly, love isn’t enough to over-come some abuses.
What I refuse to do is live in the fear of “what if”. I will not allow Morgan or my family to be paralyzed by fear. So, what’s left?
Anyone who’s had a conversation with me would experience my optimism. In previous posts I’ve highlighted the intimate fears I feel in parenting a child who doesn’t conform to the prefabricated gender norms. To be sure, those fears are real and sometimes it takes my breath away. And yet, within that fear I can only believe in hope. Much of that hope derives from Morgan. Even while staring down ridicule, criticism, isolation and bullying Morgan sees possibility. Maybe it’s because he’s only known acceptance so he continues to seek it. Risk is a part of daily living and without it there can be no growth. All three of us are risking judgment, criticism, resistance, slander, isolation and possibly physical harm. All of which is fueled and lead by ignorance. We have the opportunity to educate, raise awareness and create acceptance. I am seizing it!
The stories I use to explain and describe our family and My Purple Umbrella are heartwarming, compelling, dramatic, and inspiring (all the makings of a good story-line). At the end of the day, it’s left to my husband and I to take personal responsibility for exposing our child. Do I know if he’ll be hurt as a result, no. Do I know if he’ll be wiser, stronger, better equipped, or enlighten as a result…no. All I have to follow is my heart.
The other piece of the story is the joy I experience as Morgan’s mama. There is no doubt in my mind that Dmitri and I were destined to be Morgan’s parents. No one else would love him openly, entirely and completely. His ability, desire and persistence in just being himself constantly reminds me of my own conformity. As a result of being himself, Morgan gives the rest of us permission to authentically be, whatever that looks like for ourselves. Herein lies my gift…a privilege really, to have such a being teaching me to love unconditionally.