The Pronoun Game

Once upon a time, not so long ago and a lifetime ago, Denise had a job where she had to play the pronoun game at work. Those of you who are straight probably wonder what that means. It means that each sentence that referred to me or our family was carefully constructed without “she/her/girlfriend.” It was soul sucking and yet what she had to do in order for comfort. Everyone at her job knew me and us. It was just the forward facing part that was a problem.

I’ve thought a bunch about that since March 27. You see, I have been playing the pronoun game about one of my children. My first born. For those keeping track: Denise gave birth to three–the three oldest. I gave birth to three–the three youngest. The oldest has been referred to here as College Boy, boychild, the prince, and lately as first born.

Why? Because on March 27 that child texted me. “In other news–surprise, I am trans.” Yes. Instantly. After 20+ years of being the mother of a son, I had another daughter. The sudden change from son to daughter may not seem like that big of a deal. It is still the baby I gave birth to, the one I fell in love with, the one I love still. But, I am no longer a biological mother of a son.

Stop! Right now. Don’t tell me that she is lucky to have such an accepting family. Don’t tell me it is wonderful. Don’t for a second think this is any easier, just because she has queer parents.

No, we didn’t disown her or yell. Ok. That’s who you are, how are you going to handle this?Ā  I changed son to daughter on Facebook (but non one noticed). The child gave me permission to blog that same week, but I didn’t.

The whole mommy thing is hard. (Yes. I know. Far harder to be TG. Got it. That’s her story. Mine is being the mother.)Ā  The name change is hard. The being a different mother is hard. The pronouns–hard to remember. Yes, I’ve had nearly 4 months. Ava (the child’s new name) is not here a lot. College, summer job, adult with friends in town. I will get it.

In the meantime, for various reasons, the little girls didn’t wait to get their ears pierced until their first period and their stepmother took them. I missed out on a big rite of passage with them. When Ava told me she was trans, I grabbed the chance. “If you decide to get your ears pierced, promise I get to take you.” I never really thought it would happen. Ava hates needles. Turns green. Faints. Vomits. Always has.

But, tonight we went. She got her earlobes pierced. I got my cartilage pierced with a matching earring.

I took a selfie. One of the few I’ve taken in the past few months. Just in time for BlogHer. No more pronoun game. a mother and child selfie. Me. My daughter Ava, I am so glad to welcome her to this spinning world.

My Daughter and Me


  1. Hello there, T.W.! What a heartwarming post. It came in on my feed and I am so glad it did. What an “upper” this morning. I have always been interested in how everybody is related “out there,” but as there is no need to run things by me, I never wanted to ask. But, so much fun to feel closer to you all with this sharing of wonderful news. Thanks for including me. šŸ™‚ As with everything else in parenting, there is nothing constant, but change. So nice this change is for the better with Ava feeling more comfortable at a young age, realigning her orientation and better ready to take on life. Kudos start to finish. Much Love, Fondly, Robin

  2. Julie Ross Godar says:

    Welcome, Ava!

  3. I like to think that my only reaction would have been, “Fine, but you can’t text that kind of news!” But, I doubt I would have handled it that well. I’m certain I would have been sad, because there’s a sense of loss (to me, anyway). But also, peace. Such peace for her and peace for me as a parent knowing that she’s following her heart, mind, body and soul and not struggling with what’s truly inside.

  4. Thanks Julie.

  5. Uh, we text everything.

  6. They are ALL MINE. šŸ˜‰ Just ask them. Yes, change is constant.

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