As 2016 rapidly approaches, I find myself faced with a monumental choice, in a year of truly life changing choices.
Let me rewind.
Robert Frost once eloquently described two roads diverging in a yellow wood, and how he longed to take them both. He stood at the crossroads, first looking down one road as far as he could, and then choosing the other. I’ve stood at that same crossroads, many times this year. Weighing my choices, considering my options.
In January, I was isolated and alone. Depressed, frightened, unsure and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel. A mere month and a half after my child had transitioned, I thought our world was over. But I made a choice. I made the choice to share my story, a parent’s story struggling to do the best by her child.
Like Frost, I doubted by decision. For weeks and months, I wondered if putting my story out there had been the right choice to make, or if it simply made me and my family more vulnerable, more at risk, more likely to be the target of hate and discrimination. But like Frost, I doubted if I should ever come back.
That was only the beginning. I chose to withdraw my son from public school, to homeschool him myself. A choice I still worry about, still wonder if I did the right thing. I chose to start this blog, to reach other parents like me, to help them understand that in this big wide world, they were not alone.
I chose to say yes to every opportunity that presented itself, so long as I was able. That choice spiraled me and my son off in directions that I’m still feeling the effects of and that is one choice I don’t regret or reconsider in the least.
I chose to attend a Trans Health Conference. I chose to attend a Camp for Gender Nonconforming youth. I chose to submit to an anthology and got accepted, publication 2016!
Most of my choices were deliberate, and thoughtful. Like Frost, I stared down my roads as long as I could. Sometimes my roads bent too soon and the trees were too thick to see far, and so I simply had to make a choice and hope it was right. Like our decision to move, which will be happening in the next two months.
Sometimes, I had no choice at all. Like where we will move, which is still to be determined and that frightens me to no end.
But still, none of these choices compare to the one I have left to make.
Who will raise my children, if I die?
Even reading that sentence takes my breath away. Not just because it means I would no longer be in this world, but because I can’t imagine what it will do to my children. And I literally have no idea who to choose.
Family always seems obvious. Your children know them, they’re comfortable with them, and when a child is faced with the loss of both parents, you need to make them feel safe and loved, first and foremost. But after the aftermath of the loss, what then? How would my siblings handle the myriad of complications that come along with a transgender child?
None of them would be able to quit their jobs to homeschool and none of them live in districts with policies already in place for trans students. What gender would they enroll him as? Who would they tell that he was trans and how? Would they monitor his friends and their parents? Would they ask if he revealed to anyone that he was trans? How would they respond if he came home claiming to be harassed, bullied, discriminated against?
Would they take him to support groups for other trans kids? Would they even have time in their busy lives, with their own children, and now two more to boot?
We have friends that I might consider, but would they ever really love my kids as much as I do? Would they love them as much as family would? Not even considering the vast financial burden that having a trans child means.
Blockers alone cost as much as a down payment on a house, and that’s every year to two years. Hormones are almost as bad. He would need special doctors: endocrinologists, socials workers, therapists. They would have to drive him to Lurie Children’s Hospital or some other gender specialist, to make sure he got the best care.
My mind reels thinking about it. Thinking about who, in this whole wide world, will raise my children, if I die. Who can afford to. Who would treat my oldest with dignity. Who would invest the same energy and time and devotion that I have, that any parent of a trans child has to, in order to ensure their child survives all the odds.
Who will love my children as much as I do? Who will raise them when I die?
As the clock ticks inevitably closer to the close of another year, I have no answer. I stand, frozen, unable to decide, unable to choose. I stand at a crossroads with really no roads at all, but knowing that somehow, I have to choose one. And not wanting to.
Because I know that whatever road I take, whatever choice I settle on, I will not be the one left around to regret it.
This post was written as a part of ChicagoNow Blogapalooz-Hour Volume XXVII. Our challenge this month was: "You made a million choices in 2015. Write about just one."
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