Love letters are nearly a lost art -- never mind letters of love from a parent to child. But one mother's tribute to her young transgender son, published this week in the Boston Globe, has us thinking a new trend should be started.
In "A Letter to My Son Jacob on His 5th Birthday," Mimi Lemay shares the story of her adorable son, and explains in moving detail how much she's loved him from the minute she felt him kicking inside her right up to the present moment, and the gifts she's gained by supporting a trans child.
Born a "spirited little thing" whose antics earned him the nickname "honey badger" as a baby, Jacob began changing clothes 10-12 times a day by age 2, and insistently declaring he was a boy by age 3. At first, Lemay says, she assumed her child was playing pretend or indulging a whim -- a common parental assumption about trans children that's recently been debunked by research showing trans kids know their own genders quite well from an early age. But when Jacob began to explode in anger or emotionally withdraw from others frequently, she became convinced something deeper was going on.
When a teacher suggested that Jacob may actually identify as a boy, Lemay reflects with scathing honesty the series of emotions, including denial and upset, she went through on her path to acceptance. "By now," she ultimately writes to Jacob, "you know how proud I am of you, how happy I am to be your mother, and how I perceive your unique nature as a precious, if puzzling gift."
"I believe in your ability to dispel much of the ignorance and intolerance in those you may encounter," she later continues. "I look at how fine a human being you are becoming -- far beyond my meager original intentions -- and I know that the future is bright for you. I am no longer afraid."
Read the entire letter here.