today, while going through some poetry to post online, i came across a couple of poems written about ziona before she had disclosed to me that she had the ‘wrong parts’, that she was a girl.
the word ‘son’ and the male pronouns used to reference her seemed so obviously out of place now. i began to feel as tho i should ‘rewrite’…but stopped short of actually doing so.
one reason is that daughter wouldn’t fit the meter of the poems, but more than this, altho i completely support ziona and her right to be who she is, there is still a slight sadness of loss. the loss of my son. so i suppose, this is one way to hold on.
already ziona has insisted that the photos once that hung on her walls, those taken before her fourth birthday, the ones depicting that cute little boy with the huge blue eyes, be forever removed. altho she didn’t insist i get rid of them, she made it quite clear that these were not pictures of her and she didn’t want to see them. perhaps they were even a painful reminder of the fact that, until she is older, she still has those ‘things’ which pertain to ‘a boy’.
so i stored the photos away. i don’t really care to see them either. after all, for my part, they speak to not just the loss of the son i’d believed i was raising, but also to the reality of all that my daughter will have to endure just to become who she is. they speak to me of the puberty blockers, cross hormones and eventual gender re-assignment surgery. they even fill me with the worry that while our society as a whole is beginning to accept people who are different in ‘that’ way, many people within this same society have been known to perpetrate assault, or even just bigoted discrimination against people like ziona.
i drank in the words of the poems i’d come across, realising that nothing in their verses, except for the gender specific references, was any less true today of her than the day i wrote them. like the photographs, her spirit shone through in these mementos. the spirit which has never been anyone’s but her own. like the photographs, a sense of bittersweet irony seemed present. an irony that only exists because of the preconceived ideas i held of her, a bittersweetness that vanishes the moment i look at her face and see the beautiful girl she is.
there’s nothing much of a sense of loss to my todays with ziona. she fills my world to the very brim! only when i re-visit those yesterdays do i feel a slight twinge. after all, i have only ever raised daughters, so i suppose there was a bit of excitement and something new to find myself raising a son.
but because of ziona, my todays are even more exciting and interesting. every day i feel challenged to expand my notions of what it means to be ‘female’, of what gender is, of how to allow her to unfold herself, the perfect bloom of her essence, unhindered by my own ‘therefores’. not as easy as the concept it portrays is the follow-through of being a supportive parent and wise advocate for someone in ziona’s place! every day she helps me to grow to a far more fulfilled measure of the role of mother.
so i posted the poetry, as is…figuring that the words spoke eloquently of her spirit regardless of gender reference…and knowing that the more recent ones she’s inspired, only realise a deeper truth about her, not a separate one.
perhaps she can forgive me.