On Hope and Looking Forward

by Parent of Little (Anonymous)

As a parent of a transgender daughter, it is hard to fully express my gratitude for JBBBS’ LGBTQ+ mentoring program. I do so little, yet my child benefits so much.

Over time, I’ve found my role in the program to be one of trust, support, and space, which I think might sound deceptively easy. In the beginning, I worked to trust JBBBS’ established process, support the process by being as open and honest as possible, and then step back fully to give them space to find my daughter’s match. Today, the trust comes easily—my child’s Big is a wise and giant-hearted rare find of a person who I trust implicitly, and every person I have encountered at JBBBS has been wonderful. Supporting the relationship through continual and open communication takes some work from all of us involved, but it is work we are all committed to. Giving space to my daughter is the hardest for me because my natural inclination is to nurture her. This is an area of growth that I am working on.

My role is small, and their relationship is significant.

Particularly given that we are living in a time when LGBTQ+ books are being pulled from libraries and states across the nation are attempting to mandate and legislate queer kids out of existence, and so many young people are barely hanging on, my child’s favorite activities together with her Big are especially poignant. They bond while playing Nintendo, visiting the local library, searching for the best possible apple at the farmers market, and discovering for the first time that—Hey! Yes! Soda is DELICIOUS!!! It is in seeing these small joys that I feel like everyone ought to be able to see and appreciate the need for a better future, one that is inclusive and pure of heart, and of the sort that every person deserves to have.

Parents are expert worriers, and I am certainly no exception. Many days, all I want to do is wrap my arms around my child, tuck her under my wing, and not so much as let her peek a single eyelash out at the uncertain world beyond our walls. But here is a larger truth: My wing cannot hold her all that much longer before she will want to leave it anyway.

So instead of tucking her away, I know our time together is better spent helping her build her own boat, sew her own sails, and learn to chart her own course in life. A big part of this is helping ensure she has people who love her foremost and who will support her on her journey, wherever she needs to go. As she grows up, I know there will be times when I am no longer her first-choice person to talk things through with. This hurts. But it helps knowing she has a Big in her life who already understands so much about her, and who is the sort of person who wants to be there for her, and who will listen with a kind, wise, open, and empathetic heart.

Thanks to JBBBS, my child has a friend who she truly identifies with, and my child sees a path that feels possible to her to follow. This will help give her confidence to trust her own compass. I am grateful for that, just as I am grateful because her mentor could not possibly be a more kind or amazing person.

The author lives in suburban Boston with her family. She is fiercely proud of all her children and has asked to be anonymous for their privacy.