By Sylvie Griffiths:
When you are a parent, your bragging knows no limits. Even if you only have fur babies, I know you just chuckled. Even the most modest introverted individuals will grab the mic to talk about their magical children. I am most proud of my family and the kids I am raising than anything else in my life. You could say it’s my topic of focus.
Now, when you have four kids, as my husband and I do, this can be tricky. Best not to brag about the teenagers in front of them. The middle child always needs attention, so you better compliment them frequently. And the family’s baby, who has endless energy and cuteness, will make attention revolve around them in all settings.
My youngest guy, Jake, is impossibly cute and funny. He loves an audience and is super affectionate. He doesn’t mind the compliments and prefers to be present to receive the additional accolades. Jake isn’t shy about engaging in a conversation involving, well, him. But I feel anxiety and stress when talking about Jake because he identifies as being transgender.
Jake is not our family’s dark secret. He is not encouraged to avoid conversations with friends or teachers at school about being a transgender male. We tell Jake to talk about this part of himself with who he feels comfortable. I asked his permission before starting this blog, and he loves that I write about him and our family. But, Jake does not know anything but acceptance; we are still waiting for that first negative experience. No matter what we do within our family, the world is out there for Jake to explore, and there is not understanding in all places.
I know very well what our world is like for transgender individuals in 2018. There are people in our society who think Jake is an abomination. People who would say my husband and I should be punished for letting our biological daughter be his authentic self. I cannot brag about Jake’s openness to share his story or his journey to becoming the happiest I have ever known my youngest to be because I am afraid of who might be in the audience. The news continually showcases the horrors that befall those of us in the world who are “different.”
The main reason I chose to write this blog was that I want people to learn about Jake and his journey. He is a happy, healthy, funny little dude who is sleeping in a box for this summer. (Yes, I worry about his back. No, my husband will not cave into my insanity and make him sleep on a mattress.) My writing has been acknowledged in our local community, and I will be interviewed about Jake this week. My biggest fan will be home from summer school the day it goes to press and has requested he read it first.
About Sylvie Griffiths:
Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.
She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Healthcare-Adult Community Concentration, from the University of South Florida. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies.