By Sylvie Griffiths, MBA
Halloween is a huge holiday in my world. As an avid horror fan, and lover of all things fall (which, yes, I am aware is a miracle in Florida), this day, and the month surrounding it are some of my favorite moments each year. I am totally the mom who thinks their kids are as excited as I am, but mostly I go way overboard. One year, after dressing up as a zombie for my day at the salon, I went to pick up the kids at aftercare. I most likely should have arrived costume and make up free at the elementary school.
I understand that for some it is not a big day, and not all of us celebrate holidays, but Halloween is magic to me. This day, as early as my memory allows, is a day to be whomever you want to be. As an adult, I believe that I appreciate this more because I see how our culture does not promote embracing this open-mind ideology that you can actually be who you want. Some of the magic of my childhood is now sprinkled with cynicism.
My youngest, Jake, celebrated his last Halloween identifying as female, a few years back. He dressed up as Princess Leia, but choosing the costume was noticeable different that year. Jake looked at boy costumes, to which I assured him were great because Halloween means you can be what you like. Ultimately, he was not ready to transition then, and the costume was a hit at our Halloween party. But his Leia needed a lightsaber.
Parenting a young transgender child is challenging, surprising, heartbreaking, and pretty much every emotion you can go through. My three other kids and husband and I are consistently put in situations that require us to support Jake. Our entire family works incredibly hard to protect Jake and ensure the world will love him as we do. But, honestly, we as parents cannot protect our kids from everything. And so many people do not understand Jake and his journey.
I am learning in my forties to be my authentic self. I started getting there when I chose to end my first marriage at 30. I went back to school at 33. I obtained my Master of Business Administration at 40. I am most comfortable with who I am as a woman. But Jake’s transitioning has honestly made me a better parent. As a parent, I feel more confident in the decisions I make for all four kids, thanks to his bravery and openness.
Jake has empowered our entire family. As we watched him decide who his authentic self-was, I got that rush, I get around Halloween. I love seeing the kids choose costumes each year; their creativity, individuality, and personalities show up 100%. I felt so proud when Jake told my husband and I that he was a boy He invited us on his journey, and he was only 6 ½ years old.
This Halloween is about 5 weeks away, and our family will soon be costume shopping. Jake is most likely being a horror movie character; his size and energy would make a great Sam or Chucky. And like every year prior, we will tell all the kids to choose whatever costume they like……as long as it’s in the budget.
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 Master’s in Business Administration from Springfield College. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services.