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JFB op/ed for Mother’s Day in New York Times.

JFB op/ed for Mother’s Day in New York Times.
May 12, 2013 Jennifer Boylan

A column for Mother’s Day from me on the op/ed page of the Sunday New York Times:

What Makes a Mother?  Suffering!

by  Jennifer Finney Boylan

boylan family

Jenny Boylan's Mom, Hildegarde, with grandsons Zach and Sean, Christmas 2010

One day, toward the end of my transition from father to mother, I came home to find my 6-year-old son looking thoughtful. “Are you all right?” I asked.

“Yes,” Sean said quietly. He was playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. His favorite engine was No. 5, red James. That had also been my name, back before it became Jenny.

“What are you thinking?”

“It’s just it used to be you and me and Zach, the three boys on one side,” he said, “and Mommy and Lucy-dog on the other.”

“I know,” I said, feeling my heart clench.

“Now it’s Zach and me on one side, and you and Mommy and Lucy-dog over there.”

“I’m sorry, Sean,” I said. My voice was barely a whisper. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s O.K.,” said Sean. “The boys are just outnumbered.”

I have been a dad for 6 years, a mom for 12, and for a time in between I was both, or neither, like some parental version of the schnoodle or the cockapoo.

When I was their father, I showed my boys how to make a good tomato sauce; as their mother I showed them how to split wood with a maul. As a father, I was more playful. I used to, for instance, cover my sons’ feet with peanut butter and let the dogs lick it off, as the boys screamed with laughter.

I don’t do things like that anymore, although… (click here for the rest of the column).

1 Comment

  1. Hangar Queen 5 years ago

    Ah bollocks anyway. There I was thinking I had the beginnings of a notion of how his parenting as trans thing MIGHT work and you go and write this.

    We have Paddy’s Day for my special day. Changing teams is one thing but there’s no bloody way I’m trespassing on Herself’s jolly.

    Ah well. Not to worry. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I ever feel I have it under control then I’ll have deluded myself entirely. Happy Mother’s to you both (not so much belated as taking the absolute piss 🙂 and continued best wishes in all your endeavors.

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