I have no gift to give you this year. For the first time in 14 years I am not making a giant fuss, in fact, I am doing very little in way of celebrating what once was your favorite holiday. Usually by December 1st we are picking out the best possible tree and you would be dragging out the box of decorations. You would do much of the decorating on your own because you are very particular about the placement of things. There is a method and only you could pull it off, or so you believed.
You would give me your list of gifts that you most wanted. The list was ranked to make it easier for me. You loved beautiful things, art, your pet birds. One of my last great memories of the most perfect Christmas as a happy family was the year we picked out a love bird for your Christmas gift. You named her Sophie, such a beautiful name for such a sweet little bird. You loved that bird so much that you cried with joy when she sat on your shoulder for the first time and tucked within your long hair. I was just thrilled that we had found something to break through your sensory issues. Sophie allowed you to forget about your constant concerns surrounding germs and being unexpectedly touched. It was the same year that you also made a few great friends at school. Friends! I worried you would never have a close friend and finally you had not one but two very good friends and a bird you loved so much. Life was so happy and good just a few years ago. It seems like another lifetime now as I sit alone in a house emptied of sounds, plans, and happiness.
You have made it clear that this year you do not want anything from me. There was no tree, no attendance at a Christmas ballet, no music. You made it clear that you only want testosterone or a legal name change as a gift from me. I am very sorry, but I am not going to cause you harm—that I cannot do.
It breaks my heart to not be able to help you today. I feel so lost and helpless as your mother. If only you knew how greatly I love you, possibly even more so as I watch you suffer and struggle so much, how lonely you look today and broken. Seeing you so thin and your shoulders hunched in to try and hide yourself. I am beside myself with grief as I see you disappear and this time without looking back over your shoulder with a smile and a wave, letting me know you are going to be okay.
Since the day you were born I knew you were extraordinary. You were quite different from what I expected but in ways that amazed me. You were headstrong and brilliant, often misunderstood by others. But I was always able to help you and keep you safe. Today, to my great dismay, there is nothing I can do for you except to quietly wait, stay strong, not collapse from fear, not panic, and most of all not give up.
In my heart I wish you a merry Christmas, if not this year, one year soon. It is not something I can wrap and place beneath a tree but, if well wishes can be a gift, then I guess my Christmas gift to you are my well wishes for your future happiness and peace.
May God bless my daughter and all of the lost sons and daughters who are struggling this year, and especially their parents who love them.