Last Sunday, December 4, at the Children’s National Medical Center, amidst tears of joy and gratitude, I was honored for my contribution to our program for gender nonconforming children and their families. We all celebrated the journeys we had taken together as parents and friends. Some of the attendees were new support group parents; others were old timers. We were especially privileged to have with us three of the support group’s founding mothers — Ann, Maureen and Deb. Unfortunately Nicki, who planned to attend, had last minute complications and could not. We also had our “First Dad” Ken.
Thank you to Ann and Fefi for organizing the event. We had a special cake and I am now the proud owner of a Fefi Gilad original, a large version of the portrait of me that was on the invitation, which I totally love.
Thank you to Edgardo for providing the top floor board room overlooking our beautiful capitol and a plaque from the Children’s National Medical Center naming the support group after me.
Also, thank you to all the listserve parents who sent their kind wishes and to all the local parents who expressed their regrets that they were unable to attend.
In addition to the cake there were snacks and drinks, just perfect for the three o’clock hour.
Nora, the hospital’s art therapist and volunteer for the program, was there, as usual, keeping the kids entertained while the adults did their thing – thanks, Nora.
I was happy to have two special friends there who have been my staunch supporters and mentors – Greg and Ron.
Past and present volunteers who work with the children’s social group also helped us celebrate – Shannon, Sara and new mom, Becky .
My wonderful niece Lisa and husband Dave filmed the whole affair for our family records.
There were speeches, flowers, a beautiful album for personal messages — and naturally, there were lots of hugs.
I reminded people that my story was only the spark for this program. Edgardo provided the CRITICAL fireplace. The founding parents were the kindling and every family that has participated has provided a log. Many parents stoked the fire in ways big and small. Some wrote books, songs, plays or blogs. Others started support groups. But everyone educated themselves and shared their knowledge with others. Together we have truly changed the world.
The occasion also allowed me to introduce my book Mom Knows: Reflections on Love, Gay Pride and Taking Action. I read some selections from “The Children” part of the book. Writing a book is like having a baby. It’s a dream child, something labored hard for, with great expectations. Suddenly, there it is, baby or book, in all its glory – and then reality sets in. For the baby it’s called parenting; for the book it’s called publicity. Your self-esteem hangs in the balance. There is a lot of hard work and moments of great doubt, but glorious things also happen, like the first time the baby smiles. Reading from my book to such a special group of friends and fellow parents was definitely a “smile”. The event ended with Ann Philips reading her poem that was written for me, the beautiful “ This Boy”
With appreciation, admiration, affection,