Today is my youngest child’s birthday.

Twenty years ago I gave birth at home with the assistance of a midwife, my friend Charlotte, and my dear friend Peggy.

Two of my three other children were present. Wesley was the eldest child in the room with my oldest being away at my ex’s at that time.

My pregnancy was monitored by an OBGYN on a monthly basis, too. Although he had concerns about my refusal to do the usual hospital delivery, having given birth to three others without complication who were healthy somewhat allayed his fears.

 

In NICU , one day old

 

I gave birth to a 7 lb 3 oz girl and I named her Sandy Bailey Meadows. She was not well when she finally made her entrance, and I could tell right away she could not breathe normally. Without many words all of us descended the stairs in my old house and took her straight to the hospital. There she received treatment to resuscitate her and she was placed in neonatal
Intensive care for nearly two weeks.

After we could bring her home, the first year was difficult as she had breathing and allergy problems and did not sleep but about 2-3 hours at a time, and that was on a good night. Insomnia became my norm.

 

Sandy (Noah) about a year old

 

Eventually, she became a model of health. Sandy was my most exuberant child. She was precocious, mischievous, creative and loving. I had three children before her, approximately at ages 10, 6 and 5 when she was born, but she challenged me at every turn. As I have always been a person who needed physical space, and my other three children seemed to inherit this need, Sandy wanted nothing more than to be able to touch me or be right next to one of us at all times. Wesley handled this pretty well, Robin not so much. When my oldest came to stay, Sandy had someone else willing to indulge her hugs and kisses.

 

A rare moment of snuggles, Robin and Noah (Sandy)

 

Two years ago Sandy called me to talk. In a couple of months she would be graduating from high school. She wanted to let me know she legally changed her name to Noah Ray Meadows and would definitely be identifying as male from now on.

 

Wesley, mom, and Sandy (Noah) hugging up on momma, as usual, 2003

 

It wasn’t a complete shock. I knew my child was in some throes of confusion and struggle with body image, sexual orientation and identity. I wasn’t aware as to the extent. That was my fault as I had not been as attentive a mother as I should have been.

My oldest child, Zach, had also been born as a girl to me. We named her Amanda Margaret Renee Lee. When “Mandi” was 10 she told me she was gay. I was okay, a little shaken up but really okay. Ten years later she told me she was going to start the process to transgender, female to male, and came to me first because, “I know you will be the most understanding and I need your support when I tell everyone else.”

 

Zach and me, last August at Wesley and Molly’s wedding in Minnesota

 

This was a more difficult development but I did support my child and went to the therapist with her, and when it was time, helped get the first prescription of testosterone and witnessed when “Mandi” became Zach.

 

Zach (Mandi) and Wesley, New Mexico, 1995

 

He also enlisted my help with choosing a male name. When I told him I just knew he was going to be a boy when I was pregnant, I had chosen the name Zachary. It’s Old Testament and after all, we were a Jewish family as I had converted when pregnant to make sure our child could be born into the faith as tradition holds, since it is passed down through the mother.

So my “new” son honored me by not only involving me in the process and being patient while I wrapped my head around it, he also allowed me to name him. Again.

As for Noah, I will admit I had an extremely difficult time accepting his choice to trans female to male. After all, I already “lost” one daughter and gained another son. Why me? Why two of my kids? I’m only guessing here, but fifty percent seems high odds.

 

Big brother Wesley helping (Sandy) Noah

 

So I bumbled through that transition. Noah (rightfully so) feels I didn’t support him as I did Zach.

I guess I felt like I was a boxer in that last round in the ring. I was tired and sore but dammit, I was winning the match—until I got knocked out just before the bell.

Today, I want everyone to know it is my son Noah’s 20th birthday, and I am proud to be his mom. Though unrequited, I love him tremendously. His estrangement from me will not make me love him less, it only grieves me to know I cannot call him, especially on this day, and hear his voice or get one of those fantastic hugs he was always so generous to give. My arms ache to hold him, and my heart aches without him.

 

Zach and Noah, August 14, 2015, Wesley and Molly’s wedding in Minnesota

 

Happy Birthday, son. May this year be your most magical year yet.

13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Noah

  1. Damnit to hell – call him anyway, even if he hangs up on you. You did the best you could. We all do. And that’s all we can do. No one comes with a booklet of instructions on how we are supposed to act, etc., through one another’s lives. We need to get over this crap. Noah is a big boy now – and he needs to call you and tell you he loves you. That’s my two cents.

    You are so brave to put this out there. Pain is awful, yet worse when inflicted by another. Know that if I were there I’d be hugging you right now. Love you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish I could call, James. He and my daughter have blocked me. I sent a birthday card and a play, Wit. He’s in theater arts. My son Wesley sent him the link to this blog post. Maybe he will come around. I love you, friend. Thank you. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully in time he will see the error of his ways. My mother was upset with my being gay – bless her heart – but she still loved me in her way. She had a hard time with my older brother being gay, and then me – a double whammy kind of like yours – but at least both my brother and I loved our mother, even though we had not had easy times with her. We both knew she was still our mother and gave us life. I’m grateful I don’t have to wait until the afterlife, if there is one, to tell her how much I loved her. I did it during her life, and as often as I could. Perhaps your son will come around. Let’s hope so.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That’s my hope, that he and my daughter will let it all go and see the love. I lost my dad when I was 21 years old. You don’t think your mom or dad is going to die when you’re so young, and if one of them is young compared to other parents. My dad was only 41. I don’t think my kids are fully aware that their mom is nearly 50 and time is just a whisper in the wind–it is that fleeting and hard to hold on to. I wish I had known. I lost that chance. It’s a hard thing to live with. It makes me think of the Mike and the Mechanics song, “In The Living Years.” Thank you for your heartfelt honesty and compassion. You are a treasure, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well you’re only human and as such you are not perfect. Sooner or later, your children will come to realise that and hopefully accept you just as you are, just like they want you to accept them as they are.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. As you know, anger consumed me like a raging forest fire from my childhood w my mom. When at last free. I wanted to repay her all of the pain that she had fed me till age 18. I reveled in my ultimate pay back for all of the gut wrenching hateful and untrue things she told me , all the ugly things she exposed me to and the torment that she caused. I did this by banishing her to the badlands. . At last I had power to show her the pain of being the outsider. However life has a way of backfiring. When I eventually returned to visit her, she had become an alcoholic and had lost her home, her car and her identity. A sense of shame and loss fell over me. Her angry hurtful behavior toward me had been the norm, now had she developed an entirely new set of problems, ones that would eventually take her life. To this day, I lack the knowledge of how I could have made it better. But what I needed from her was for her to say she was sorry, for her to admit her mean behaviors, to acknowledge that it was her needs that always preceded mine. I was the kid and she was the adult. I could have started healing much earlier if she had told me those things. Instead , I did what I had become a professional at and stayed away for even more years. And so we went through the first half of my adult life estranged. Years escaped me and then slapped me in my sorrowful face. In her absence, She had become very frail with a soft childlike choice and unassuming attitude and greatful for anything, everything. It was a new beginning and I was also greatful. This was a speck of time and the best time. She was a joy to be around and wanted to listen and share moments and space with me in a joyful place. We were having fun and I would do anything for a few more days with her. But time had made her tired. Those were infact some of the last words she said to me and then she was gone. We celebrated her life and her death with a Native American blessing ceremony. Lifting upon the smoke of sage, we set her soul free and encouraged her spirit to rise to the heavens on a very cold morning in April. It was that day that I forgave her and began forgiving myself. I at last realized the tortured mistake I had made for so many years. Sweet friend, i hope your children forgive you, I hope they read these words. After all how could one know what is to come at such a young age? I hope you are honest with them and address what they are angry about and pour your insecurities, regrets and sorrows out to them clearly. I hope you can grieve with them the things that they have felt hurt over. . The great falacy of my life was believing that my mother’s intentions were conscious choices, that she chose to behave as she did and I judged her as being evil versus being a very injured person. Now I know your struggles and you know mine. We have been friends for so long, since the age of our kids now. Some day things will change, they always do. How quickly things change often depends i the catalyst. This is sadly one of the most familiar lessons of my life. Meanwhile know that you are loved and worthy of good things to come. I love you very much. Thanks for always loving me too ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, you of all people know my flaws. I love you. It’s all I can say right now except THANK YOU for sharing that with me and reminding me, like you’ve done a thousand times over, that I am worthy and loved. God gave you a gift despite your hubris and the tragedy of learning this too late. I’m so glad we found each other. 💜😪

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s