On May 1, 2005, I gave birth to twins. They were about 10 weeks early (they hadn’t been due until July) and spent a month in the NICU recovering from the effects of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and of course, their very premature birth. Despite a rough and scary start, they bounced back quickly and we were able to take them home on June 1, 2005.
On May 1, 2023, they turned 18 years old. The last month has been a flurry of birthday parties and proms and graduations. They even graduated high school in birth order. Jo was born at 10:06 pm and graduated on May 30th, and Andy was born at 10:07 pm and graduated on May 31st.
Now it’s exactly 18 years since we brought them home from the hospital. While their birthday may be May 1st, I’ve always thought of June 1st as the day I really became a mother. While I visited them as much as I could while they were in NICU, I always felt like just that: a visitor. On that wonderful and terrifying day 18 years ago, though, suddenly these two tiny lives were 100% my responsibility.
My husband Dave has been there since the beginning, but I have always been the primary caretaker or the default parent, as I’ve heard it called online. I have been the rock. I have been Mom.
It hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing. A lot has gone on. I can say, though, that specifically related to the twins, things started to get better once they came out as trans... and we helped them transition.
That in itself has been a difficult journey, and I wouldn’t say we came out unscathed from our experiences, but one thing I do know is that it was the right thing to do. I’m not sure they’d still be here today if we hadn’t.
Doctors, therapists… we’ve seen more than I can possibly begin to count. If anyone thinks we rushed into this or even pushed them toward it for some reason, you are simply wrong. When I think back on everything we’ve gone through, the arguments against gender-affirming care would be laughable if they weren’t so dangerous.
And yes, both twins came out as trans. They are identical twins and there is a case to be made for a genetic component to being transgender. My father is trans, as well, and while it does seem to have skipped a generation, and is certainly not conclusive evidence, we seem to make a pretty good case for the fact that people are indeed just born this way.
Oh and also every major medical institution, doctor (with the exception of the occasional quack), researcher, etc. agrees. We may not know everything about transgender people, but we know enough to know they’re real. It’s settled science, no matter if someone likes it or not.
And of course, being trans is just one part of them. They are these amazing multi-faceted human beings who it has been my honor to raise. I’ve made many mistakes that I regret, but my kids are here, they’re pretty darn healthy, and now they’re no longer kids. They’re adults. Young adults, sure, but adults all the same.
They’re both going to college in the fall. They’re bright, crazy, talented, caring, kind, and empathetic, just to name a few of their traits. I’m unbelievably proud of them.
So, on this June 1st, instead of just beginning the journey, it has now concluded.
Well, sort of. I will always be here for my kids no matter how old they get or what problems they may have… I still want to help them in any way I can, and they’re even still living here, at least for now. I’m not rushing them out the door or anything… quite the opposite… but, it does feel a little different, now.
It feels like I completed a job. The job was to raise them to adulthood, and I did it. Our love for each other will keep us linked forever, but it does feel like it’s time for me to let go a little and focus on where I go from here.