Let me start by saying hi from your future self. Things are pretty easy for you right now. I’m not sure if you realize that. Michael has just entered high school and you’ve just met John, who will become one of your closest friends. You are busy learning how to navigate the high school world as a parent and watching Michael turn into a stranger. Kris is eleven years old, in middle school and just on the cusp of puberty. And Andrew is just nine years old, counting the days until he can join band like his older siblings. You’ve got three kids in three different schools and you feel like you’re spread a bit thin at times but just wait! You are in for the most challenging, rewarding and fun time of your life!!!
After Michael’s punk rock stage complete with skinny jeans, creepers and questionable friends, the roller coaster ride that was Kris’s high school years ending with Andrew entering high school and puberty in the same quiet unassuming way he approaches everything in his life, you will face the biggest challenge of your life when you find out that one of your children is transgender. From that moment on your life will change in such a way that you won’t be able to remember what it was like before. While learning what it means to be transgender, you will struggle with the realization that you did not know this very important detail about your child. You will have the unique opportunity to take a closer look at every single aspect of your life because there will no corner of your life that goes untouched by this revelation. You will question your parenting skills, the authenticity of your family and the memories you’ve made, your relationships with your children……. You will find out who REALLY is there for you and this and this alone will be the greatest challenge you face. The rest will seem as insignificant as Michael’s hair reaching his shoulders sophomore year.
But the rewards? The rewards are amazing! You will learn to LOVE teenagers. (You better- you will spend 13 years parenting teenagers.) You will actually become closer to your children during their teen years and its this bond that will help you all survive the hard times, keeping your family intact. In fact, one of the greatest gifts you will receive is that your family will become so much tighter than you were before. You will weather the storm together and come out on the other side so much stronger. Best of all will be watching two of your children rally around the third in a way you would have never thought possible. And having a front row seat and sometimes supporting role in the transition of your child becoming who he has always known he was- that’s incredible!
And there will be fun. As your family bands together adding Jasmine and CJ to the ranks (and quite seamlessly too, I might add), you will learn to have fun. You will find the humor in most everything and enjoy it to the fullest. You will take to grandparenting like a fish to water. I know, you’re thinking you’re too young to be a grandma and yes, you will be one of the younger grandmas around. There is nothing like the feeling you get when a child looks at you like you hung the moon and added the stars, just for him. Talk about falling in love! If you’re still feeling a little skittish at being called “Grandma”, have no fear. We are still working with CJ to accept (your)my name as Nonna before the new baby is born. The verdict is still out but you won’t care. Remember, you love kids and you are going to absolutely adore grandchildren! Brush up on your Star Wars knowledge and stay current on the newest Disney characters.
The next ten years will be busy and at times they won’t be easy but they are necessary. Every step you take, every funny thing that becomes a memory you will come to laugh at, every struggle that makes you stronger, every tear you cry thinking this is your breaking point- all of these things and more are preparing you for what lies ahead.