Yes—Mother’s Day. It brings up all kinds of feelings for people in recovery. We begin with our own mother—she was either a saint or the cause of our troubles. Then as we progress in recovery the story changes: the saint wasn’t so perfect and the bad mother turned out to be human.
We may also struggle on this holiday with being a mother. We think we did it well and are not appreciated or we know we screwed up and we ache with guilt or shame. Or, for some of us, we didn’t get to be a mother and that’s an issue too.
But for all the struggles that we may have I can tell you—even without knowing you—that no matter where you fall on the Mother’s Day angst spectrum you have it easier than Jennifer Finney Boylan. Boylan was a father for six years and a mother for ten years and in-between she was, well—in-between genders.
Yes. When Jenny Boylan was a young Dad she came out as transgender and she transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother. And her family transitioned with her.
I know. You want the rest of this story right now, right? I did too. And so I read Boylan’s new book, “Stuck in the Middle With You.” (Isn’t that a fabulous title for this story?)
The book has just been published and it’s wonderful. The subtitle is, “A memoir of parenting in three genders”. Jenny Boylan’s story is of course interesting—how could it not be. But she does something else that makes this a keeper: she interviews some great people—like Ann Beatty, Richard Russo, Susan Minot—about what being a father/mother is all about.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Go to your local independent bookstore and buy this for your mother, your friend who is a mother and for your self.
Happy Mother’s Day!