A Wedding Story
Eighteen months ago, I was looking forward to my older son’s wedding. I especially loved the date they chose for the ceremony - 12/31/23, 123,123 - a waltz. I wanted to waltz with my eldest. He is a wonderful dancer.
He only has one brother, and they are close, so I expected his brother would be his best man. However, things have changed since the wedding was announced. His brother will now be a bridesmaid.
Growing up, my youngest son was not feminine in any way. He preferred to wear beige t-shirts and his favorite grey hoodie. He played basketball. His close friends were male and in elementary school he had crushes on two pretty little girls.
When he was in high school, he struggled with mild depression. He was very bright, but not much of a student. He was in the International Baccalaureate program and the feedback from his teachers as that he was terrific in class discussions, but terrible at turning in assignments. He was particularly sad when his girlfriend dumped him for another girl. He had a close group of friends who gathered at our house every week to play Dungeons and Dragons. I enjoyed having them around. They were five nerdy boys who wore old jeans and loose, sloppy hoodies. They were always laughing and arguing. Sometimes they were so loud I thought the neighbors would complain, but I loved the noise.
I thought my son should work for a year before he went away to college, but he tested well and got a full scholarship to the same school his older brother was attending. I did not feel I could say no. He was unhappy there and failed his classes. Within a few years we all ended up in Atlanta - my husband, both boys and me. The boys began to gather at our house to play Dungeons and Dragons with friends, and once again I enjoyed hearing their noise and laughter.
My husband’s drinking became a problem, and he was beginning to be abusive to me. I ran away to my hometown and we divorced a year later. My older son announced his engagement soon after and I began to make plans for the rehearsal dinner, I sent ideas to my ex but I never heard back from him. Eventually he sent me an email saying that “out of respect for his new wife I should only contact him through his lawyer.”
My older son and his fiancé came to support my youngest son when he told me he was a woman. They were overjoyed when I accepted the news calmly. They did not know that my “calm” was a combination of shock and not wanting to talk about a subject I knew little about. I did ask my younger son to explain what it meant to “feel like a woman.” He had no answer. He did tell me that all but one of his high school friends group were “queer” in some way.
I dove into trans-ideology, learning all that I could. I read and listened to information on both sides of the topic. After I read all the medical research I could find, I sent my younger son a letter. I told him men cannot become women. I included some of the research on the damage he is doing to his health by taking estrogen. We had a long telephone discussion and the next day he followed his father’s example and asked me not to contact him.
The next time my older son visited, he tried to convince me that men can be women, but he did not succeed. Before leaving he hugged me and said, “I know we disagree because we both love him so much.” I cling to that. I hope my younger son also knows I am acting out of love. I haven’t heard much from my oldest son since that visit. Just a letter explaining why I was not invited to the wedding. He said I do not share his beliefs and that makes him uncomfortable. I still call and text, but only get an occasional answer from my older son. Nothing from my younger.
As much as I wanted to waltz with the groom, I do not want to see my 6’ 4”, broad shouldered son dressed as a bridesmaid. All four of his grandparents were invited, but they are not attending. My parents told him they were too old to travel. My in-laws said they could not find a hotel room. They have all told me how they worry that my youngest son’s decisions will ruin his life. My father had tears in his eyes when he spoke of the pain of seeing his grandson in a dress.
Will my oldest miss having family there? His brother and probably his father will be there, but that is all, no mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles or first cousins. If they take a photo of the groom’s family there will only be four people in the picture, not thirty-five. Will his brother feel guilty that his choices have kept the rest of us away? Will he realize that the vast majority of his family is pained by his decision to pretend he is a woman? I hope it will cause him to rethink his choices. I hope they both know we all still love them.
During the thirty years of my marriage my family lived in six different cities. We were very happy. I used to keep in touch with many people in those places. I don’t go on Facebook or send emails to those friends anymore. They might ask about my children.
I don’t tell many people here either. When someone asks, I say my children are “in Atlanta.” Which to me is like a far-off land or even the other side of the grave.