By Jennifer Simmons
Ailani and I stayed by the pool most of the afternoon and I steered as far away from as much modern technology as I could. This was the most dreaded day of the year. No day could come close to the patronizing slap in the face that Father’s Day held. Being a single parent is not an easy task on any day of the year. You are the sole provider of everything that your child needs in life. So for Mother’s Day to pass by without so much as a nod was painful enough. Watching countless facebook posts of mom’s tagging every other mom they knew and each one passing me by without even a consideration was a punch to the gut over and over. Now it is Father’s Day and I know that when I go to my room tonight there will be a few missed calls and many unanswered texts wishing me a “Happy Father’s Day!!!!” The evening will end with me in a state of emotional decay crying in the dark.
“PEOPLE ACTED AS IF I DID NOT EARN MY PLACE ON MOTHER’S DAY.”
At the time, Ailani’s biological mother coveted Mother’s day for herself. She would say “That is my day.” She failed to see that her day was already shared with her mother, grandmother, and sister who was pregnant at the time. For some reason I was considered the invader. People acted as if I did not earn my place on Mother’s Day. I was the one who changed all the dirty diapers. It was me who bought and paid for every drop of food and formula. I was the one staying up at all hours of the night when she wouldn’t sleep. When she was learning to talk, it was me that sat with her reading baby books for hours. Somehow because I was born with male anatomy none of this mattered.
This year, Mother’s Day was a huge mystery in my household. I awaited the day with apprehension. This would be the first year that Mandy and I were together. How would we share the day? Would she be defensive of it? Would she get upset if I was upset? In the end I woke up pleasantly surprised to find breakfast in bed and flowers. We sat around reading the news, talking about current events and enjoying the tranquility of the day. She went off to visit her mom for the afternoon and when she returned home that night dinner was made and the house was clean. We both enjoyed our day and went to bed in each other’s arms.
“MANY TRANSGENDER PEOPLE I KNOW ON BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE HAVE STRONG EMOTIONS ABOUT CELEBRATING THE WRONG DAY, BE IT FATHER’S DAY OR MOTHER’S DAY.”
I had a friend of mine ask me if she was alone in the torture of Father’s Day. I told her it is quite the opposite. Many transgender people I know on both sides of the fence have strong emotions about celebrating the wrong day, be it Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Many bite their tongues and go about their renamed day, but everywhere you turn is hordes of people celebrating the wrong gender.
Parenting can be a thankless job at times, so a little validation goes a long way.