A mama’s pride
Between living the life and
The struggle is real,
Between warm familiarity with who they are and have always been
And shock and awe at who they are discovering themselves to be,
Between unwavering alliance and unflinching questions.

A mama’s pride
Juxtaposes grinding, grueling effort
With the most natural, effortless things I do.

A mama’s pride primps, glitters, spins,
Trips on a litter of frustration and fear.

My child tests the waters beyond the closet door,
then dives heart first into the alphabet soup.
My tentative cheer, true and tumultuous, takes my breath away,
A rainbow mama jolted by rainbow drama.

Sometimes my hackles rise
At a message implied:
Parents are to be seen and not heard
Cliche turned on its head
A tug-of-war between their wisdom and mine.
Between listening cuz they know themself best
And insistence that I can remind them who they are when their vision blurs.
Between honoring their lived queer experience
And teaching through mine — cis and hetero though it may be.

They seek the uniquely undefinable definition of gender-free
Most of the reasons resonate with me
I’ve never cottoned much to fitting what a woman is “supposed” to be

And yet
I can’t completely fathom needing to reject gender to feel free,
Grieve that they’re erasing their name from the woman club with me.
My mind won’t erase that they are my baby girl and will always be.

A hot thought crosses my mind
Absurd resentment threatens to gag me
When she decries I’ve misgendered her —
When they whisper I’ve misgendered them.
Can’t deny my words don’t always comply
A defiant ”Fine! I’ll just close the conversation
Never talk about this child, to this child.”
Tie a hard knot in the tangled mess of yarns woven into my daily life
About the force of nature “she” woven inside of me

To silence the heart-to-hearts would tear us apart.
I refuse to bind my tongue against the ties that bind
So I live with the frustration
Of being called out for a habit as automatic,
As innocuous as
Kids at school calling me “mom”
Or a parent running down the list of names before landing on the right one
Or a verbal trip of “sir” instead of “ma’am”
Because building connection
Is more important than avoiding imperfection
And it’s immature to flinch at the corrections
When I know they come from a desire to be truly seen.

I think my brain will always see “she” as greater than, truer than “they”,
“They” too similar to “it”, not a person, but a thing.

Still, who am I to decide what makes them feel most alive?
Why can’t I ignore the itchy sensation I feel,
Let it go just as easily as last season’s clothes
That no longer fit or the message no longer applies?
They’re just words
And they’re hers after all…
Theirs after all.

You have to wear a shoe to know if it fits
To feel if it scrunches your toes or
Makes you smile to feel your power.

Through all the struggles, all the questions,
Their patient explanations and dogged corrections,
I am always, always on their side.
No matter the aspects of themself they discover and identify
As they grow more into exactly who they are meant to be
I pray that they always feel
My love, my pride
Glow and
Grow unconditionally
Like the biggest rainbow
In the clouds of doubt.