Just because you can’t have a child doesn’t mean you can’t be a mom.
From an early age, I knew I was a woman. I didn’t always know it would be possible to be her… but, I knew that’s who i was. I knew two other things too: I knew I wanted to be an entertainer of some sort, and I knew I wanted to be a mom. So many folks wouldn’t believe there’s a nurturing and motherly side to me, but there really is. I promise. The mother I ended up being wasn’t the one I dreamed of when I was younger, but it’s been the one I needed to be- and possibly the most rewarding. Sure, I’m sure some of you realize that I’m about to write about being a mom to my wonderful fur-children and guess what? You’re right! So today, I’m going to tell the whole story of how I became the Mom I knew I could be, or rather, the Mom I should be.
What some people don’t know is that I was almost a stepmom in my early 20’s. I transitioned at 18 and by 23 I was already entering my third serious relationship. This one was very different though. He had two young children, 4 and 5 years old. I’ve always loved children (and like I said, i wanted to be a Mom) so this was an exciting first adventure to me. These two kids were a huge part of my life. They lived with us every Friday through Sunday, so I spent a great deal of quality time with them. I became very attached. And later, my ex decided we needed to have a dog. A pug. One of his coworkers had a pug, and he felt like he just had to have one too. I was completely against it! I knew that taking care of a puppy was going to fall on me, and I was not up for the challenge. As usual in this relationship though, I didn’t get my way. But, not getting my way this time ended up being the start of one of the biggest blessings in my life. In June 2001, my eight week old pug, Bobo, joined my forever family and became my first child.
Bobo was a handful from the jump off, but she quickly became my soulmate. The children I was helping co-parent were semi-dependent on me… but not to the same degree this little helpless pug was. I know some people think that comparing a dog to human children is ludicrous… but this is MY story! She was mine. She was with me all week and needed me for every single thing. My ex and I were in the second year of our relationship when we finally broke up. I was heartbroken. Not only was I a young trans woman in a new city and estranged from my family back in Mississippi, but I was having my new family completely ripped away from me. I was devastated. I was in such a bad place I even had to enter therapy for a while. The good news about the breakup, however, was Bobo went with me. If you’d have asked me at the time, I’d have told you that my life was over. But if I’m telling you straight right now, I’m blessed it ended up how it did. I wouldn’t have had it any other way or we would have ended up in doggy divorce court.
Bobo was a super playful and hyper puppy. She rarely calmed down. Everyone kept telling me that I should get her a little brother or sister and that would help her by having someone to always be and play with. Well what happened next was just meant to be. I wasn’t looking for another dog, but I guess you can say it was love at first sight when I saw a tiny little chihuahua with huge ears in the back of a pick up truck in Deep Ellum. I knew immediately he was meant to go home with me. That is how Gus came to be the second love of my life.
The years and years of memories I’ve created with these two is something that I’ll have forever. I’m blessed. I’ve been a mom for the past 18 years, and it’s the best and most rewarding feeling in the world. These weren’t puppys or dogs. They were children.. My children and my babies. And even thought I didn’t know it at the time, these children needed me… and I needed them just as bad. They rescued me from a world of loneliness and were always there for me and loved me no matter what. They loved me at times when I felt like no one else did.
On January 7, 2017, Bobo passed and went over the rainbow bridge to doggy heaven. She had an amazing life. Losing her was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. She left a huge gap in my life. Gus also felt the pain of her loss. He stopped eating and was visibly depressed, so much so that I took him to the vet because I didn’t want this to be one of those situations where you lose one and then the other follows soon after. Eventually we got his depression under control, and I started taking him everywhere with me. I have a big handbag (doggie bag that looks chic) that he completely loves lounging in, so toting him around town is quite easy. He actually just went on his first plane ride last week to Seattle and joined us for a family vacation. He did amazing and went everywhere with us…. except the drag show. I’m sure people see me constantly posting about him on Instagram and Facebook, and that’s because he’s such a central part of my life! He came to live with me at 8 weeks old and will be celebrating his 17th birthday on July 21. I think I’m even going to throw him a birthday party! He deserves it.
So why am I writing this…. Life for a transgender person can be an extremely lonely one. I’ve experienced it all. I’ve been involved with the ones who were ashamed of me, the ones who only saw me as a fantasy, and the ones who treated me like I was lucky they would even have anything to do with me. After everything I’ve been through, the one constant was the relationship I’ve had with my dogs Bobo and Gus. I never thought I would be a mom, but I ended up being a mom not only once, but twice! I love my babies more than anything in this world. So to bring this to a close, don’t ever let another human treat you like shit or less than you deserve. My advice is to get a fur baby and love that angel with everything you have. I think trans parents have the potential to be some of the best parents. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give and the gift you will get in return, that unbreakable love, is something that will change your life. And once you have learned to love and love yourself, you never know when the right person might show up and love you and your child. Trust me.