When Unconditional Love Becomes the Groundwork for an Authentic Life

MaryRose Denton

MaryRose Denton・June 2, 2021

Becoming a parent for the first time filled me with a jumbled array of emotions—excitement, awe, and even a little worry. Would I do this right? Holding my newborn baby and looking into those deep, dark eyes, I simply fell in love. Everything else fell away. Love became the groundwork in which our new relationship would grow.

Most parents hold expectations for their children—at least, I have not met one who does not. Perhaps it is for our child to be successful in a career and financially prosperous. Perhaps the expectation is for them to love and be loved. Or maybe it is purely the hope that they will grow up to be happy.

We hold onto these expectations mainly because it is what we know, and what has been our path in life. But what if your child is not happy? What if something deeper is brewing, causing them to feel conflict within themselves? These deeper feelings are not always so easily identifiable. At first, they may show up on the surface as surly defiance when really, at the heart of it all, your child is feeling incongruent, incomplete, and very much alone.

Six years ago, my 17-year-old son decided to come out to me. He is transgender (FTM, female-to-male). That night I felt the depth and conviction of unconditional love.

What do you do when the child you have known since birth comes to you, in all their vulnerability, to tell you their truth? In my case, to tell me they are not my daughter but my son?

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