My son graduated from university this week. With his ear, lip and tongue piercings, sleeve tattoo, pink hair and purple shirt, he collected his First Class Honours Degree in Creative Writing, bagged the Best Creative Writing Project and the Creating Futures Studentship Prize. They gave him a full scholarship for his MA degree.
My son, aka El Punko, is one of the bravest people I know, even though it sometimes requires a little bitty pill to get him through a prose reading. He transitioned in his teens with the same focus that he now edits the online magazine, Alliterati. If you cannot imagine how much guts that took, he once intervened when a man hit a woman. The man beat him up and no one tried to help. I feel safe saying El Punko is braver than most.
El Punko is compassionate. When he decided to transition, he researched the psychology behind Gender Identity because he knew the second sentence out of my mouth would be, What did I do to cause this? On his graduation trip across Europe, he collected a day pack full of books to bring home to his info junkie step-father. As we take his step-ma around the north of England this week and I see them together, he with his creative mind and she with her mathematical brain, El Punko carrying her bag of gifts for the people back home, he walks to meet her speed, his affection and attachment to her very real. I admire him more for his compassion, than for his bravery or academic excellence.
|The magic begins.|
When I first became his mother, he asked me to be a better person than I’d planned to be. As an infant, he asked this of me. Babies do that. It felt like a burden, in some sense, that there would always be this other person who could call for me in the night, expect me to vanquish whatever lurked under the bed, be it trans-phobia or the loss of his father.
But as we waited to go into the ceremony, I felt that shift in him, like some subterranean plate. He wouldn’t be calling for me in the night anymore. He didn’t need to. And I felt overwhelming joy for him, because I’ve known all along, he can do it on his own.
Congratulations, El Punko. The world is waiting for you.