So many of you know my son, Aiden. His journey of transition and triumph have occupied my writings and my days. He is my role model of resilience and hope. Today, however, I want to celebrate my son, Stefen, who gently and quietly turns 20. He is my role model of unconditional love and acceptance.
I remember a time when Aiden was 12 and Stefen was 9. Both of them golfed in a church tournament. Since Aiden identified female at the time, he received endless compliments and praise for his skill and accuracy. Stefen received an occasional “nice shot”, but none of the accolades that surrounded Aiden. When they golfed together, this seemed to be a repeating pattern. On this day, I wanted to make sure that Stefen knew that he had as much talent and value as Aiden in my eyes, so I checked in with his reaction.
"Hey Stefen, I wanted to ask you something", I began
“Do you feel bad about all the attention that Aiden is getting?” I continued. Stefen turned to me with a puzzled look on his face. “No” he replied.
“Do you feel jealous?” I probed
“Do you feel anything?” I continued
I braced myself hoping to find the right words for his answer. “What do you feel, honey?”
“I feel proud.”
This statement of “pride” very much sums up Stefen’s relationship with his older brother who he continues to support today. And so I celebrate the day my son, Stefen, was born. Without him in my life, my picture of unconditional love and acceptance would take on a whole different meaning. I like the definition that his presence provides my life and I love the spirit he brings to our family. Happy Birthday, Stefen!!