Chapter 4: 7th grade

School started back up and our daughter was starting 7th grade/middle school. She was excited to go at first. After awhile, it was harder to get her up and on the bus in time. Sometimes it was just a struggle, just hard to even wake her up. (She would be REALLY ORNERY or just have a really hard time waking up) Other times, she wasn’t feeling well. Sometimes I worried that she had severe anxiety that was making her physically sick. Other times, she had a migraine or a cold, something I could pinpoint.

School was a struggle in general. Grades were slipping.

We got an appointment with a wonderful psychologist and had some testing done. She was ADHD (almost off the charts, no doubt about it) and bipolar. We had to treat the bipolar first.  She started seeing a psychiatrist and started meds.

I still felt like there was some sneaking around. Not so much physically, but online. It was like I still didn’t know my child, like they had this other life online. I would see her post things every now and then that hinted that she was a boy. I didn’t get it. (Even though she had the boyish haircut and had been wearing “guy clothes” for about a year)

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Chapter 3: Getting into trouble

So, now we knew she was gay/lesbian.  No biggie and we told her that. But, there was still something else going on. I still worried about her in general.

* I will remind you to please keep an open mind as you read my blog and try not to judge. There may be more to the story you don’t know and this is only one chapter of the story. We are one year past this chapter now.  I’m just trying to tell the story in its entirety, feelings and all at the time it happened. It’s not always easy to be raw and real. *

We were prepared to stick up for her and back her up if necessary. We knew that other parents weren’t as supportive, especially in the church. A friend of hers came out to her parents about a year later. They were not supportive and she had to meet with her bishop often and was basically told to “pray away the gay”. The few people I told about our child, I let them know that that would not be our approach. ( I later found out that this friend was banned from seeing my child because she’a gay and because her parents thought she was a bad influence. It broke my heart. They “like” each other now, but will probably never be together)

We were advised (by a therapist) to check her phone, that she should be turning it in every night and not have access to it all night long. (Good advice for all kids, not because we thought she was a bad kid) All parents should know what’s on their children’s phones and if they have a smart phone, access should be limited (time and content).

What we found was a little much for a 12 year old. I felt like I didn’t know her, like she had this secret life. I was concerned with a few pictures and things she was looking up. Yes, I’m being a bit vague, I won’t go into details. It wasn’t the absolute worst you could think of, but there were things that weren’t age appropriate. There seemed to be a lot of attitude/anger in her pictures. Then there was the video of her and her friends antagonizing and basically bullying a boy. That was pretty disappointing. She said that some of the inappropriate content on her phone was her friends’. We also learned that her friend wasn’t allowed to use certain apps and she had been using them on our daughter’s phone.

We didn’t feel like we could trust her. She felt like she was sneaking around  and not making very good choices. She was grounded most of the summer. (For her phone and behavior)

Somewhere I learned she was pansexual. I had never heard of it. I had to Google it. I still didn’t really understand it. Honestly, I started thinking, “Is this all a trend, is it a fad, are her friends a bad influence? I found it a little odd that all her friends were either gay, bi or pansexual. Later we found out she also had a trans friend. I also thought “She’s so young!” She was 12 at the time. We thought maybe she was just following the crowd. (And this was all so new to me and my husband)

She started seeing a therapist that I thought was a really good fit for her. She seemed “cool” and specifically dealt with LGBT kids. (We didn’t want to change her, just help her, she also struggled with anxiety/depression).

She only saw her once and then the therapist left the office. I found out my daughter didn’t care for her anyway.

Not much changed, I felt like I was losing her. I tried to understand, I tried to show her that I loved her. I didn’t feel like she loved me. I tried to be as open and understanding as possible. We used to be so close and now she just wanted to be with her friends. I just wanted her to make good choices. I didn’t want to lose her to the world if that makes sense.

I just wanted her to be a 12 year old. 😭💔

Chapter 2: How it all began; the phone call

I started worrying about our youngest daughter when she was about 11. I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, I just worried. I could tell she was struggling, but I wasn’t sure with what or how to help her. She seemed to have ADHD and possibly some form of Autism like her brother. We had tried meds for ADHD and they didn’t work. The patch made her break out in hives and the pills made her more hyperactive. So we went without for awhile.

She struggled with school, she struggled to get up in the morning to get to school.

One day near the end of 6th grade, I received an email from her teacher. She wanted to discuss a few concerns. It was urgent and she couldn’t email me about it, we needed to talk on the phone. Next thing I knew, it had escalated and the principal (or vice) needed to be involved with the phone call.

I don’t remember the whole conversation.  There were 3 issues/concerns.

1- A drawing had been found that was suicidal in nature. It was found on our daughter’s desk. It wasn’t clear if it was someone else suggesting that she should kill herself or if she felt suicidal. Either way, not cool!

2- Another parent had called the school, concerned that our daughter might have a crush on another girl. There was also concern that our daughter was holding hands and hugging her best friend at school. (Insert sarcastic gasp) I’m sorry, bUT that didn’t concern me one bit! I honestly tried not to laugh. I didn’t get what the big deal was.

3- I honestly can’t think what the 3rd thing was. Maybe #2 was 2 parts, or maybe the teacher couldn’t even remember the 3rd thing. That sounds about right. 😕

I filled my husband in and we both agreed that we didn’t see an issue with her holding hands or hugging her best friend. 

The suicidal drawing was definitely a concern! We talked to our daughter and she said that someone else had drawn it while at her desk during rotation. It still wasn’t clear if it was aimed towards her or not. We talked about how serious it was and that if she needed help to let us know.

Then we talked about the #2 “issue”. We let her know that we didn’t see a problem with her showing affection to her best friend or other friends (as far as hugging and holding hands). I know I was hugging my friends at her age. So then I asked if she did have a crush on a girl. She shyly said yes. Who? Her best friend. Oh, okay. I had no idea! What happened next was second nature. My husband and I told her that it didn’t bother us and that we loved her no matter what. We welcomed her with open arms. We hugged and we cried. She was validated, loved and accepted. ❤

We had always considered ourselves LGBT allies, still I was so happy and proud with how easily it was for us to accept her, especially my husband.

At one point we learned that she was pansexual. I had to Google it.

 pan·sex·u·al
panˈsekSH(əw)əl/
adjective
1.
not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
noun
1.
a pansexual person.

I still didn’t understand it 100%

We soon set up counseling for her, for anxiety and depression. We told her she could talk about other things as well if she wanted too.

 

Background story: Chapter 1 (Please read first)

Wow, I can’t believe I’m doing this, but here we are. I felt the need to document and share our story, our journey with our youngest child who is LGBT 🏳️‍🌈.

 

First a little background-

We are a fairly traditional family; mom, dad and 3 kids. I’ll let you know right now, we’re not perfect. (Gasp) We deal with things through humor, sarcasm and love. We’re pretty open and honest. We spend a lot of time together as a family, family means everything to us.

We (hubby and I) have a pretty strong Mormon background, but right now we are inactive. We’ve been through the temple, etc. it just didn’t quite feel right anymore. I still think of us as a Mormon family. There are things we believe, things we struggle with and things we just don’t agree with.

 

I will try to unfold our story one chapter at a time. (There are a few chapters to lead us to where we are now)

Please don’t judge us by a certain chapter. Our story isn’t over yet, it’s just begun. I want others to know that they are not alone, that we felt the same way, that we had the same struggles. Therefore, this will be as raw and real as possible. I don’t know all the answers, but I’m learning and growing everyday and in a much better place this past month.