This is the final post in the Relationship with Self part of the Biblical Relationships series. This is an interview, done via email, with my mom, Kathleen Guire, about the issues I had with gender while growing up. My questions are in italics and her answers are presented with only minimal proofreading. If you haven't read the previous posts from this series, I strongly recommend doing so! Start with Monday of this week.

Interview with Kathleen Guire:

1. Did you ever feel like there was something wrong with me? Did it scare you? Why or why not?

Most of the time I didn’t but I had sporadic doubts especially after spending time with friends and family who put seeds of doubt in my mind.  It was hard to think something was wrong with you because you were so full of life, so determined and the boy-wanna-be didn’t dominate everything.  It was a layer on top of you for awhile.  I could see YOU and all of your gifts and talents shining through even when you micro-focused on being a boy.
You seemed to have a strong sense of who you were in your core being.

2. What kind of response did you get from friends and family about the way I dressed and behaved?

Most people thought it was strange that I let you dress the way you did and wear your hair short.  My family chided me.  My sister Anne fought with me, you and wept every time we went to her shop for haircuts.  You whispered to her that you wanted a buzz cut.  She called me up to the chair and cried when she told me that she wasn’t going to cut your hair that short. It amazed me that she had this reaction.  She was a flannel-shirt-jeans-wearing tomboy when she was young.  You cried when you didn’t get your way.  I stood in as peace maker and helped find a compromise, no buzzing, just a cute bob. [Audrey’s note: I remember never being happy about this compromise at the time, but only being occasionally frustrated about hair length in the interim between haircuts.]

3. Did you ever worry that you were somehow responsible for how I felt?

No, I learned during your infancy that you had a determined spirit, this was just one more test of it.  I knew you weren’t miserable all the time.  You were a happy girl and loved to play, along with attempting to run the universe.  I saw your clothing choices and your refusal to be girlie as being independent in a flesh-indulging manner.  

4. One of the earliest stories about me rejecting “girl toys” was so early that it’s not even a memory for me. Talk about the incident at my 3rd birthday.

When you were three years old, someone who didn’t know you very well got you a barbie as a gift.  When you opened it, you looked at it and said, “A Barbie?  I don’t want this, you can have it Joanna,” and you handed it to her. [Audrey’s note: Joanna is still a best friend of mine, and hopefully not just because of that Barbie.]

5. What made you decide to let me wear boys’ clothes? Did it bother Dad? How and where did you draw the line?
You felt strongly about it.  I didn’t think it was that big of a deal for you to be a tomboy.  I made you wear dresses when it was appropriate, even if you pitched a fit- Easter, Christmas, etc.  I drew the line at boy’s underwear. [Audrey’s note: I only vaguely remember this part, but I apparently asked for them frequently.]

6. Did you worry that I was always miserable?

No.  You weren’t always miserable.  When you were involved in one of your self-made projects- making a movie and interviewing neighborhood kids to be in it, writing stories or scripts, playing in the backyard, riding your bike- you were full of energy and life.  It didn’t matter then that you wanted to be a boy (so you said), your core being was shining through and you had a blast.

7. What things did I say that bothered you the most?

God made a mistake.  Fortunately, I did not believe that and knew you liked to say things for shock value.  Parents sometimes focus on statements kids say about their sexuality and blow it out of proportion, what about when kids say, “God should have made me thin, short, blue-eyed, light skinned, dark skinned, not have a disease or learning disability?”  I used to tell my mother that God hated me because he made me a redheaded, spindly legged, freckle-faced girl.  Kids made fun of me because of my physical attributes so I thought they were right and God must be wrong.  My mother set me straight.

8. Were you ever worried that I would decide I was lesbian or transsexual? 

Only when I listened to the wrong people who thought I was crazy for letting you wear boy shorts and play hockey.

9. How did you pray for me? 

I prayed for you the same way I prayed for all of my children.  I prayed the prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3.  I prayed that God would show you the height and depth and width of His love.  I prayed that you would become a woman of God.  I didn’t focus all kinds of prayer on the matter of you wanting to be a boy until some friends pressured me to pray for you about it. It was at a prayer meeting.  Your father was very upset when I told him what we had prayed for. We both thought you were a wonderful kid with oodles of talent and a bright future.  We weren’t overly concerned about your tomboyish ways.  Other people were.

My dad, at my mom's request, added his thoughts:

I didn’t think there was anything wrong with you being a tomboy.  I grew up in the country where girls wore overalls until they were teens and started caring about the way they looked.  I think you wanted to do boy things to be like me, I was gone a lot and it was a point of connection for you. You were also influenced by your friends who were boys; you wanted to dress like them and play like them- Brock, Joey and Cory.


This is part of a two week series on Biblical Relationships that I'm doing with a network of bloggers! Check out their daily (or almost-daily!) posts on Biblical Relationships at these links!

Kathleen Guire             Tracey Moore               Charli Utt 
    at Positive Adoption      at Building My House       at WV Urban Hippies