This is my second child, born so quickly, with a head so round, that folks would ask if I had a c-section. I’d take revenge by telling them about the 32 stitches in my backside.
This is my toddler who would get so excited about hugs that she’d curl up in a ball and grin with her whole body.
This is my daughter who drew her first recognizable portrait at the age of 3. It was a preying mantis complete with compound eyes and serrated forelimbs.
This is my child who perfected the art of being still and listening and then dropping into a conversation to skewer you, just when you thought you were being clever.
This is my child who always knew what others were feeling. Who walked through the world almost drowning in empathy.
This is Adeline who wanted to be an illustrator. Who always came home from art class with paint, or graphite, or even colored pencil on her face. Whose idea of heaven was art camp from 9-5 every day for two weeks.
This is Addie whose grandparents refused to use her name when she came out as transgender.
This is my intersex daughter, alone with the bishop, quizzed about her genitals, berated for being too feminine, told over and over that women are inferior. Told that she was an abomination, a sin, an affront to god. Taught emphatically that she will never be acceptable.
This is Adeline, the ex-mormon, who cannot shake all the lessons and interviews that taught her to be disgusted by herself. Who spent six months in the hospital for treatment of dissociation, depression, and anxiety. Who put over a hundred cuts in her arms and legs in one night trying to cause enough physical pain to make the emotional pain go away.
This is my daughter’s grave. One of her drawings is on the headstone. A tiny dragon who is very different from his peers, but still manages to see the world and be delighted.