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Caitlyn Jenner through the Eyes of a Child

by Deborah Cruz

The photo above is my favorite of Caitlyn Jenner because I can see a smile. As a mom, I am not perfect. Far from it. I’ve done a lot of things wrong. I’ve yelled.Hell, I’ve roared so loudly that I scared my kids. My kids have been known to blurt out the occasional profanity.Patience is not one of my virtues, not even a little bit. I get grouchy when I get overwhelmed and sometimes I say things that I wish I hadn’t but I love my kids and I’m trying my best to raise good solid, caring, citizens of the world.

I let my kids see me make mistakes and apologize. I let them see me fall and get back up. I let them see that to succeed at anything, it takes a lot of hard work but at the same time, anything is possible if you are willing to do the work. I teach my kids that actions have consequences, lying is a terrible flaw that breaks trust and somethings can’t be undone. I teach them to forgive but remind them that it is impossible to forget so think carefully before you say or do something terrible to someone.

I teach my girls that parental love is unconditional but that life is not fair. Life is cruel and hard at times. People can be mean and small minded. They know this is not how we choose to live. I try to open their minds and hearts to everything because there is so much wonderful to see in the world and by narrowing their capacity for caring, I am minimizing their chance for happiness.

When I saw Caitlyn Jenner on the Cover of Vanity Fair on Monday, my first thought was, “She did it. She can finally be herself.” That is huge for anyone but especially for someone who has been living life in the wrong body for 65 years.

It takes balls (no pun intended) to transform. But to do it when your life is lived so publicly takes a special kind of bravery and courage because you know, for a fact, that the entire world is judging you. The entire world is watching and, in most cases, waiting for you to fail.

Most people would have just given up on the dream of living the way they wanted because 65-years-old is pretty late in life to start over. It’s retirement age. I guess in that way it is the perfect time to start living for yourself. She earned it.

I found it sickening how this momentous occasion was reduced to, “Wow! She looks amazing!” Caitlyn Jenner does look amazing but even if she was the ugliest woman alive, she was finally a woman. She was finally living in the skin that she felt comfortable in. This whole thing was not about vanity. It was about living the life you are meant to live because without doing so; you are not living at all. Why society feels that it is okay to reduce everything about women down to what lies between our legs, the size of our asses and what we look like rather than our earned accomplishments is beyond me.

I am very open with my girls about everything because I don’t think hiding reality from them is doing them any favors. They are Latina and female and one day they will be Latina women, which means no matter how you slice it, they will always be a minority.

They are 8 and 10-years-old and they already understand what many adults are unwilling to accept; that people are male and female and sometimes the outsides don’t match the insides, all people love differently, people look differently, people worship differently, people come from different countries, speak different languages but they know that we all share one very important trait…we are all humans and deserve to be treated with respect and human kindness.

I am trying my best to raise good people. Children who are tolerant, understanding and accepting of differences. I want my children to recognize differences and embrace them. I don’t believe in a blind world but I do believe in a world where we can love one another for who we are as human beings and what race we are, who we worship, who we love or where we come from should not factor into that equation. I want my children to see deeper than just what people “appear” to be because I want them to see each person they meet as an individual. This is how I am raising my daughters.

They’ve been following the Caitlyn Jenner story with me and I explained that Bruce was born in a man’s body but has always felt like a woman on the inside. I explained it by asking them if they were born into a boy’s body how would they feel and what would they do. They said they would be unhappy and feel uncomfortable. I explained that was exactly how Caitlyn has felt for 65 years and they said, “Then he should change his outsides to match his insides.” Children see everything so simply because they have not formed all of the prejudices of the world. They hear that someone is unhappy and they immediately think, “Go find your bliss!” I love that about them.


When I showed them the photos of Caitlyn’s transformation, because they had already seen the photos of him pre-transformation, they both said she looked pretty and they smiled. My oldest said, “ I bet she’s happy now because she looks like what she feels like.” There was no scoffing or snickering or confusion. My girls got it. Caitlyn is who Bruce always was on the inside. They were not baffled or amazed or surprised. They thought it was great and then they went on about their business. As a mom, I feel like I’m doing something right.

I love that they don’t think that Caitlyn Jenner is something to break the Internet or even blow their minds but instead a beautiful metamorphosis of a person into whom she was always meant to be. I love that they think this was no big deal because everyone should be able to go get their happy. I know what a big deal it was but wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could all live in a world where we could be ourselves, get our happy, and no one scoffed or judged?

How would you explain the Caitlyn Jenner transformation to your children?


Photos of Caitlyn Jenner via Vanity Fair

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Andrea B. 2015/06/04 - 11:44 am

This is so beautiful. You’re amazing, mama. Your words and your strength, your ability to break things down to exactly what they are and mean. I love this.

Adela 2015/06/04 - 5:30 pm

Your girls have a head start in being the loving, tolerant women you hope they grow into.

I have no trouble with the transformation of Bruce to Caitlyn. I am struggling with the facial reconstruction. I mention that only because I think it’s an interesting tell on where I personally value identity. I keep wondering if Caitlyn recognizes herself when she looks in the mirror. It’s not about her genitalia or her sexuality, it’s about her smile, her eyes, her face, the soul that peeks out at us when we look in the mirror. I hope she looks in her eyes and says, “There you are. I see you.”


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