Philip’s Christmas Eve Confession
Anonymous: hey! im planning to come as a transboy to my parents soon… could i request a short ficlet with transboy!philip coming out to a nice n accepting alexander and eliza??
Of course, bby!! <333 I know this ask is kinda old, so if you’ve come out by now, I sure hope it went well and I would love to hear from you! Me and the fam are here to support you! I love you!! <333 (Note: Philip is about 12 or 13 in this fic.)
Philip had thought of at least a million ways to tell his parents. He’d imagined a million situations and thought of every kind of tone he could use.
“Hey, so ya know how you think you have two daughters and three sons? Congratulations! You actually have four sons and one daughter!”
“Mama, Papa, could you call me Philip from now on?”
“Oh, yeah, one more thing before I go to bed! I’m transgender. Okay, night, love you guys!!”
But for all of the situations he imagined, Philip was still too afraid. He wasn’t so sure what, exactly, he was afraid of. He knew his parents wouldn’t throw him out on the streets. He didn’t even think they’d be upset or disappointed or any of the awful reactions that haunted him in his nightmares. He knew his father was bisexual, and that his dad’s best friend, John, was gay, so his parents were already more accepting than some of his friends’ parents, but he was still scared because what if?
It was nearly Christmas and Philip’s anxiety over coming out was getting worse and worse. The idea of possibly getting “girly” toys made it worse, too. Although playing dolls or house with his little sister, Angelica, was fun, he already had enough dolls and dresses and tea sets to last multiple lifetimes.
It was never his parents who gave him these gifts. They always gave him something he really wanted, whether it was a sewing kit or Transformers figurines. As his parents often told him and his siblings, toys had no gender. The kids could play with whatever they pleased and Mama and Papa would support that.
It was his well-intentioned relatives, like Grandmama and Grandpapa and Aunty Angie and Aunty Peggy and Uncle Ren who lovingly doled out the toys that Philip wasn’t much of a fan of. The toys that, even though he believed what his parents told him, that toys are not gendered, reminded him of what he wanted to be and what he was not.
But I am, Philip told himself. I’m as much of a boy as Alex and James and John. I just need to tell them. I just need to tell them, and then they’ll see me for who I am.
Philip felt like an abundance of opportunities kept coming his way, but he was always too nervous to take them.
There was the time when Papa was driving him home from his piano lesson, an easy silence between them.
There was the time when Mama and Papa were snuggled under a blanket in the den, flicking through the channels on the television, his other siblings scattered throughout the house, playing or reading.
There was the time on a snowy Advent Sunday when he was alone with Mama as she clasped a pearl necklace around her pale neck and studied her reflection in the mirror before asking Philip if he’d like a necklace to wear to mass. He simply bit his tongue and shook his head no.
The more time that passed without telling his parents, the worse he felt. Every she and her and use of his birthname sounded like nails on a chalkboard to his ears.
It was Christmas Eve when the next opportunity arose, and, this time, neither Philip himself nor his overwhelming anxiety could stop him from taking it.
It was nearly ten at night when Elf, the movie the family was watching, ended and Mama and Papa told the kids it was time to get ready for bed. Philip went through the motions of brushing his teeth, combing out his hair, and changing into the fuzziest pajamas he had. He said goodnight to his parents and climbed up to the room he and Angie shared. He even got into bed and crawled under the covers.
After a short amount of time passed, he heard Angie’s breathing even out, and he heard the scampering from the room nextdoor, where his three younger brothers slept, slow to a shuffle and then halt all together. He looked at the digital clock on his bedstand. It was 10:45.
Philip got out of bed as quietly as he could. He wrapped the quilt Grandmama had made him when he was born around his shoulders and slipped out of his room and down the stairs.
He found his parents in the living room, murmuring to one another, a notepad and pen in his father’s hand.
“Ma? Da?” He felt like his tiny voice had been shot through a loudspeaker from the way his parents jumped.
“Oh my god!” Mama said, putting her hand to her heart, a smile coming to her face. “You scared us, sweetie.”
“Are you okay, honey?” Papa asked, his brow creased in worry.
“Yeah, uh, what’re you guys doing?” Philip knew he was stalling, but he was also genuinely curious.
Papa winked. “Helping out Santa, that’s what.”
Philip laughed for a few seconds before his smile fell off his face. Was he really doing this? His parents seemed to sense something was up.
“Sweetheart?” Mama said gently. “Do you need to talk with us? Did you have another nightmare?”
His parents knew he had nightmares, but they didn’t know what they were about. Telling them would mean coming out, something he didn’t want to do via explaining a nightmare.
“I, um, have something I need to tell you,” Philip said, biting his lip.
Papa gestured for him to sit on the couch between the two of them. Philip sank down, unconsciously huddling close to his mother, who was always there to comfort him.
He hoped she would still be there for him after he told them this.
“Well, uh,” he started and stopped. His hands were sweating. Did hands usually sweat?
“You can tell us anything,” Papa said, his voice steady and sure.
“Always,” Mama echoed, taking Philip’s little hands in her own.
“I’m not a girl,” Philip whispered.
“Okay,” Papa said. “Do you wanna tell us more?”
“I’m a boy,” Philip said, his voice the slightest bit more confident after being encouraged by Papa.
“Oh, sweetie,” Eliza said, her voice breaking. She pulled Philip close to her. “How long?” she said into his hair. “How long did you know and––” Her voice broke. Why was Mama crying? She pulled away and cupped his face with her hands. “My little baby in pain, all this time, and we––”
“Eliza,” Papa said gently. “It’s okay. It’s all okay. Look, he told us!” Alexander exclaimed, a grin on his face.
He. Philip felt like his insides had suddenly turned multicolor; like he was made of Christmas lights. He was grinning without even being aware of it.
“Oh,” Mama said with a sad chuckle. “Sweetheart, I am so happy you told us. I’m just so sorry if you were in pain all this time and we had no idea.”
“We love you,” Papa said, pulling Philip close to him now. “So, so much. Nothing could ever change that. I’ll do whatever it takes, I’ll even make a million mistakes, just to make this world safe and sound for you. To make you happy.” Papa stroked Philip’s hair and swayed side to side with him pressed against his chest.
When Papa finally let Philip go, Mama took his hands again.
“Do you… Have you chosen a name?”
“Yeah,” Philip said, a bit of anxiety seeping in again. What if they didn’t like his name?
“What is it?” Papa asked.
“Philip,” he said. This was the first time he’d said it to anyone, aside from himself, out loud. “Philip,” he said with more confidence. “For Grandpapa,” he said, referring to Mama’s father.
“It’s beautiful,” Mama whispered. “Just like you.”
Mama and Papa wrapped their arms around Philip, the three of them sitting there in a loving silence for some time. They knew there would be challenges to face, but they were fighters and they had each other. They had no doubt that that would be enough.
For now they simply wanted to celebrate, because on that night a son was born.