Tapestry

When you can't give your parents grandkids, how do you honour them?

T. Wise’s parents longed for grandkids. But as a trans man, he never saved any eggs before transitioning. Now, he grapples with the question of whether he owes his parents for the years they spent lovingly raising him — and how should he repay them.

Writer T. Wise faces financial and biological barriers to having kids, so he asks, how can he give back?

T. Wise is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, who has struggled with the question: how can he repay the parents who've loved him so much?  (Submitted by T. Wise)

T. Wise said he grew up in a spiritual, loving family. There was just one thing: his parents had hoped for grandkids. And then one day, it appeared to Wise like they had given up.

He found out his mother had thrown away boxes of children's toys and clothes that they'd been saving for the next generation ... finally letting go of the hope that Wise and his sisters would get past their reluctance to become parents. 

"Maybe they thought it would wear off as we all grew into our 30s. But the truth is that it seems like it hasn't," said Wise, who is 31.

His two older sisters never seemed interested in kids, Wise said. They were much more focused on their activism and their work. And that left him, a transgender man, as his parents last hope.

Being the last hope

Wise isn't ready to have kids, he said. Biologically it would be hard — before he transitioned he never saved his eggs. That leaves adoption, which would be a challenge, financially.

Wise is a writer and Jewish educator, and he described his living situation as "month to month." 

"I know logically where I am in my life — I cannot support a child right now," he said.

But he struggles, knowing the emotional impact it's having on his ageing parents.

Wise said his rabbi father and artist mother saw children as a way of bringing joy into the world. They, in turn, wanted to support their children as they go through the same experience. 

I don't take lightly at all that I was told I was loved every single day of my life.- T. Wise

Wise said he's wants to repay his parents for the love and support they've shown him his whole life.  

But that, he says, is the struggle: how to repay the people who've given him so much? 

T. Wise explored the idea in-depth for a BuzzFeed article titled: I'm My Parents' Last Chance For Grandkids. Do I Owe Them?

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