During Friday night's two-hour special with Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner said "I am a woman," and, over the course of the night, viewers learned how various members of the Olympic athlete's family reacted when Jenner first shared that truth with them. The first family member we saw was Jenner's sister Pam, then Jenner's biological children, and, at the very end, Jenner's mother Esther spoke about the reality star's transition, and her comments were nothing short of beautiful. As Sawyer interviewed Jenner alongside Pam, the journalist asked what their mother would say. And rather than ask the siblings to imagine her response, we were able to see it for ourselves.
The special cut to Esther, who had the following to say to Jenner: "I want you to be happy, and I love you. I was very proud of you when you stood at that podium in Montreal," she said of his gold medal win at the 1976 Olympics. She continued:
I never thought I could be more proud of you, but I’m learning I can be.
It was a loving, sincere message from a mother to her child, and one that was even more poignant considering the trials trans children have faced when coming out as transgender to their families.
Though Jenner's father is deceased, Sawyer asked what the Olympian and reality star thinks William Jenner would have said. "My dad…wonderful, wonderful human being, but...he loved me. I wish I would have told him. I think it would have been tougher for him than probably anybody," Jenner said. When Sawyer asked what Jenner would have wanted his father to say to him, he simply responded, "That he loves me."
By taking viewers on Jenner's journey, from childhood to his more recent time in the spotlight, ABC gave us a meaningful glimpse into the struggle that the athlete has faced for his entire life. Circling back to Jenner's parents at the end of the interview was just another way of showing that this has been an important part of Jenner's life from the moment he was born, and thankfully, his mother has loved and supported him for just as long.
And, thankfully, it seems as though viewers are following suit.
Editor's Note: Per Jenner’s stated preference, Bustle will continue referring to Jenner using he/his pronouns for the time being. We will follow his lead and make any changes to this policy as needed in the future.