It’s deep into night and as I emerge freshly dressed from my evening shower, I do what I always do – push the towels and laundry from the bathroom floor into the hallway, where it will be retrieved and sorted downstairs by someone in the family. My eldest child always leaves all their day clothes – including shoes – on the floor. Tonight the shoes are a set of knock-off vegan Uggs, slippers really, and as I push them aside I think about how carefully I launder our clothes, and how I set out these very slippers to sun-dry and they look good as new, and here they are on a pile on the floor. And I feel a tremendous sense of affection for my teenage children, who are so busy doing the things they care about and don’t do the things that might be convenient for me, like tidy up their shoes of an evening.
My eldest is out as a non-binary person, and so I get to be out as the parent of a non-binary person. This rarely comes up of course, and I only volunteer it when it is helpful. Saturday night in a recovery meeting a woman looked right at me and said,
“Kelly, do you have children?”
“A boy and a girl?”
“No, I have one son, and one child who is non-binary.” This statement is not met with immediate recognition so I add:
” – so neither boy nor girl.”
A beat of confusion, and then – her hand kind of forming a fish-fin in the air swimming at me, my interrogator says,
“Kind of middle of the road,” and smiles.
Easy as that, so.
This particular child, thanks to a new therapist or perhaps more harmonious relations in their social circle, or maybe even the weather, has been happier lately, and more consistently so. They have had a spring in their step and if you’ve had a child suffer depression you know how wonderful those good days are, the days they feel better.
Life is okay.