We’re at the checkout lane closest to the north door at the supermarket and I turn and ask my oldest child, “Is it time we look into top surgery?” “Yes,” he tells me simply.
Parenting a trans child is amazing. It’s nothing like what I thought it would be. But back in the day I didn’t think anything particularly well-informed or progressive and I didn’t think about it much at all, damn my eyes. Like so many, I was pretty ignorant and (I’m not proud to say) I didn’t see much relevancy in learning more. Since Beeps came out I’ve made up for lost time, sure.
I’m glad I did.
It’s like a gift because, even while we were raising this child as a girl, he still came to know the rules and routines of boyhood and manhood well. You’ve gotta learn that landscape or you risk great peril. It’s a man’s world, damn it all. So Beeps – just like I! – we know well and so much of a man’s way of things. We know their rules and their mores; we know their expectations and agreed-upon codes. We know how to do their laundry and find their haircuts and make their appointments and we know a lot of their body language and their often hostile landscape because unlike men, we couldn’t afford to be ignorant.
But now my child steps away from me, out of the aisle we walked side by side together. They are no longer watching men and caretaking men and protecting themselves – as I do! – they are a young man themselves and they get a little more freedom soon. To see my child reach out and claim this masculine world as their own, it’s indescribable. From those “little” things like his first binder and his shift to different underwear (“These are the best,” he tells me with those tiger eyes and that sedate smile as he pushes the legs of his boxer shorts – fruit prints, cheerful pineapples and lemons – deep into his jeans while dressing. Bent at the waist and efficiently adjusting himself in the same movements I’ve seen his father make and I look away and my eyes sting with tears), to the bigger things like shaving his head; like responding in public when I say, “boys” aloud to the two of my children.
I see those little pains too. He cannot yet enter a men’s restroom due to a (reasonable) fear of violence. We have to make different plans there, when out in public. The T will change that, is changing that – but it’s a process. He is not yet fully in the world or rather the world won’t give him a comfortable place although the world, too, is changing.
So there are some clouds that flit across the sky now and then but most days are absolute joy, it is like a playfield, and the world is very fresh and very special. This afternoon we’re standing in the aisle and examining the men’s deodorants. Names like “Wolfthorn” and “Power Fresh” and “Pure Sport” and “Iced Musk & Ginger”. Beeps is not at all embarrassed about second puberty – quite the opposite, he is frank and forthcoming and impressively educated. But he is and has always been so composed that he might ask for something special and you might miss it, might miss how important it is. And I have to pay a great deal of particular attention.
It’s so strange because when I think about this experience, and what’s ahead of us, I just feel so fortunate and at the same times it feels almost unreal. I guess I’m a slow learner. Or maybe the phrase is: slow to assimilate.
It’s a bigger change than I realized.
I am grateful for sleep last night, if it wasn’t great sleep and it wasn’t quite enough. I still got sleep!
I am grateful for sunshine and hot coffee, and time to myself in my house.
I had help with a house deep clean today and the house feels lovely. I also learned more about how to operate the vacuum and that is pretty cool!
I am grateful for a little date with Phoenix today, out on the town. We had a good time together.
I am grateful for food in the fridge, and for a friend who helped us with grocery money this week.
I am grateful for time in the studio and progress made on a special dress. It is going very well and it is a delightful project.
I had a friend ask me for help today and I am glad to be able to say Yes and put it on my calendar.
I am grateful for yoga practice – every day this year!
I am grateful for movie night with friends – we had a good time and the movie wasn’t as bad as I feared.
I am grateful for a hot shower and cozy pajamas and a soft bed.
I am grateful for sleep last night, if it wasn’t the best or longest sleep it was adequate.
Today I was asked to help someone out who couldn’t make a commitment – I am grateful for opportunities to help.
I am grateful for sunshine, and for hot coffee!
I am grateful for yoga practice today, although I was feeling a lot of fatigue. Yoga every day!
I sold a piece today to someone who looked fabulous in it – I am grateful for that!
I am grateful for Ralph who fixed an absolute plumbing horror today!
I am grateful for time in the studio working on a dress, and making good progress.
I am grateful for my recovery, and time with my recovery family today. They teach me so much about strength – and tolerance – and unconditional love.
I am grateful for time with each member of the family, and for lots of cuddles with each too.
I am grateful for a hot shower and cozy pajamas and a soft and safe bed!
I am sad to say fatigue has once again set in. I decided to take a day off today and watch movies and rest. I may do the same tomorrow. It is humbling to be this tired but I had a lot of bloodwork done and have a doctor’s appointment next week. I am grateful for this.
I am grateful for a little sleep last night.
I am grateful for coffee in the morning, and getting to watch some films in bed.
I am grateful for a working computer and working phone and working internet and hot water and washer and dryer and two cars that are running!
I am grateful for an errand with Beeps today; picking up their graduation robe!
I am grateful for a movie date with Phoenix – we watched something very special together. I am grateful for time together, and I am glad I am slowing down to have more time with the kids.
I am grateful for a friend who sent me three patterns in the mail.
I am grateful for a date tonight – to the movies with Ralph!
I am grateful for a delicious (late) dinner – chick’n, gravy, steamed broccoli, and rice!
I am grateful for yoga today – every day this year!
I am grateful for a hot shower and cozy pajamas and time with my partner.
I am grateful for some sleep last night – a little more than lately, so pretty good.
I had enough energy to do a long yoga class – which felt amazing.
I am grateful for coffee, and for the rain outside. I had the windows open and the fresh air and spring rainfall sounds were so delightful.
I am grateful for time with my youngest as I took him to lunch and to get his haircut.
I am grateful to finish up a small writing project today.
I am grateful to have a movie date with Beeps.
I am grateful for the physical affection I receive from my partner and children.
I am grateful for Ralph, and grateful for our time together tonight and this weekend.
I am grateful for B-movie homework, even though sometimes I think I should spend more time on GOOD films!
I am grateful for a hot shower, cozy PJs, and a soft bed.
I am grateful for sleep last night, and waking in a safe and loving home.
I am grateful for my yoga practice. Every day this year!
I am grateful we got all the work I was supposed to do today, finished. I will be honest, today was an overscheduled day and a bit of a slog, but we got through it.
I am grateful my son had a hangout date with his friend – it seems like they had a good time together.
I am grateful for groceries today, for hot coffee with soy milk and for a PB&J before I ran off to my volunteer gig.
I am grateful for affection and TLC from my partner and children.
I am grateful for friends who help me through the day.
I am grateful for a person who sent me money through Paypal today. This cheered me immensely and is incredibly helpful at this time.
I am grateful for my health. Besides my fatigue, I have been very healthy for quite some time and can’t remember my last cold or flu, for which I am grateful!
I am grateful for a cozy bedroom and a special candle and my flowers and homemade quilts. I am grateful for a nurturing home.
I am grateful for a hot shower and cozy PJs and time to snuggle with my partner!
I am grateful for the opportunity to sleep in a bit. I have been underslept and every hour I can get, is so helpful.
I am grateful for hot coffee in the morning, and for my partner and our time together.
I am grateful for a wonderful yoga practice this morning.
I am grateful for my partner. We have had to work really hard lately and it is taking its toll. I am grateful we work well together and I am grateful we also take time for one another.
I am grateful for a working washer and dryer, for cars that are running, for utility bills that are paid.
I am grateful for the family’s good health, and our safety.
I am grateful for a day out in the sun with Ralph and Beeps, while Nels hung out with a friend and watched E3. I am grateful we get to spend time doing the things we love.
I did get into the studio briefly this morning! And I finished some work on the current project. I have been so busy with other concerns (volunteer work, family matters) my studio time has suffered.
I am grateful for my sobriety.
I am grateful for a hot shower, and a cozy bed, and a safe and loving home.