So easy to slip back into denial. my life won’t change much because my son is transitioning. Shock may return when he actually appears as a woman with half a man’s body, regarded by some as a freak. My beautiful boy, his soul intact, my responses carefully measured by relentless prayers for radical acceptance and love.
The frozen morning stiffens the withering plants,
Change has frightened them almost to death.
I brought the begonias inside to clip
and store in the dark basement till spring.
I will forget them till one April Day
when change hits me again.
They will appear dead as I haul them
upstairs with chilled hands,
but within days, small green leaves
will peek from the soil, refreshed from sleep,
unconcerned with the back and forth of their lives.
I will water, feed, and pray
until yellow , red, white, and salmon blooms
once again float in glass bowl on my table.
Sometimes they come back another color,
a transformation clearly approved
by the Begonia God.
Emily has set up my blog. I went to see “Steve Jobs.” Hated it. Every time Seth Rogan was onscreen, I cried. he always reminds me of my son – adorable, funny, tho Emily as boy was much more handsome. Every day something triggers a meltdown. I guess it will be that way for a long time.
I’m trying to catch up to the blog, pretty far behind, but we will get there.
Sharing this with friends sometimes makes it worse despite their good intentions. They’re concerned for me: I shouldn’t feel guilty, I’ll get through it, it’s his journey, etc. Yes, but – it’s my journey too. It’s personal, it’s weird, it’s time-consuming, and it’s apparently my journey. The Greenwich village perspective is almost too liberal. Even at my most progressive and compassionate, this feels freaky. It’s fine for other people. But me? No, not me. Damn, I hate these lessons in humility, well, specifically, this fucking lesson in humility. It offends my vanity, my sensibility, my vision of reality. And then, when I start the “Why me’s,” I’m reminded, “Why not me?”
Emily is fine with the blog, doesn’t mind going public. Maybe. I’m back to a slightly tilted normalcy, I guess from the trip. But now I feel reluctant to tell- why do people who never see him/her need to know? I’m just so used to sharing everything in the rooms. So far, those who know have been kind and supportive, at least outwardly. They’re probably glad it’s not them. Do I feel shame? Guilt? No, not guilt. I do feel resistance. There are so many important things happening in the world – do I really have to spend time on this? It’s so strange – and time-consuming, and so personal. This is, apparently, my trip, my heart.
My dear, dear child – boy/girl, man/woman, sweet son/daughter, who you were/who you are, light and darkness of my life, love and trial by fire. To watch you emerge from depression, fear, and hiding, can only be a a miracle. The miracle. I will embrace your happiness somehow, and embrace you, Emily.
The driver, on the way to the airport, was a crazy positive guy. He’ll never know how much he helped me when he spoke of the possibility of miracles.
On the plane, 6:00 AM, aching for sleep. The trip is made. What secrets have been revealed about this boy I apparently never knew. He longed for Barbies, loved playing house with Elizabeth as a toddler, often felt strain with his friends’ fathers who challenged his anxiety, played with G. I Joes as though they were dolls (still a better choice than Barbies, I think). Relationships were constant hiding, conflict between the male and female impulses .
The session with the therapist went well. My spouse was open and loving, trying to understand. What’s clear is that we love him and he loves us. I have almost too much information right now, but I’m happy that my boy/man/woman has the support of good people, and that I have access to the information. The question remains – will he go outside as a woman. R insists he go to group, me too. A beginning of emergence, find out how he will relate to peers. Something still doesn’t compute for me, I guess it’s his insistence that he never really connected with anyone. I don’t entirely believe that, but certainly there was always a piece missing. Thank God he’s coming out of hiding, refusing to live out the rest of his life in that place of sadness.
Had a meltdown on the plane. Hubby was sweet and supportive; then I went ballistic because there was no food till 4:30 PM. HALT – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. I actually panic when there’s no food. Finally grabbed a sandwich at Starbucks, calmed down.
He looks the same, minus the beard and wearing blue nail polish (nice shade), so the entry was pretty okay, a little teary. He/she is so loving, we are so confused. We voiced some immediate concerns but saving them for the session. The apartment is still male, except the bathroom is somewhat feminized, and there are make-up books on the hamper. His ex and his best friend joined us for more teary hugs and dinner at a cool Indian restaurant. I wondered if the nail polish would get funny looks, prepared my “rock musician” speech. Duh…
The medication gave him the hiccoughs through much of dinner which was disturbing and hilarious. We went back to the apartment and basically had a support group for our son/daughter. They were eloquent and terrific. I feel worse for N – she is losing her lover and gaining…what? R shared his experience
of coming out to his parents – their concerns similar to ours. He loves Emily and is glad she’s not leaving. R was more open than I’ve ever seen him. Emily kept hiccoughing which was comic relief. Tomorrow we meet with the therapist. This will definitely get tougher as the physical changes start, as Emily (thank God, not Ashley, N and i both hated that name) emerges.
Courage, radical acceptance, and love, dear friends..
He has started hormone therapy. It’s good that he’s short, but he’s also broad. Oh God. Should not be noticeable for Christmas. Please, God, one more normal Christmas. She/he loves her PCP, may join a group, which would be a blessing. Her father is holding. We don’t know what to expect. Ever again. From anything. Some fucking golden years. She/he was afraid we would reject him. I nearly said “Never.” I never say “Never.” Love and acceptance. A sedative would be nice once in a while too, but that’s not going to happen, sober way too long for that. Chocolate maybe.