When is a rose just a rose (or, as Rich prefers: when is a cigar just a cigar – have you ever heard that expression, because I haven’t, but…) and when is a rose really a sign of something else non-roselike? Perhaps more importantly, where is the manual that can definitively make the distinction? (Actually, I could absolutely use that manual for a whole slew of other questions, too. If anyone happens upon it, I will pay handsomely for a copy. Really. I’m serious.)
I pose this question for a reason. Jessie had, over the years, become accustomed to being the center of (often negative) attention. And yes, she is enjoying a newfound happiness, but it comes at a price. While she is more relaxed, more comfortable in her own skin and generally easier to be around, she is likewise, I am sorry to say, slightly (okay, more than slightly) irked that she now has to share the spotlight with her brother a little (okay, a lot) more now than she has for the past, oh I don’t know…ten years. It used to be that one of her meltdown/freak out/episodes would first capture and then deplete our energies. There were challenges at every turn and each one knocked us (well, me mostly) out. Now fewer and further between, when they do occur, I still go to the “what
ifs” that plague me.
Here’s a little visit into my head when a freak out occurs: “ Oh my G-d…what does it mean? What if she is, deep down, in her deepest unconsciousness, regretting her choice? What if she was just kidding and didn’t really want to be a girl? What if Rich and I (like how I put him on the hook with me for this one?) made a terrible mistake in letting her transition socially? What if we just bought all these new (and crazy cute) clothes but she wants her track pants and shit-kickers back?”
Or what if she is just being a brat? While it is ridiculously hard (and by hard I mean virtually impossible) to reconcile that possibility given the history, sometimes it is, joyously, the case. Just the other day, in fact, a totally maniacal child was suddenly inhabiting my house. (Hint: it wasn’t Harrison) She was crying real tears, screaming real screams, and causing real distress (for me, that is) until, in a moment of lucidity (mine) I asked her when was the last time she had eaten. (In my defense, she had been in someone else’s care for the day. I am naming no names.) I dove for the nearby (almost fresh) sourdough loaf, slathered it in butter and watched her inhale it like a college kid on a bong. Crisis averted. A rose was just a rose.
Thinking in terms of Jessie being a brat brings me a peculiar pleasure. Not that I would ever want her to take this on as a predominant personality trait, but the banality of it is, well, refreshing. All kids can be brats. All kids have an obnoxious streak (admittedly, some more than others). All kids freak out about things that surprise us. It is that very normalcy that gives me an unexpected peace.
Now, lest you think I have moved from the paralyzing, crushing fear of the “what ifs”, let me assure you that I have not. But, the knowledge that sometimes a rose (or cigar) is just a rose (or cigar) is working for me. Today.
p.s. Happy, happy not quite 50th birthday to Rich…you’ve been pretty close to a rockstar with all things Jessie. xoxo