“Did you adopt a little girl?” That was a message I got from a very peripheral person in my life (okay, she is a former girlfriend of Rich’s) in my Facebook inbox this morning. I have seen this woman enough over the years that she knew that we had two boys, Harrison and George but, upon searching for, and finding me on Facebook, she was confused by the array of pictures of a (really) cute little girl. I know what you are thinking…poke around my (very public) profile and you will find all sorts of references and well, announcements, about our little transgender princess. Not hard to find. But, for reasons known only to her, she opted to ask me about it instead. I am fine with inquiries about just about anything, so it was not the question that threw me. No, what rattled me was her use of the word “adopt”. I had never thought of it in those terms, but, in effect, I sort of did adopt a little girl.
Adopt, by definition is to choose to take something on as your own which is, actually, precisely what I have done. In fairness, I didn’t really choose to hop aboard this yacht (note: I have decided that my daughter should be at the helm of a yacht as opposed to a ship. It sounds so much cooler. Allow me my thrills, please) but I am now getting comfortable in the stateroom and each day find myself a little less nauseas and a little more comfortable with my sea legs.
I imagine that is kind of the way it feels when one adopts a child from Russia, or China or Nebraska. One day you are (happily enough) living your life one way, and the next day, you get “the call” and voila, you are parenting a person you have never met, without the benefit of real preparation like, oh, I don’t know, having been pregnant for 40 (or, in my case 41.5) weeks. That’s where I found myself. On Sunday (December 11, 2012, to be exact) I was the mother of two boys. On Monday, December 12, 2012, I was suddenly the mother of a boy and a girl. Um, say what?
All of my friends who have girls have had years of preparation for living with, shopping for, relating to and learning how to manage their little female darlings. Not me. One day I was folding piles of boxer shorts( the owners of which was only discernable if I checked the size) and the next, my laundry was overflowing with pinks and purples and other bright, girly colored clothes. Suddenly I had to adopt new laundry practices and start separating colors. The pile of sneakers in the kitchen morphed into stylin’ boots and shoes that were not mine. Hair that had formerly been buzzed off once it got too long to manage was now in need of styling. The closest t-shirts and jeans could no longer be pulled on in haste before heading out the door – now we were creating outfits at 6:30 in the morning. Every “mom of boys” practice that I had finally mastered (yeah, keep telling myself that) was now null and void and all new practices had to be adopted.
Many (well, some) have easily (well, fairly easily) fallen into place. I have learned to build in extra time in the morning to fix the hair, approve the outfit (foreshadow: if her preferred style of dress is any indication of what lies ahead in the teenage years, I am screwed) and help choose the right shoes and earrings. We are still getting into our shopping groove and I am desperately trying to set reasonable precedents in her buying habits, but (okay, total honesty ahead) it is so much more fun shopping with a girl for a girl than with a boy for a boy (don’t judge me) so the adoption of those skills may be a little harder to master. I have faith, however, that with perseverance and practice, we will get the shopping down to a science.