Aside from your fourth grade teacher (mine’s name escapes me), your best friend (um, can’t recall) and perhaps what street you lived on (phew, that one I remember – Barrett), what do you remember from when you were ten years old?  Nothing?  Yep, me neither.

I am quite sure that my parents did wonderful things for me and took me to spectacular places. In fact, I think that may even have been the year that we loaded up the family station wagon and drove cross-country for six weeks in the summer, but wouldn’t put money on it.   I am equally confident that my two older brothers had fully embraced the roles of protector (David) and tormentor (Robbie)*, but am only vaguely aware of any specifics other than me reacting to Robbie by way of screaming and my mother saying, “Robbie stop it!” a lot.  It was 1975.  Without the benefit of Google, I would not recall who was president (Ford), what the big movie was (Jaws) and that Paul McCartney was in his Wings phase.  I am fairly sure that my hair was already proving to be the bane of my existence (still is), my bedroom was a vision of yellow, orange &white polka dots and turning double digits was tantamount to utopia.  And that’s all I’ve got.

This begs the question: when she is an adult, how much of this phase of her life (our lives) will Jessie even recall?  What will stand out in her mind?  Will she remember, on her tenth birthday, seeing the article in the paper http://articles.boston.com/2011-12-11/lifestyle/30512365_1_twin-boys-transgender-jonas when her mouth fell open and she realized that she is not the only one?  What about the next day, when she loudly and proudly went into school and told her teacher all about her “secret”?  How will she reminisce about her quick and seamless transition from George to Jessie? What, if anything, will she recall about being George?  Will she, um, be George?

I suspect that, given the turn of events, she will have a better grasp on the memories that make up her past than I have about my own and will recall more about 2012 than I could ever hope to recollect from 1975, even with the aid of Google.  I would further imagine that, given her incredible sense of self, she will be a success at whatever she is doing.  I have long said that with her eye for design her name will be on your ass someday and, if you are wise, you will curry favor now in hopes of being put on the friends and family discount list. (No, really…I’m serious.)

And, while no one can tell me, you or anyone else where she or I, or you, will land, today I am thinking that wherever it is, it will be okay.  I make no promises for tomorrow, though…

*Please note that I have the two best brothers anyone could ever ask for.  Despite Robbie’s torturous past, he has always been a fierce protector of me and my family.  David is so much older than me that we never had anything to fight about.  I love them both and hope that someday they will enlighten me as to what my life was like prior to 1980 which is the furthest back I can seem to recall.

16 thoughts on “Ten

  1. Luckily I caught this post just as I was about to shut down my computer and head home for the evening. Usually when my iPhone ‘blips’ at me to notify me of any important events, and I see that a new post is up on this blog, I find myself stopping in my tracks to read it. Flattering to you, my dear, yes, but oh so annoying to the people who were behind me at that red light last night and commenced to honking at me as I sat there fully absorbed in the last entry. Lucky for them I only made them sit through one cycle of lights…

    That said, I am sure Jessie will remember this time in her life as a very positive and happy memory. With the outpouring of love and support from family and friends, how could it be any different?

  2. I don’t recall much about 10 either, but our youngest children will recall so much more because they have grown up at a time when life is so heavily documented. And those digital pics and phone pics and archived emails etc. will help them remember and also invent memories. Memory is, after all, a slippery thing.

  3. Great post, Julie. I think the only thing I remember from age 10 is the name of my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. MacDonald. She had red hair and showed us a slideshow of traveling around Europe in an old VW bus. But I imagine Jessie will have no problem remembering HER 10th year and how awesome it was to have such supportive and loving parents who trusted her to take the lead.

  4. So lovely and moving and wise…I love all of your pieces but I found this one especially profound, maybe because I’m so aware of how fast time is passing! Beautiful.

    • It is flying by, isn’t it? That said, it is hard to believe that it has only been a few months since this all started! Love you, El.

  5. I’m not sure anyone would want to know what i was experiencing in my 10th year. Suffice it to say that i had a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for all things sad. Our family had taken our first trip to Israel, (during which time our beloved dog died). In Israel, we visited the Yad Vashem. For about a year after that visit all my reading and writing was holocaust focused and I was seriously afraid to take a shower. Impressionable? You bet. Did i survive? Yup. Am i better for it? Hopefully. I think we are all better for everything we experience — regardless of where those experiences take us in the future — if we can be held and loved as Jessie is.

  6. I think that she may not remember the details of events, that is when our memory tends to fail us, but i imagine the theme of what she felt (supported, loved, cared for, accepted unconditionally), will be what she remembers. Believe in that 🙂

  7. i just LOVE this post. When I was ten, we moved from a very small apartment where I shared a tiny room with my two baby sisters. Yes, I mean baby (aged 2 and1). I was really hoping I would have the opportunity to have my own room again but that didn’t happen. But this move meant attending my third school of the year and since we moved in may there really was only about 6 weeks of school left. Luckily, the boy down the street was in my class and helped me study so I can pass the exams.

    I was beginning to write everything that happened in my life. (Unfortunately, those journals are gone forever.) I found solace away from the babies by spending time sitting in the closet with the door closed (they can’t open doors yet) with a flashlight reading or writing.


    • Unless you tell me that you are in your 20’s I am wildly impressed that you recall anything from when you were ten. A shame those journals are gone!

      • nope, 42 on Sunday, I was 10 in 1980, lol that was an impressionable year for me. I remember much more too. My first dream about someone else came true (creepy) 3 different schools, and the new house.

      • I suppose if I had that much going on when I was ten I would remember it, too. But, then again, I cannot recall what I had for dinner last night so…
        Happy birthday!

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