All in day’s work…

Note: I meant (and tried) to post this last night.  After a night out with the girls I arrived home to find everyone asleep, including my internet connection.  Today is a new day (thank G-d) and my internet seems to have come back to life (again, thank G-d)…

I knew better than to exhale.  I repeatedly remind myself to remember that this is a work in progress and that there will likely be many instances of one step forward, two steps back.  I have drilled into my head that I have no control over anything as well as the fact that I have no idea what each new hour might bring.  Yet, I allowed myself the luxury of feeling pretty good about things.  Dope.

Nothing dramatic has happened, and nothing has changed, yet this afternoon included a few hours (which is a “few” too many) of the crap reminiscent of life with George (n.c.i.) and, despite my most valiant efforts, I am left feeling more vulnerable than I have in a while.  It started with a call from an “879” number (for the uninformed, 879 is the prefix of the many numbers attached to the school) just around the time of the closing bell.  Damn it.  It was a friendly voice on the other side (it is always a friendly voice) who immediately asked if I had a minute.  Not a second, but a minute.  I know from experience that when I am asked by a school-type person if I have a minute, it really means several minutes and it also not a call to check in on me.  Resisting the urge to say, “no, in fact I don’t…why don’t you try Rich?” I answered in the affirmative and settled in for yet another as yet unknown piece of information.

The specifics of what happened will remain private.  I had written about them in slim detail, but when I asked Jessie how she felt about me sharing today’s issue, she, for the first time, asked that I not write about it.  I have always said that I will never write about something that will in any way upset or compromise my kids or my family, and I intend to uphold that promise.  The details don’t really matter, rather, it is the thinking they encouraged which are the real story.

After being filled in and given the opportunity to bat things around with my therapist, I found myself again in that constant internal battle I have over distinguishing between that which is related to having identified as transgender and that which is more everyday growing pains.  I am acutely aware that while she has settled into the very routine that we all craved, she is suddenly feeling ill at ease. The first few weeks of her social transition were remarkably smooth and without incident.  She was constantly under the watchful eye of her parents, her teachers and, to an only slightly lesser extent, her friends.  Things have settled in and now it is almost as though she doesn’t quite know how to maneuver her life without drama.  I liken it to the feeling I had about six months after my run in with cancer.  I had been doted upon, cared for, paid attention to and shown love in such great quantity, that when it was evident that we had made it through and the attention (appropriately) dwindled away I was left feeling lonely, sad and a little bit lost.    I went from being foremost on people’s mind to having proven my strength thereby enabling everyone to move on.  Perhaps that is how Jessie is feeling now?  I know intellectually that no one can answer that question.  I know emotionally , however, that I really wish someone could.

Now, with the day coming to an official end, I am feeling like I can exhale a little bit, but not all the way.  I see that we took one step forward but only one step back, so we are actually pretty much where we left off.  The benefit of a few hours out with the girls has brought me back to an okay place.  (And I am sure the margarita didn’t hurt).

22 thoughts on “All in day’s work…

  1. as you uphold constant respect and protection for your entire family, I continue to be very in awe of the ability to sustain the highest level of integrity while still richly committing to your full expression of what is unfolding within you and around you. sorry for the oddly run on and on sentence.

  2. Oh poo, I am so sorry, you guys have left the honeymoon period. It sure is nice when it is that time. You described it perfectly, and your adorable little bride, I mean 10 year old will bounce back and become the average little girl she is supposed to be. She won’t be perfect and she won’t be a monster, she will be Jessie, keeping you laughing, wanting to tear your hair out (not hers because you need it to grow) and wanting to hug her to pieces all within minutes. And, damn that roller coaster is margarita inducing. Cheers to you, mama. And, by the way, why the hell don’t they call Rich? Next year I am going to put ONLY my husband’s number on every school form. We’ll see how that goes.

    • That is brilliant! I say all us mom’s put dad’s cell number down as the only one. Nah…won’t work. It is rollercoastery here, but today is another day!

  3. A good lesson you identify at the end there…..getting out with friends helped. I’m glad you do that for yoruself, Julie.

  4. Good topic for a post, and well put.

    A few weeks ago, Grace had a fever for a couple of days and was the recipient of moderate TLC. After she was back on her feet, she said to me, “It’s sad when it’s all over. I like that feeling of being extra cared for.”

    This is definitely a universal feeling. I know I felt it after the birth of my first child, when the drama of the birth was over and suddenly all the care was going to him.

    It can be a lonely feeling, but I think it’s okay to periodically feel this for whatever reason. Perhaps it increases our (and our children’s) self-reliance, which is a hallmark of adulthood.

  5. As always, Julie, I love the way you write. You capture such universal emotions that we all go through as parents, and write about them with honesty, sensitivity and of course, humor! I, too, was the recipient of the dreaded school phone call today. I immediately feel like I’m in trouble! I,too, also am a great believer in the healing power of nights out with the girls, and margaritas!

  6. Julie,

    For most people, the time spent in any given day to gender self awareness is but a fraction, and this awareness is not always in the forefront when it does exist. For Jessie, I’m imagining that her awareness is still quite acute, no matter how routine or settled-in things seem to be. As a transgender woman, myself, I can tell you that there has not been one day in the last fifty years when I have not thought of my being transgender. The intellectual/emotional struggle is Jessie’s, as well as yours. And, we’re not even speaking of hormonal influences yet! I’m sure that there is more drama to come :-o. I believe that the transgender issue/everyday growing pains are interrelated, and will never be distinguishable, completely. They never have been for me, anyway. They’re blended, like a perfect margarita :-).


      • Connor? I’m hoping that’s not “n.c.i.” I’ve been called worse things, though.

        I kinda like Chili Con Connie, which goes great with a margarita!!!

        If I can be serious for a second (oops, there it went)…………Really, though, it is rare to have the opportunity to offer my perspective to such a thoughtful and intelligent forum such as this. It’s nice to know that it is appreciated. If, however, I ever get into the realm of TMI, let me know. It’s just that I’ve had a lifetime to (over)think on the subject.

      • OMG…damn auto correct! I don’t know why, but this struck me as funny. I know not the meaning of TMI! I love love love your perspective, CONNIE!

      • Too bad, Julie, that there is no auto correct for gender identity, huh? Or would that be Otto correct?

        Believe it or not, names and pronouns are a big deal in the transgender community, especially among the insecure. I knew that you were not being intentional. Just so you don’t refer to me as “sir” or “dude” or “big guy”. I don’t really like the term “transgender” either, but I’ll still say that I’m
        transgenderiffic sometimes!

      • I am actually hyper aware of the importance of names and pronouns which is why I am so horrified to have called you Connor! Rest assured, I will never refer to you as a dude. Ever.

  7. Julie, KBT forwarded me your article and blog and I have just read every entry to get the whole story! You are such a talented (and fun to read) writer and I think another gift in all this is that you have the ability to warmly and authenticate chronicle the complexities of this transition in a way that helps create understanding, tolerance and connection. Hint: I don’t know Rich, but I think that’s part of why everyone calls you — you are a great communicator! I was very interested to hear your perspective, since I am a mother of a 10 year old intensely creative son who had a box full of girl dresses and pink sandals that he did nearly everything in until he was 9. We always just let him be who he wanted to be, partially because — like Jessie — he has a big personality and I pity the fool who would give him grief over his sparkle purse. Then, at 9 — it was just over. He handed me the clothes one day with disgust, asked for his room to be painted orange, donned track pants and goofy-t-shirts and signed up for basketball. There was a lot of shrugging in my house. I don’t know if he out grew a phase, he’s masking to fit in (not really his style) or trying on a new identity. Like you, we just let him lead and whatever comes next, we’ll jump on the ride because it’s the glorious little spirit inside that matters and that always sparkles. I will say my little sporty boy is still a super talented little baker that makes his own fondant. I hope he doesn’t outgrow this phase! So rock on Rosses! I look forward to reading your adventures and cheering you all on. As the header on my own dusty blog reads “whatever doesn’t kill you provides excellent story value! ” xo

    • Love that…but now I am a little bitter that Jessie has not embraced baking or cooking. This house could sure use someone with those talents.

      We kept on waiting for the day that she would change her preferences, but it clearly never came nor, do I suspect, it ever will.

      So glad you have caught up and hope you continue to stay in touch!

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