Who Cares?

Want to know what is great about kids?  They aren’t adults.  It is true that they can most definitely be little shits, but all in all, they are usually kinder, less judgmental and way, way, way more accepting than the older (particularly post-pubescent) versions of themselves.

When George transitioned to Jess in the middle of the week in the middle of 4th grade, how many kids cared?  Hmmm, let me think.  Still thinking.  Oh, right…not a one.  In fact, during one of my many, many, many conversations with the school principal (who, by the way, could not possibly have handled it better) I vividly recall her telling me that it wasn’t the kids she was worried about it was, yep, their parents.   And, truth be told; only one parent expressed concern.  Of note is that that parent is the same parent who sent her kid to my child’s 6th birthday party and told her that she could “watch the other kids” swim and have a blast, but they had plans afterward so she didn’t want her hair messed up…so, um, there you have it.

Perhaps you have caught wind of the national conversation regarding transgenders’ use of bathrooms in public places. Or, if you have not, perhaps you have been in a coma or had exactly zero access to tv, radio, internet or another human being.  And, it is possible that you think that the ban is appropriate, although given the fact that you read this blog, I suspect otherwise.  Either way, I view this as a great time for us judgie, fearful, mis- and uninformed grown-ups to take a page from kiddos’ playbooks and ask ourselves: who cares?

In all my bathroom experiences (of which there have beenmany: I am, after all, a woman of a certain age) I have never:

  • Been in one that did not have stalls. In “female” restrooms, trough peeing is generally frowned upon and, from my admittedly unscientific research, even men’s rooms with urinals have stalls for the urgent poop or the pee-er with stage fright.
  • Seen one single solitary vagina other than my own, and even that I don’t really see. I mean, really.
  • Felt uncomfortable for any reason other than having the bad luck of being the next visitor after a poor soul had their bowels explode. And trust me; it was no better for her having to make eye contact with me on her way out.
  • Lingered one moment longer than was necessary to empty my bladder, wash my hands and fiddle with my hair. Okay, there’s been the occasional lipstick application and chat with other bathroom goers, but it is generally a wham bam thank you ma’am experience.

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I have, however:

  • Emptied my bladder. And, in situations under which I had no control (Chipotle, anyone?) had to go #2.
  • Waited on line, often with adults who have children doing the I’m-going-to-cross-my-legs-and-jump-up-and-down-and-hold-my-crotch-while-whining-so-I-don’t-pee-in-my-pants dance, during which I have always given up my spot on the queue because, well, voiding and evacuating are done in private. Duh.
  • Waited until midstream to check for toilet paper only to discover none. One would think that would only happen once, but, well, whatever.

As for the rampant issue with molestation in the bathroom and everyone’s fear of such?  Well, here are my thoughts on that:

  • Implement a hard and fast rule: no one ever goes in the bathroom alone, anywhere, anytime, anyplace, no exceptions, Problem solved.

Listen, I am not so naïve as to not understand the trepidation.  I am not insensitive to anyone’s fear of the unknown.  In fact, I personally have so many fears of so many unknowns that one could, and maybe has, called it a full blown neurosis, but, but, but please consider focusing on something more important that could ever possibly effect you or your children.  I, for one, would be much more concerned about the person next to me with a handgun in her purse, or the drug addicted fellow who is so desperate for his next high that he will attack you for your wallet or the registered sex offender who is hanging out at the town playground.  Could any of them be transgender?  Sure.  But, and of this I can assure you, they are not packing heat, looking for their next hit or eyeing your little cherub because they are transgender.  No way. No how.

Kids don’t care if you have a penis or a vagina.  I am pretty confident they wouldn’t care if you peed out your nose.  They do care, however, if you are an asshole and, might I point out, their asshole radar is spectacular.

So, next time you have to pee in public, go in, do your business and stop worrying about other people and their parts.  Or, hold your bladder and bowel until you explode all over Home Depot which, for me, anyway, would be way worse than sharing a bathroom with someone who is transgender.

 

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You’ve Got To Have Friends

Old friends are great.  I love my old friends.  In fact, some of my best friends are old friends.  It’s great: we have a shared history replete with awesome, gruesome, hysterical, heartbreaking, unforgettable and ridiculous experiences.  I met some when we were kids walking to elementary school (uphill both ways), or at Mass Ski Club when our parents dropped us off at the Howard Johnson’s at 5 a.m. and collected us at 7 at night.  Or in high school while we were hanging out in the smoking lounge (not all of us smoking…but it was the 80s) or in college somewhere on Caroline Street in Saratoga, most likely with a few LI Iced Teas and chili dogs on board. Others I formed an immediate kinship with as a young parent trying to navigate, negotiate and tolerate toddlers who would go on to spend the next twelve years going through school, complete with the myriad issues that arose on the daily. Or my work friends who, back in the day, I spent more time with than anyone.  Many of those people are now CVS/Marshall’s pals; you know, the folks you bump into after only having seen them on Facebook for months, maybe years, but wind up having a perfectly wonderful chat together in the store aisle – often for nearly an hour.  Time has passed, but your friendship has, albeit in a different incarnation, survived the test of time.

 

New friends, however, are pretty spectacular in their own right.  When you are a full-fledged adult and make a new acquaintance you are in an enviable position: you can pick and choose with whom you would like to embark on the friendship road.  Your meetings are more likely to be in  places you have chosen as opposed to the spots which you frequent out of necessity…soccer games in the pouring rain, anybody? And. It.Is.Awesome.

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Of note, and this is important: I cherish all of my old friends.  Without them, I would never have been able to grow from point A to point B.  I most assuredly would have crumbled under the pressure of attempting (sometimes in vain) to be a successful daughter, partner, mother, sister, friend and employee.  Had they not been old friends, just the time I would be forced to spend just to bring them up to speed and fill them in on all the players and backstories would  be too arduous for me.  My old friends have, and will continue to be, my most precious commodity.

 

I’m lucky in that lately I have made some truly wonderful friends.  Women I never would have met had my marital status, living and work situations remained intact and stable as they had been since the 90s.  I’ve met them at the gym, at synagogue, at the supermarket, through mutual friends and by Googling: “transgender” in my town.  They are married, divorced, parents, empty-nesters, widows, employed and unemployed.  Some have two living parents, others are not as fortunate.  There are locals, transplants and returning to their roots gals all mixed in.  So, too, are they tall, short, skinny (the bitch), dying their gray or letting it go. Women with kids in preschool, college and everything in between and beyond.  They are grandmothers (young, smoking hot grandmothers, but grandmothers nonetheless).  They have never married, are happily married, not so happily married, divorced.  One was even just starting to flex her, “I am woman hear me roar” strength in leaving her husband only to suddenly find herself a widow instead.  And they all rock.

 

Making new girlfriends at this age is to be celebrated.  The occasions under which you meet are different – they are more full of choice and less a matter of circumstance.  You each bring to the table your own history, expectations, learned-the-hard-way experiences and are better in tune to the “conditions” under which you are willing, at your advanced age, to engage in an open and honest relationship.  It’s kinda like dating without the fear, anticipation, horror and angst at potentially getting naked.

 

Admittedly, my repository for new blood (as it were) came easy.  I am in a new community, with a new partner, a new home and, hopefully sometime soon, a new job.  I arrived with my abundance of baggage (physical and emotional) and am, with open arms and an open heart, building a new circle of women.  These women have, in the few years that I have been migrating this way, made it clear that I’m going to be well taken care of.

 

I will never stop loving, appreciating and depending upon my old friends.  You know who you are. I am enormously grateful to my new bitches, too.  Julie, Becky, Nancy, Rachel, Jill and Sue, not to mention my beautiful, in every sense of the word, new mother- and sister-in law, Susy and Fannie, respectively.

 

We all need to enjoy and embrace the process of life.  One moment you can be sitting back thinking, “I got this” and the very next, all hell breaks loose.  It can and will happen on a dime.  There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime.  Enjoy every single one of them, every day, beautiful ladies.

I See…

Most of the things our kids do “behind our backs” are not good.  If they were good, I’d argue, they would be doing them in front of our backs and not, instead, in secret with the fear of being caught perched atop their heads.  Sometimes, however, the things that our kids do without our knowledge not only catch us off guard, but are utterly fantastic.

Last week I turned the very unspectacular age of 51.  I’m generally a terrible birthday girl and more often than not, wind up in tears for one reason or another; some are legit others I blame on hormones.  Anyway, this birthday started off with the youngest of my son-to-be stepsons having some, shall we say, fairly significant stomach issues.  Vomit, sofas and carpets were involved.  Swell.  Trying to be supportive while keeping my distance and willing away the fears of rampant contagions travelling through the house, I embraced the fact that, at least this year, my birthday tears would be warranted.

And then Harrison FaceTimed me.

I answered the call, and up popped his bearded face*, all smiles.  I felt better already.  He wished me a happy birthday, asked what I was doing (avoiding vomit) and then, with a hesitation in his voice that only a mother can sense, told me that he had something to tell me.  Again I say, swell.

“So”, he began.  “I’ve been working on something for about six months and I am finally ready to tell you about it”.  (He was talking too slowly.  I felt a wave of nausea pass over me, bracing myself) “There is something that I know you really really really want but will never ever ever do for yourself.” (Okay, I’m listening…) “While I was home last semester and you thought all I was doing was imprinting my ass into the sofa**, I was actually stalking your Facebook page, your blog, your LinkedIn so that I could get the word out to as many people that you know as possible.” (What word?  Aren’t I the one who is supposed to be stalking you? Still talking too slowly!)  He continued: “I set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to get you Lasik…and now we can do it!” (WHA???? OMG, NFW, WOOT WOOT!)

I was so touched.  I was so overwhelmed.  I was so proud that I’d raised him to be such a kind and generous soul.  And. I. Was. So. Psyched!

And then, because I am me, I pelted him with questions.  He laughed and directed me to the page so that I could see for myself.  His letter made me cry.  Like good cry.  Like not the lame ass birthday cry I always have, but a cry because his words (which, if we are being honest, he had not been using aloud for the past several months) were music to this mother’s ears.

My kids do not generally keep much from me.  We are pretty rock solid.  However, if that which they are sneaking around doing is something as fantastic as this, I’m down with it.

To those of you who so generously donated: thank you from the bottom of my heart and the pupil of my eyes.  I’m touched beyond measure.  I need to find a way to properly thank you, but consider this a start.

I really am blessed.  (And ridiculously excited!)  Here’s to being able to see my clock in the middle of the night…

p.s. If you have a Lasik horror story, I beg you to keep it to yourself.  I am anxious and neurotic enough.

 

*He’s had the beard for years, but I am still a little bit surprised every time I see him that he is, well, a man.  Here’s a picture of him with his first beard.

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**That’s true.  But he did so while listening to lectures, studying and becoming an EMT, so it wasn’t for naught.  Oh, and here he is now:

hjrbeard