There are certain universal truths to parenting. You’ll never love someone else as strongly or as deeply. You’ll never lose as much sleep. Gross bodily functions will lose their “squick” impact through repeated exposure. But they’re still gross. Hugs from your kids will never go out of style. Some parenting experiences are specific to a family’s situation. There are a lot of things I never imagined needing to think about before we became parents to Rose. Last Friday is a case in point. A Day In the Life of Rose 8am-Noon The girls had the day off school for a professional development day. They got to sleep in, watch TV, play video games, and stay in their pajamas for a few hours. An excellent start to a day off. The vibe was relaxed and they were having a good time. Noon-2pm Come lunchtime, I burst Rose’s bubble. I reminded the girls that they had their annual physicals that afternoon. We had two hours to eat, get dressed, and head over. I sat down on the couch next to Rose and walked through a script of what she could expect at the physical. The nurse would take her height and weight measurements. She’ll take her shoes off for that part. She’ll get one shot, part of the vaccine series she’s working on. No big deal, needles don’t phase Rose. The...Read More
Rose got a haircut the other day. She was super excited to get a new look before going back to school. She wanted a pixie cut like her big sister. And oh, how I struggled. We have always taught the girls that their bodies belong to them and no one else. The opportunity to give them a concrete lesson in this first came when Rose’s older sister was four. She had long blond-streaked hair that fell to her waist. She was my first girl, and I loved finding adorable outfits for her and putting her hair in braids and pigtails. I saw parents around me who had rules about their daughter’s hair — they couldn’t cut it, or it had to be a certain length, and they decided what hairstyle their daughter wore for picture day. I was tempted. My kid, my doll, right? But Lily* informed me when she was four that she wanted SHORT hair. She wanted to cut it all off. And we realized that this was our first test. Our first chance as parents of a child who was rapidly becoming old enough to understand imposed gender roles and expectations to show her in no uncertain terms that her body is hers alone. And so I took her to the hairdresser for her first real haircut. It actually took me some doing to convince the...Read More
I had my first encounter with hate this week from a family member, someone I loved and trusted. It shook me. The bathroom debate has stirred up a lot of fear, hate, and anger. Some of it from surprising places. Until I stop and think about it. And then…maybe not. We sent out cards to family and friends two and a half years ago, announcing Rose’s transition from boy to girl. Almost everyone who got a card took the time to send a message of love and support, and it was so welcome. Sending those announcements was scary as hell. But my aunt didn’t say anything. I should have listened to the silence. When she came to visit, she didn’t say anything. But there was an odd tension. She seemed angry with me, but wouldn’t say that she was, or why. I put it aside. Maybe I had said something thoughtless and offended her. I felt guilty and worried, because I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Fast forward. Another visit. Same thing. I felt nervous about leaving her alone with my children, but I couldn’t say why. So I didn’t. Even staying in the room, my 9-year-old sensitive, aware, autistic transgender child hid under a chair when she tried to talk to her. I should have listened to the silence. She broke the silence this week. In...Read More
We are at a critical point. We have a chance to step forward, to become a more accepting, loving, supportive, unified society. But change is scary, difference is scary, religious books are open to interpretation, especially by megalomaniacs who profit off the fear and division they can sow in others, and politicians like to sound like they know what they’re talking about. It’s a messy, loud, sometimes chaotic sort of progress, and one that puts a vulnerable community in the crosshairs.Read More
But as time marches on, winding its inevitable way through our lives and our memories, Rose becomes ever more Rose. That baby boy I loved becomes a baby Rose in my memories rather than the lost child he first felt like when Rose transitioned. That sense of grief is overtaken with a sense that she has always been who she is.Read More
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