Best mom ever

27 Jun

First Time Second Time

I have a confession to make.Badges daughter made for "best mom"

For a long time I was part of a two-mom family. My spouse and I did a lot work on on sharing the role of mother, work that I still find important, and work that we found surprisingly subversive — as Ezekiel wrote in an old post, “Central to the meaning of ‘mother’ is the idea of ‘one.'” Indeed, our work on sharing the role of mom was part of why we decided to start this blog in the first place.

So it is with some amount of embarrassment and surprise that I tell you I now love being the only mom in my family. This mother’s day was all about me, me, and me. When my kids talk about their mom, I know they’re talking about me. They can tell me that I’m the “best mom ever” (see the badges my daughter made…

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Head on over to my new/old blog

3 Jun

I haven’t written here in quite some time, but if you want more, head over to http://firsttimesecondtime.com where you’ll find any new posts that I might write!

On the other side

12 Dec

Holy shit, y’all, it finally happened. Me and N went to his doctor and he got a T shot. Not only that, I gave it to him. We’re both feeling good!

Different Kinds of Medicine

11 Dec

N and I had an interesting conversation with our 6-year-old daughter H tonight. It all came about because our 3-year-old, R, wanted to know if N used to be a woman. That’s kind of a difficult question to answer. We told R that N was born with girl parts, to which R said, “So he used to be a girl.” Face plant. It’s hard to explain things to a 3-year-old that adults don’t even get. H, who had been in the bathroom clamored to explain the whole thing to R and did so wonderfully (however, R had stopped paying attention and left to play with trains half-way through her explanation). Then she whispered to me that “But really Aba is still a woman because he hasn’t taken that medicine to change his body.”

I told her that N and I both believe that what matters is what is in N’s heart, not what body parts he has or whether he takes medicine. H seemed nonplussed, so N asked her, “What do you think Ima just said?” She thought for a little while and said, “So I get it, its like there’s two kinds of medicine. Medicine that you take and “heart medicine,” where what’s in your heart can change you.” By the end of the conversation, she’d added a third kind of medicine, “clothes medicine,” the way your outward appearance can change you. It was very sweet.

In the end N and I went on (and on) trying to convince H that N is the one that gets to say what his gender is (really). She finally got to the place where she decided that everyone has a certain number of drops of being a girl. If you have just one or two, they are so small that no one can even see them. If you have like a million maybe you will be half girl and half boy. She decided Aba had just one drop, so almost all the way boy, but she wasn’t willing to part with that last drop!

And then we told her that Aba is starting “the medicine” tomorrow, so she decided he gets to be 100% boy now. Sigh. She’s awesome, but she’s still six after all!

Almost off the cusp

9 Dec

Sometime last week, N and I had a huge fight when he found out that his doctor’s office was requesting additional information from his therapist. Like every fight we’ve ever had, we bear pretty equal responsibility — I was being the cold bitch that I sometimes turn into when we fight, and at the end of it all I told N I felt like he was acting like a child and that I was used to him being an adult. Perhaps a shitty thing to say, but I tried to have at least a little grace as I said it. We recovered and connected and forgave each other. Then on Friday we found out that he was approved for hormone treatment, and he scheduled an appointment for his first injection on Tuesday. That would be two days from today.

As soon as I heard the news I felt a bit like I had stepped off a cliff. I think I hadn’t really really really believed that it was going to happen. So all day I was labile, distracted, and anxious. Finally toward the end of the day, I decided to admit I was having feelings and see what they were all about. The first thing that I realized is that I don’t really want N to change. I hadn’t realized before how much N had been parked at one particular place in his transition — using masculine pronouns and name and looking transmasculine in the world, which I would describe as looking masculine, but with some female features and voice. There’s two things that I like about this. Number one, with N at the place he is now, we still look obviously queer. Anyone that gives us a good once over can see that we’re not your average het couple, and I still can’t imagine living in any other space. The other thing I like is that I really dig folks in this particular space. A lot. So unlike most of the rest of his transition so far, I realized that my desires and N’s don’t perfectly align. I’m not sure I want him to leave here. Granted, I can see lots of great things about T — things that I will like, in addition to the many things that I know N wants. But I’d be happy to stay with N as he is right now forever, especially if he had top surgery.

So I was feeling sad, and wistful about a place that I’ll miss. I think I’ll always remember this time really fondly. The past year has been hard in many ways, but it’s also been amazing. As I’ve said a number of times, I got to fall in love all over again, and when you’ve been with your partner for over 10 years, that’s pretty lucky.

Later in the day, as I continued thinking, my feelings changed. I realized that even if N didn’t go on hormones, things would still change. My guess is that he’d get more unhappy and it would get harder to connect with him as the months went on with this dream deferred. I thought back to my comment about him acting like a child, and I realized that it was actually an interesting analogy. Back in January, my spouse was an adult. Then he had to back up a little and become a child all over again. Without backing up, there wouldn’t have been room to change and let another self break through, so he became an adolescent. And now he’s ready to grow up again. Only I really enjoyed his second childhood. Like with my real kids, he sometimes drove me nuts, and I sometimes responded like an angry adult with a stick up my ass. But someday my kids will go through puberty and I imagine it might feel a bit like I feel now — happy for them to move forward into the next stage of their lives, but sad that childhood is over and that things must change.

Framing it this way gave me a way to grieve a little for this passage. I know things are going to be amazing for us over the next year — happy, tragic, frustrating, sad, anxious, and changing, just like this past year has been. I’m feeling really drawn to the words Joe Steven’s wrote in Coyote Grace’s Ghost Boy, “I wish she hadn’t left here so soon.” Except for me, it’s not “her” that I’m going to be missing, it’s this man I fell in love with this past year. I’m excited to get to know him again as he grows into yet another new self, but this man of 2012 will be leaving me soon, and he’s touched me so much with his spirit and his determination and his honesty. So I’m not going to say goodbye, because I can’t. I’ll just say that I can’t wait to learn how much there is to love about you on the other side.

On the cusp

2 Dec

Last week, N had his doctor’s appointment, the one where he tells the doctor he wants to go on T. This has been a long time coming, and we’ve been waiting and waiting for the appointment to arrive. Honestly, I’ve been fairly ambivalent. I feel great about most of the physical changes that T brings, but I’ve been worried about the emotional changes. I’ve been worrying that I’m going to wake up in two months and find I’m not with the same man I’ve grown to love. Will he become distant? Will he want to stop talking? Will he have a flat affect? Will he stop processing things in the absurd depth that we both now enjoy?

We are all changing all the time. N certainly isn’t the person I married, but I’m not the person he married either. We all change all the time, but usually the rate of change is pretty slow. So, sure, if you aren’t paying attention you might wake up in two years and find that you don’t even know your spouse. But given the degree to which N and I pay attention to our relationship, we notice the changes bit by bit and adjust. I expect that when you go on T, rate of change is much faster, fast enough that we could end up with some surprises.

N and I have talked a lot about both of our fears as we head into the next phase, and at some point I realized (with N’s help) that we get to craft this transition just like all of the other transitions we’ve been through. We’ve gone through lots of tough shit before, and we’re pretty good at it. It’s not out of our hands whether or not we communicate well as T starts taking over his endocrine system. We’ll be having regular check-ins, getting support, and generally pushing each other to be the best we can be. That made me feel much better, remembering that N and I are the ones in the drivers’ seats. But I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from partners of transitioning men going on T, so those doubts and fears were still there.

They were there until a couple of nights ago, when N was telling me about a pair of shoes. He recently went through our shoe bins and threw out a lot of shoes that we don’t wear, including the winter boots he wore for the last two winters. They are technically women’s boots, but in a style that looks like a man’s boot. N told me that he was thinking about how happy those boots had made him, even when neither of us had much of a clue about his gender issues. He said that over the last couple of years, he’d look down at those boots when he walked and feel so good about wearing them and good about how they looked on him.

That’s when I realized that everything is great, and I can stop worrying. If a simple pair of boots that in their very small way confirmed and supported his gender could make him so happy, then the testosterone is going to be great for him. He’s going to be very happy with it. Yes, we’re going to have big adjustments ahead, and, yes, some of those may be difficult adjustments, but personally, I like big, challenging adjustments (they keep me on my toes and keep me honest), and I think I’m really going to like having a spouse who loves what he sees in the mirror as much as he loved those boots.

Underpants crisis

14 Aug
Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked...

Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t buy my own underpants. With a few exceptions, I have always relied on N to buy underpants for himself and pick some up for me while he’s at it. Friday night I kind of lost my shit because I realized that unless I want to wear men’s briefs, I’m now going to have to buy my own underpants. I started crying about this. I kid you not.

Now, I am quite spectacularly lazy about buying clothing, but its not worth crying over, so N and I both wondered what was really going on when I started blubbering. What I figured out is this: I have tended to think of N as another copy of myself, one that completes me and takes my place as needed. If he buys underpants, then I have underpants. If he makes a friend, I have a friend too. If he’s open and honest with people about who he is, then I’m close to those people. If I want to know how to be a great person in the world, I look to him, and sometimes just let him be that person for me. If I want to be a strong, powerful, and caring woman, surely I can have him to do that for me too.

So when I realized that N wasn’t going to be buying underpants for me anymore, I realized that he and I are different people. For fucks sake, he’s a man and I’m a woman. Crap. Once I actually got that through my head, I realized that we’ve been different for a long time. And then I started to feel lonely, and then I started crying. I don’t want to be by myself, expected to be my own person. I don’t want to be the woman in the relationship unless there’s another woman to be there with me. It’s fine for N to be a man, and he is a damn fine and sexy man, but I wish he would be a woman too. I wish he’d keep buying my underpants, and not because he loves me and likes to do things for me, but because we’re the same and his underpants are my underpants.

But they’re not. And when I realized that I also realized that I’ve never really liked the underpants he bought when he wore girl underpants! I was always kind of wishing he’d buy something a little more girly. Holy shit, I’ve been wearing the wrong underpants for ten years because I got myself confused with someone else. Now I get to be my own person, and its apparently OK for me to be different from N. So maybe it’s a little sad not to be exactly the same, but it’s also kind of exciting, and I get to have a lot nicer underpants.