Opportunity

January 17, 2010 dstevens11

As I stated in my last entry the other night, Drew is staying with his father all weekend. Last week my ex called me to see if he Drew would be interested in staying at his house (it’s an off cycle weekend) and If I would mind. He is having his brothers and Dad, and some friends over to watch the big football weekend. Anyone that is there welcomed to stay over if they wished. My ex husband really gets into it, especially football, from what the kids tell me he has one of those “man caves” with a bar, where he can project onto a large wall to watch games or movies. The kids say it’s actually pretty cool. I was once a football widow; but I know it makes him happy. He is a huge sports fan.

Anyway, I told him I would have Drew call him back one way or the other if he is interested. But if he had interest, I had no problems with him going. When I hung up with him, I realized that he had no interest in asking Jamie or Aly, and I know it is a “guys” only weekend. But I’m not sure how that would make Jamie feel, my ex always does include both Jamie and Drew, so obviously with everything going on its different. I get that. But wondered if she would be secretly hurt by the exclusion. 

When I told Drew to call his dad, I could hear on his end, “YEAH, THAT”S AWESOME!!, THANKS DAD!!” My ex is respectful of my feelings when it comes to the kids time and I’m sure he told Drew to “ask your mother first”, and when he asked I said sure. Honestly I do get upset, or my feelings hurt, because Drew has practice all the time after school, and is either with friends on the weekend or with his dad. I never get a lot of quality time with him, and feel with everything that is going on, I am at risk of losing my family unit. Just being honest. 

So I said to Jamie the other night, “your dad invited Drew over to watch football this weekend with grandpa Stevens, your uncles, and a couple of his friends.”  To be honest, I did not know or what to expect her reaction to be. My guess would be she would be disappointed. Instead I got “REALLY, does that mean that Drew will be gone all weekend? Starting when? Friday night? All the way to Sunday?” I was kind of thrown off, she really didn’t display any interest in why her father did not include her, all she cared was Drew will be gone all weekend. 

What she was excited about was opportunity. 

Our therapist has encouraged us to allow Jamie to find her space to express her femininity, in terms of actions, behaviours, clothing, etc…As I have been stating, I am aware of stuff she is doing, she is overtly coming out with her behaviour and actions; subtlety coming out with clothing. Mostly with pajamas, and only when Drew is not around. Honestly as well, I am not sure if I have been giving off the green light vibe at all, not sure I am ready for it. She may be reading that. I haven’t discouraged it, but I certainly have not encouraged it. I really have wanted it to really come from Jamie in her time, find her confidence. But she has been somewhat hesitant or uncomfortable with me as far as the clothing goes. Which I’m sure had to go back to me catching her years ago, and telling her it was wrong. 

As I’ve said Aly is 11, soon to be 12. She is very close to both siblings, her and Drew kid around with each other all the time. She is his biggest (and loudest) fan at all of his games. You would think her relationship with Jamie would be awkward, under the circumstances, with the age difference, and the gender issues. But they are like the best of friends.

In discussions with our family therapist, when she asked Aly how she feels about her brother’s situation, and his feelings on wanting to be a girl. She just said simply, “Drew is my brother, Jamie has always been like an older sister to me, so for me it’s no big deal.” So in her eyes, she has always seen the female persona in Jamie, so to her there is nothing abnormal. 

Their relationship has been a concern to me, not at all on Aly’s part, but Jamie’s. They are almost 4 years part, but play, talk, act and treat each other as peers of the same age group. Developmentally it worries me, especially because of the physical results of puberty suppression. Aly is starting to develop physically now, and is actually ahead of Jamie physically who as I have said previously in her prepubescent state. I know it impacts Jamie now, more the ever,  because there is an urgency to her on next steps.

My ex arrived around 7:30 and never came to the door Friday night, which pissed me off. Drew flew by me and said “love you mom, bye.” Well the door  could not have slammed fast enough when Drew left before Jamie and Aly ran downstairs and in unison said “can I ( At the same time Jamie said “I” Aly said Jamie) dress up as a girl this weekend.”

Now I know why Jamie was so excited the other night, to know Drew was not going to be home, and Aly was just as supportive. I said, “Honey their just clothes, present yourself however you feel most comfortable.” I knew though this would be more then pajamas. She said “Can I use some of your stuff mom?” I responded, “like what?” She said “I’m not sure”, in giggling way. She was like overwhelmed with enthusiasm. I told her to knock herself out. “do you want my help?” 

“No, I’m good” she said. 

The girls went upstairs to their rooma and got into some pajamas were fumbling around in my room for a few minutes and came down to the TV room, with my nail polish basket. They grabbed a DVD, started watching a movie and were painting their nails. 

Jamie was asking a few questions, but was detailed in her applying the nail polish. I was in the room the whole time, Jamie was real comfortable with me being there. Which is awesome. She ended up painting both of her hands and feet and asked, “how do they look?” I said “they look great honey. Nice color.” She had picked like a subtle light pink color.

They both were watching their movie with their toes up and wiggled out, wiggling their hands and blowing on their nails to dry. She really did a good job, but you can see her demeanor changing. She was luving it. 

I went upstairs to get my own pj’s on. When I came downstairs, Aly said, “mom can we go to a mall tomorrow, and see a movie?” I said “sure”. Aly responded “Can Jamie dress as a girl out tomorrow?” I looked at Jamie and asked “how do you feel?” she said “mom I want too.”

Geez, here it’s coming. Am I ready for it?

Aly then said, “Jamie needs help with her hair. Can you help her with fake hair?” I said “like a wig?” They both said “yes.” Jamie has short blonde hair, and yeah probably wouldn’t work if she went out like that for her own confidence.

I said, “I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.”

They asked to sleep in the TV room, and I said fine. I went up to my room, I think they were up to 2 AM.

Now I really do not know anything about buying a wig. I know there is party wigs, that wouldn’t do. I know women with cancer buy really nice wigs, but I know they are expensive, and money is real tight right now, like a lot of other homes, and I was thinking I can’t really afford to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a wig. 

So the next morning I called my hairdresser and asked her if she knew of any good wig places for a friend of mine who needed a wig. 

She recommended this store called “wig a do.” 

We slept in a little Saturday morning, I cooked the kids breakfast, and told them I had to run out for an errand. I didn’t want to tell Jamie I was looking for a wig, and not come back with one.

I took my hairdressers recommendation and headed down to the store. Pretty cool place, really helpful people. Now I am looking at all of these hairstyles and thinking – I really should have Jamie with me, or should have looked on-line with her to see what she was thinking about. A woman’s hair is so much a part of personality, I didn’t know what she was interested in. Most of the styles in the store, were for mature women. I decided on one a shoulder length straight blonde hairstyle that with layered front bangs, that matched her natural color. The price was not too bad.

On the way home I just kept thinking things are happening too fast, I know life is going to be so much different for Jamie now. I am not sure if I am ready for it, but I know she is. It’s scary!

When I came home, the girls were under covers in the TV room. I said “Jamie I got something for you.” She was like “what?” I brought out the box and opened it up. 

You could see he eyes light up. “OH MY GOD MOM, I LOVE IT!” Now it’s just hair on a styrofoam head, but Aly and Jamie were gawking at it. She immediately put it on, and I was struck by how good my selection was 🙂 but also how she immediately transformed. She standing there in her pink pj’s, now with the hairstyle that fits who she is. The hairpiece fit her well. She ran to a mirror, and was smiling ear to ear. Aly was complimenting her on it. 

I told the girls “to come out here. Why don’t you both eat lunch here, get dressed, we will walk around the mall – look only, go see a movie, and then get some dinner later on.”

Jamie gave me a big hug and kiss, and said “thanks mom. I love you. You said yesterday I can use some of your stuff, can I?” I said again, “knock yourself out.”

I stayed downstairs the whole time and had no idea what to expect, I was kind of nervous, but open-minded. She was gone for about  45 minutes to an hour. Aly came down first.

When she emerged, I thought she would be real nervous, but you can tell she was more excited. 

She came out in my long auburn cableknit tunic sweater, with a black layered top underneath, a pair of black leggins and a pair of my black ballerina flats.

She put on some lipstick, mascara, eye makeup, but in a very tasteful way you can tell she has been practicing.

She came out with a “tada” sort of entrance.

I was kind of like, “whoa, you look incredible”. What was interesting to me was in no way was her head down, or eyes looking at the floor,like they usually are, she was shoulders back – eyes up. SHE LOOKED CONFIDENT!!

I was kind of taken back a bit. 

Aly came in and said “see mom I told you she looks great.” Like she’s been seeing Jamie dressed up. I said, “I know.”

She reminded me of – because of her face and her hair style – as the actress who played the teenage witch, the one who just in Dancing with the Stars. She was beaming. There was something else, she looked like a girl her age, she looked 15. 

I said, “your make-up looks great.” She said, “I’ve been practising.” 

“Well” I said, “you’re going to need a purse. Go upstairs in my closet and grab one, and we’re going to need to find you a coat too.”

She came down with a small black shoulder purse. I told her to put the lipstick she used in there, and a compact. I put some kleenex tissues in there.

I gave her a long coat, to match her sweater outfit. It fit perfectly. We were off. We headed to a mall in Moorestown NJ across the bridge.

I had Jamie in the front seat and Aly in the back. It kind of frieked me out a little watching Jamie, but also proud of her. She was looking at herself a few times in the visor mirror, and Aly from the back seat said “stop gawking a yourself, you look great.” 

We got out of the car, and walked into the mall. Now I really didn’t have the money to but anything (January has been a rough month coming out of the holidays), but was open to walking in stores or if she wanted to try something on.

But she seemed content on just “being” there. I was kind of hoping Aly would kind of lead the direction, but they just wanted to go see the movie. 

The theater was across the mall, we looked up and they wanted to see the movie “Lovely bones.” (It was ok..)

The movie didn’t start for about 40 minutes. But we did not really have a direction or accomplished anything. Jamie really didn’t seem interested in testing any waters there. She was looking at a few things, saying this was cute or that was cute. 

We sat down in the movie, and much like I said in my last post. Just kind of struck in her mannerisms. She sat crossed legged, hands in her lap. She was grabbing popcorn, like one piece at a time, very lady like. I was impressed. 

After the movie we went to the Olive Garden. Everything was kind of like – normal. In the Olive garden, she used the ladies room. The first time she ever used the ladies room, and seemed fine. 

We got back in the car and headed home we went to blockbuster and rented another movie. 

When we got home, the girls again headed into the TV room. I went upstairs for awhile, and came back downstairs. 

I can see the TV room from the kitchen, and I was looking at Jamie. She had kicked off her shoes and was leaning on the arm of the couch, with her legs folded to the side of her. She still had her hairpeice on. I was thinking, this day must be so huge for her. She looks so happy and content. I was also thinking, how is she going to feel to go back to school on Monday. 

They got back into their pj’s around 10 Pm, and again slept in the tv room. 

I went to bed not knowing what to think. I know this is going to be a huge topic on Monday in our appointment, but I am also worried about what my ex is going to say and react. I know Jamie feels great. 

I woke up this morning to write this entry, and Jamie had her hairpiece on. I presume I opened up a pandora’s box. Not sure what we have going on today, but we will take it a step at a time. 

I don’t expect Drew until late tonight, so well see how she pays it. I will leave it up to her. 

I know my life is confusing right now, but been watching all of the news this morning of the Haitian earthquake, my heart is breaking for all of those people. It’s horrible, and the issues that seem to hit us, seem so small in comparison or scale when something like that happens. I pray that whole area and people are able to recover somehow. 

Hope everyone enjoys their Sunday. Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: transgender

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stef  |  January 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Wow, Dana, what a wonderful gift you gave to Jamie, a chance to be her true self, if only for a weekend. Sure, there’s the Pandora’s Box aspect of it, but I think you did the right thing. Be patient with Drew and your Ex. Guys simply can’t comprehend why any boy would want to give up being a male. Once Jamie goes full time and they see how happy she is, they’ll accept her, even if they don’t understand. Our job as parents is to raise our children to be happy, well-adjusted adults and I think that’s exactly what you’re doing. Hang in there!

    Stef

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Hi Stef – You are right, I have been preaching patience to everyone, including myself. I think that saying that time heals all wounds is correct. I hope you’re right and they do come around, especially Drew. She really needs his support at home. You probably hit the nail right on the head, that guys just can’t comprehend any male wanting to be female. It has been sooo hard to get my ex’s support. My fear is when she does go forward and transitions, he will abandon her. That would be devastating to Jamie. Cross your fingers. Thanks for the support. Love, Dana

  • 3. loriannetucson  |  January 17, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    This was a long post, and worth the read for sure!

    You gave Jamie such a wonderful opportunity to finally be herself. I wasn’t surprised to hear how confident Jamie presented in public. To be honest, I was wondering if you were going to write about how nervous she was walking around, looking to see if anyone noticed. But instead you discussed things that your every day preteen and teenage girl does at the mall, including the bathroom…and everything was fine. Phenomenal!

    I have a strong feeling that Jamie will have a tough time going back to school and putting “Jamie” effectively back in the closet. I found that some of the most bitter and difficult times for me during my initial phase of transition was removing the makeup and wig and having to revert back to “him.” I cried and cried and suffered some deep depression because of it. Jamie being shown that it’s normal to feel sad having to go back to presenting male. For me I wasn’t taking OFF a mask, I was putting on a mask all over again.

    Knowing that there will be more and more days where Jamie can be herself, and eventually a day where she’ll leave the male mask behind forever will help her persevere. She’s already got a hell of a mother.

    • 4. dstevens11  |  January 17, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Lori – Thanks again for all of your incredible support. Your inclusion of my blog on your website has put me in touch of so many wonderful people. I could actually see your perspective in Jamie tonight, you could almost see her get depressed as the night came closer. She did not want the weekend to end. She is not going to go to school tomorrow, due to the Dr’s appointment, she goes back on Tuesday. My guess she is not going to be happy about it. It’s that whole crossdressing as a boy concept, you enlightened me on before. I loved seeing her confidence this weekend. Something I haven’t see in her in a long time.I truly believe she is going to grow up to be a happy, loving, productive woman someday. I saw my first glimpse of the future the last couple of days, she is going to be fine. Thanks again – Love, Dana

  • 5. Amanda  |  January 18, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I am so glad that you had an opportunity to see Jamie as her true self, and not crossdressed. And that you were able to see her happy and confident.

    It will be hard for her to have to go back to not being herself. But at least she will have the memory of the weekend to help some.

    It is too bad that Drew isn’t more understanding and tolerant of his older sister. If he was, and if Jamie’s psychiatrist okayed it, Jamie could spend some time after school as herself.

    I think that you are a super mother. The type that every transsexual person wishes that they could have had.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog. I hope that you and your family has the best of luck. *friendly hug*

  • 6. Sarah Jane  |  January 18, 2010 at 8:48 am

    As I was reading the other comments to this wonderful post, I am thinking that buying the wig was a HUGE step for you as it was for Jamie.

    The highs and lows of switching genders was very noticeable to my wife during my first years of transition. Over time it became easier going to work as male and living the rest of the day and week as female.

    I dare say the pain will be greater for Jamie as ‘he’ returns to classes. If she is given more time to express herself as Jamie there will come a tipping point where the accumulation of feminine mannerism and gestures will prevail and if the subtle changes happen over time, as they will, hopefully her classmates will come to accept Jamie for who she will become.

    All of us have battled with trying to put our female persona back in our boxes by shedding many a tear.

    As many of us transitioned in our later years, it’s easy to look back as wish. But our stories do not give you the answers you seek for Jamie, who is still a teenager with a brilliant and wonderful, supporting mother who cares for her child and only wishes for her happiness. Seek solace and advice from other parents who are supporting their trans child as you are uplifting your to a better future.
    Sarah

  • 7. Sherry Ann  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Hi,

    OMG! What a wonderful weekend for you and your girls. I’ll try not to write a book but just want to make a couple of observations.

    First, kudos to you. This was a big step, especially for you. It is one thing to deal with the concept and talk about it and think about it. It is quite another to step out and embrace it. That you were so calm and natural with Aly and Jamie as your daughters at home and in public is, well, awesome.

    Second, if there were any doubts about Jamie, the weekend just obliterated them. She had no interest in being with the guys, or football. She was so ready to be a girl and to come out. It is so neat she had no issues (nerves or give aways); she was o.k. in public, the restroom because she is o.k.

    Third, now for the fun part. Pandora is out of the box, as you said. Your challenge will be to manage that. To do that you should be open in therapy and with your ex and Drew about the weekend. Let them know how happy and natural she was. Tell them that the time has come to manage the transition and make important decisions about letting Jamie be Jamie. They need to be involved, if they will; if not, proceed without them. Delay is the biggest risk now. Are the school administrators (principal, counselor) aware of Jamie’s situation? If not, it’s time to meet with them, hopefully with your therapist involved, to educate them and make sure Jamie is safe at school. You have some difficult moments ahead in this. Stay strong and lean on all the support you can.

    Finally, I hope you are getting as much from this blog as I am. No, I am not living vicariously but it is so affirming. You are a very special person.

    Sherry

  • 8. Calie  |  January 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    It is sometimes so painful for me to read this blog, realizing just what I missed out on at the age Jamie is now. I am at the point where I can only go to your blog when I’m in the right mood.

    Just keep doing what you’re doing, Dana. You’re doing the right thing.

    Calie xx

    • 9. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Calie, thanks for your comments. I’m sorry to have caused any pain, Jamie and I appreciate all of your support. It means a lot. Love, Dana

  • 10. Jerica  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Dana I guess I can’t read any of your posts without crying. I could just sense and relate to Jaime’s joy at her first wig. And you talking about her confidence….that’s amazing. She’s finally able to be herself.

    • 11. dstevens11  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      HI Jerica – Thanks for all of your comments today. I’ll have to check out your website and VLOG, I assume that means video log. I like to say I am technically challenged 🙂 Been kind of late in life to the internet party. A few people like yourself have shared comments with me as yours saying their childhood feelings and experience we similar to Jamie’s. I feel horrible that anyone would have to go through that especially as a child. It’s not anything I can relate to, since I was confused about a lot of things, but gender was not one of them. To me growing up if I heard said someone say gender confusion, I would probably think that person was gay or something. I had no idea of the scale and scope of the issue. But I’m learning as quickly as I can. Your feedback on Jamie and meeting people like yourself, has validated my position that we are doing the right thing for our child. Thanks for your support, good luck on your own transition. Love, Dana


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