Change your lens

January 19, 2010 dstevens11

As I stated when I wrote my entry the other day, Drew has kind of been oblivious to some of the events that have been going on with Jamie. He has a lot going on with school, sports, friends ect…Sometimes unfortunatley I feel he just sleeps here, and lives everywhere else. I hope from his standpoint it is not by design. Like he needs to get out of here. 

Going back some time for Drew’s sake, my ex and I had discussed a living arrangement at my ex’s house. But it would never work, because my ex works as a consultant and travels almost all the time. He has thought about making career changes before, to get off the road, but obviously with the economy it has been unlikely. He has actually been as busy as ever with work. Drew and my ex are extremely close. 

Honestly for me, it would kill me inside to lose Drew in my house, but I would do it in his best interest. I am not even sure if you asked Drew if he had a choice, he would automatically pick my ex. He has come out to me before that he loves his dad on weekends, but he knows how tough he can be to live with. Plus not sure what my ex’s romantic situation is with his girlfriend, but I doubt Drew would want to be in that living situation. In some ways I doubt my ex does as well. 

Many of my girlfriends with teenage sons have similar relationships with their sons as I do with Drew. I think teenage sons “tolerate” (not sure if that is the right word) their moms, but can be at times ambilevant. Not in a hurtful way, but they appreciate we’re there, but you almost have to demand their attention. So if he left here, it could disastrous to our relationship, and possibly to his siblings.  

The whole thing with Jamie has been tough on Drew as well. When they were younger, (Jimmy and Drew because they are so close in age – 15 months apart) they were known to our friends and family as “the boys”. They shared a room together before we moved into the house we live in today. They were also very different, but very close. 

As I said in my entry the other day Drew kind of separated himself  with his older sibling physically, and Jamie mentally to Drew. Drew has never won any special “smart” ribbons. He trys hard, but is not gifted in that way like Jamie is. 

When the kids were younger, my ex coached them both in little league, and Drew was always one of the best or the best player not only on the team he was on, but also in the league. I am not sure Jamie was ever jealous, I don’t think she ever wanted to be there, and was never any good if not the worst player on the team. It used to frustrate my ex, but I kept saying to him – sports isn’t his thing. So in some ways Jamie felt inferior to Drew in my ex’s eyes in terms of sports, but felt the inverse – Drew felt inferior to Jamie when it came to school. My ex used to and still does get on Drew pretty good about his grades. 

I am not sure if Drew was every aware of Jamie’s gender issues growing up, but I know Drew knew that Jamie was different. But they were still close, but you can tell not as much as they had been. As I also stated before, Aly and Drew have a great relationship. Aly is an awesome kid, and can get along with ANYONE. She is my social butterfly. 

Fast forward to some years later, we were spending a lot of time in therapy after Jamie had come out and was diagnosed with her GID. When we started on the lurpon therapy, Jamie and Drew were roughly the same size, and Drew had not started his puberty yet. 

From that point on, the last couple of years were startling in comparison for both Drew and Jamie. This is where I think the bond or link between the two was broken. 

Once puberty got a hold of Drew he just shot up and out. Even though he will only be 15 later this year, he is already built like a man, he’s growing so fast. First he was 2 inches taller than Jamie, then 4, then 6, then 8 and so on. Drew is 6ft tall now and probably outweighs Jamie by almost 65 lbs. He’s a big boy. 

I am sure from Jamie’s perspective seeing her younger brother’s voice change, get bigger, get leg hair was a relief that it wasn’t happening to her, but at the same time she was losing any leverage she had during any of their sibling hassles. I think eventually she just got uncomfortable (I hate to use the word intimated) around Drew.

During this time Drew came home unexpectedly and caught Jamie all dressed up, who thought no one would be home at the time. This incident occurred after my husband had left, we had not divorced yet, and at a time Drew was unaware of Jamie’s “condition”.  

Jamie was mortified, and humiliated. Of course Drew gave her the business. It was at this time I first talked to Drew about Jamie. He did not understand. 

Drew has been thru counseling, kind of gets the issue, but in his mind “Jamie should just learn to be a boy” as he likes to say  “it’s gross”. Which again is humiliating to Jamie. 

So the conditions in the house, have not been favorable to Jamie in her comfortability around Drew. She almost tiptoes around him, which is not entirely Drew’s fault, I think it’s uncomfortability around Drew. 

It’s almost painful to watch sometimes Jamie over-compensate in “boy” mode around Drew. She does this low voice thing with him like “How did you do at your game dude?” or “I heard in school Nicole blah blah blah likes you, she’s hot!” Drew kind of rolls his eyes, like you know what hot is. 

I think from Jamie’s presentation to Drew she lacks authenticity with him and almost tries too hard, and Drew reads into that. 

Well it needs to change. 

When Drew came home from practice today, I actually took  him out to eat. (not chinese this time, but a back table again. I’m like Mafia mom). I told him we need to talk and about Jamie. 

I kind of started off the conversation putting him in the drivers seat. 

“Drew I need you” I said.

“What mom?” (Drew)

“I need you” (Me)

“need me for what?” (drew)

“I need your help”  (me)

“what’s going on?” (drew)

I explained to him all about yesterday, why everyone was so knocked out when he came home last night. I told him about the importance of the appointment, how his dad reacted, Jamie starting medication, and possibly being home schooled next year. He was kind of taken back. He’s like “really? Dad kept telling me he is just going thru a phase.”

“you have no idea how important you are to Jamie?” (me)

I explained to him how his acceptance is crucial in Jamie’s development. I also explored his relationship with Aly. How good he is with her, and how she respects and loves him so much.

I explained to him how important my relationships were with my brothers, how there were so important to me, and how important it was to me in my growth as a woman. 

I emphasized the word “lens”. I said “Drew you need to change your lens when looking and behaving around Jamie?”

“what does that mean?” he said. 

I said “when you look at Jamie you see your older brother, and you get disappointed or disrespect him when he does not play that role. Drew that older brother will not appear in your lens anymore. The lens you need to look thru is that Jamie is your sister. I have been using that same lens, and even as early as yesterday it does not take a lot for me to see the girl in Jamie. It’s right there. Jamie needs your support, and right now.”

I explained to Drew about how I am encouraging Jamie to dress more openly at home, and eventually he is going to start seeing physical changes in Jamie.  While that may be difficult to see or comprehend, if you look thru the right lens it should be normal. 

I think I broke thru. 

“So Jamie is going to develop like a normal girl with boobs and everything?”

I said “yup”. 

He asked a detail question about the bottom zone, and I said that can be corrected with surgery. He kind of did a shiver motion. 

He’s like “Mom I just don’t get it. But I understand what your saying as far as me supporting Jamie. What do I tell my friends that come over? They already think Jamie is weird.”

I followed, “We will talk about it, but once your honest with them, if their true friends, they will stick by you.”

“So do I have your support?” (me)

“yes” (Drew)

He asked if he could be home-schooled, and I was cracking up laughing. I said then you won;t be able to play any sports, he said then never mind. It was a funny moment. 

I should have left it right there, but I regret going down the next path now, I said “your dad is going to try to influence your support of Jamie.”

He said “I know”. That kind of pissed me off, I wonder how much he tries to influence Drew’s behaviour with Jamie.  

I said, “You know???”

“He’s not really supportive of any of this.” he said.

I went on to say do what’s best for Jamie. Use that lens I talked to you about, try to be a positive influence on your dad, he needs it. We talked some more about it, but I should have left it alone. 

So all in all, I think with Drew it was a good first step, I think he appreciated I talked to him alone about it. I also told him that I expect for him to talk and participate in therapy in the upcoming year. 

As far as Jamie goes, I asked her this morning how the night went. I was concerned she might get an upset stomach or something with the medication. I remember my days first taking birth control pills, and they used to make stomach queasy at first.

She said she feels great, she was smiling ear to ear going off to school this morning. That never happens.

When she took her pill tonight, I asked her how her days was.  She said, “Mom I was daydreaming all day, I could not focus on anything. I am sooo excited. I used to look at girls in my class, and be soo jealous of them. Not today knowing I am going to develop like them.”

I said kiddingly, “honey you never get over being jealous of other women. haha.”

I am doing better tonight, then I was last night. THANK YOU everyone for all of your well wishes and comments, it is very much appreciated. YOU ROCK!! Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: transgender

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine Elaine  |  January 20, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I know that tough times lie ahead for you but remember we are all here for you. Perhaps all we can offer is a cyber hug but they are here for you. It seems that progress is being made in the right direction which hopefully will continue. I continue to hold you and your family in my thoughts. Christine Elaine
    PS Did you take any pictures of you and the girls when you went to the mall for the first time? If you did I bet the girls will get a laugh out of them in a few years.

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Christine, of course I took pictures! what mom does not. Your exactly right, they will laugh for a long time under the circumstance. Thank you for thinking of us and your support. Love, Dana

  • 3. Abby  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Dana, I don’t think you have to worry about any stomach upset from Jamie’s estrogen. As I explained, I’m fairly confident that she is taking estradiol, a bioidentical hormone. Birth control pills, on the other hand, use an artificial form of estrogen called ethinyl estradiol, which has very different effects. I’ve never had any nausea from estradiol, although I did have hot flashes for awhile, as my body shifted from testosterone to estrogen.

    I’m glad you talked to Drew and that you did it alone. That’s a very smart move.

    Blessings,
    Abby

    • 4. dstevens11  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

      Hi Abby, You’re exactly right, it was my fault for trying to relate my experience. She has been fine, so far so good. It’s great to know I have a hormone expert I can ask questions too 🙂

      I am a few years I think from my own “hot flash” moments, but from what I hear from a girlfriend of mine who is going thru menopause now, it’s no picnic! Thanks for your blessings. Love, Dana

  • 5. Amanda  |  January 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    That does sound like a hopeful first step with Drew. I hope that he comes to accept his older sister quickly and completely.

    Drew saying that his dad isn’t “really supportive of any of this” isn’t good though. I was hoping that your ex was at least starting to come around when he agreed that Jamie should be started on estrogen.

    If there isn’t another school close enough that you could get Jamie transferred to as herself (only the school administration would know), maybe after one year of home schooling you could get her back into her current one. There would be enough changes by that time that none of the students would recognize her (again, only the school administatios would know). It would be a good idea for Jamie to be able to socialize with other girls her own age in some manner, even if that had to be put off until school year after next.

    You are showing that you care for all of your children. You are amazing. If I lived close to you, I would be honored to call you a friend.

    • 6. dstevens11  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Amanda, I keep saying time will heal my ex. At least he is talking to me, he called again tonight to see how she was doing. That’s a good sign. I think your suggestion on Jamie staying at a year and going back her senior year is an excellent one. I never thought of that. She has made it clear to me she does nto want to go to the same school under any circumstances. her attitude may change who knows. We’ll see. Thank you for your friendship. Love, Dana

  • 7. Sarah Jane  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Dana, it’s you that ROCKs, and I mean big time.

    Sitting down with Drew and just talking is very important. My daughter told me, “Dad, if you had just said ‘I don’t know how to explain any of this.’, it would have been much better than not saying anything, which is what we pretty much didn’t do; communicate with each other.

    Sarah

    • 8. dstevens11  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

      Hi Sarah, As you can tell by me so far, I like to deal with things head on, so I agree with your daughter. It’s better to say you don’t know, then to say nothing. That’s what kills me with my is the silence. But it will get better. Thanks for your comment. Love, Dana

  • 9. Jerica  |  January 21, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Hi Dana

    Wow I think it’s great that you were able to sit down with Drew and be straight with him and that he is at least starting to understand, maybe. I’m so happy for Jaime finally starting to go through the changes she should have.

    I can relate as I’m the eldest brother with a middle brother and a younger sister. Although because I didn’t have a handle on my gender issues as a kid, I ended up withdrawn into my room while my brother and sister played together.

    My brother today, after some much needed time to process, seems to be very accepting. He’ll hang out with me and he’s even called me Jerica. Not sure if he really sees me as his big sister yet but hopefully in time.

    One more comment about Little Leage. I tried B-Ball in 3rd grade, (where the coach pitches to you hehe) and I always struck out…and I cried every single time. I got made fun of plenty for that. Luckily, my dad hates sports so we were never encouraged to get into them. =)

  • 10. Sherry Ann  |  January 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Dana,

    What a week. You are amazing. Doing the heavy lifting and staying on message and focused. Give yourself a pat on the back. You will look back in 10 years and be so very proud of your family and what you did to make it special.

    Sherry

  • 11. Abby  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Dana, I’m just popping in here to leave you this link: http://www.acceptingdad.com/about-accepting-dad/. It’s the blog a father of a trans girl just like Jamie. I haven’t read any of the posts, but if they’re anything like the author’s description of himself and the purpose of his blog, I think you’ll enjoy it. I also think your ex might find something useful there. In any case, I hope it helps.

    • 12. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Abby – I will check out that link. I will forward it to my ex. Anything that is useful can help. Thanks for thinking of us. Love, Dana


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