Friends and Family

January 22, 2010 dstevens11

Been calling around to some close friends and family about some of the updates going on this week. 

Called my mom on Wednesday. Obviously she has known stuff going on with Jamie up till now. She is 72, my dad is 75, and they are very old school. My dad is a former union guy, does not say or offer much. My mom is the one with the big heart, and is the hub of our family. She has been on the fence with all of this stuff since the beginning, she has been supportive of me and of Jamie, but again was one of the factors early on to take the approach of allowing the male identity in Jamie to develop before we pursue more aggressive approaches of treatment. 

She understood why we chose to start the estrogen treatment, but is very concerned about Jamie’s future as an adult. “What does that mean for surgery in the future?” “Will she ever find love in her life?”  “what kind of life will she lead?” “She will never be able to have children” “Will she ever be able to have “relations” (people still use that term?) with a man?” “Will a man ever accept her past?” “Will she like women instead?”

It’s funny how people automatically go down the “sex” path rather than gender. As I told my mom this is about aligning her gender, she will have to cross those bridges when she comes to them. But this about her happiness to set her up for a successful adulthood. She was not trending there as an adolescent if she had stayed or tried to stay in a male gender. It just would have not worked. My mom got that. 

I told her the option that we had previously discussed of home schooling, and also told her that suggestion our therapist had made, that she goes to my mother’s house rather than come to my house. She was concerned about my commute back and forth, and she said she agreed with the recommendation to get Jamie out of the house to build and support a life rhythm, and offered to pick Jamie up everyday. I told her THAT WOULD BE A GODSEND!! to me. If there are times she cannot do it, I could make the trip, but her openness to that is unbelievable. She said she could also kind of set up a classroom environment in their basement (which is finished), it generally only gets used during the holidays or when the family all gets together. She says that Dad never even uses that room anymore, because of his bad knees he has troubles making stairs. She said let’s put our heads together and do it right. OMG, she is so awesome!

My mom said, if Jamie is going to go this route, she better present herself as a lady and a student. “I don’t want her coming here in sweatpants or pajamas, and expecting her not to do her studies.” My mom knows that Jamie is a straight A student, and that would be out of character for her. But it is something we need to be conscious on, that she stays disciplined. I know she will.  

My dad, I could write another whole several page blog on. To shortly put it, he is an ex military, union guy, worked in the same place for almost 40 years. He is a man of few words, but surprises you sometimes. He was a wonderful dad while growing up, I was a daddy’s little girl being the only daughter in my family. I think he was real tough on but very respected of my brothers. When my mom told him he said, “well it’ll be nice to have one of our grandchildren here everyday. I can set up a real nice table downstairs, we will probably have to get a computer hook-up down there.” Although that is not a lot or very deep in a response, that is my dad’s way of saying he is supporting, and he’ll be there for us. One of my dad’s favorite sayings is “It is what it is.” I think he realizes that explains Jamie’s situation perfectly. 

So many details will need to be worked out, I have already called our school’s district this week, and have some information coming to me on how to actually execute all of this stuff. If we pursue the GED route, I am concerned on how that will set her up for college. The administrator I talked too said it was really important in home schooling situations to perform well on the SAT’s and ACT’s when the time comes. I may call around to a few colleges and ask some questions. Priority wise Jamie wants and needs to focus on the gender change, and it will be a small price to pay in her eyes. But I do not want her to miss out on any educational opportunities she will have in the future. She is a very bright and talented kid. 

I am really trying to build a positive support network surrounding Jamie, and want family that comes in contact with her often to have a heads up on some things that they will either see or perceive. One area to build more comfortability and confidence for Jamie  is showing her female persona outside the  home, would be with family and close friends. 

I called my sister in-laws. They are great, and very supportive, which will be good for Jamie because she has cousins her age. One female cousin and her have not been all that close in recent years, but my sister in-law said we should get them together more. She’s a sweet kid, and could potentially be a positive female friend of someone her own age. 

My oldest brother who is kind of dead pan, tells it like it is, doesn’t hold back kind of guy said  verbatim “I kind of figured all along Jimmy would play for the away team anyway, not that there is anything wrong with that” (his way of saying he figured Jamie would be gay, and using the Seinfeld reference if anyone saw that episode.) He was really concerned for me and how I was handling it, and showed a lot of concern for Drew. He said kiddingly “If Drew ever needs a break from a house of chicks you know he is always welcomed here.” He has two sons older then Drew. You have to know my brother to understand that joke. But he’s awesome in his support as well, as he always is. 

I have not talked to my other older brother, he is away on business this week. His wife is the one who said we should get our “daughters” together. I don’t anticipate any issues there, but he will be like my dad and will not offer much in terms of a discussion. 

So I feel like I am off to a good start with my family. 

I have been talking to my ex everyday the last couple of days, (things are still tough, but one he is checking in to see how Jamie is doing, and two – he is talking.) Those are good signs.

I said he probably does not have to do anything now, but at some point he is going to need to talk his family. Especially his dad. (His mom died of breast cancer 6 year ago.) He said we’ll see (I think he is still holding out for an alternative direction). I said listen Jamie especially as we start heading to the summer is going to start showing changes, and we do not want to blind side anyone. My ex’s family has a house in the Poconos that he takes the kids to in the summer. Jamie has always loved it there, but this summer will be different for everyone. He says “I know, we’ll see.” I’ll have to keep on him with that. No idea how his brothers will take any of this. To say Jamie was close to them anyway, is a stretch. 

I told my best friend Patty, who was the maid of honor in my wedding, and I have been friends with since grade school. I tell her everything. She has been super supportive since day one. Of course she asked all the questions everyone is shy or afraid to ask, and I do not even have all the answers too yet. If anyone has a good link on the gender reassignment surgery that I could send someone that would be great. The easiest explanation I give everyone is they turn the existing equipment inside and make a vagina. Which everyone consistently says “really.” Consistently women are fascinated, the guys are like “ouch – too much information”.  Not to make a parallel comparison but I can attest first hand with having two vaginal births (Aly was a c-section) with long labor that the skin downstairs can withstand a lot abuse. I respect anyone who has that surgery, it must be extremely painful. 

She said wants to be like a godmother to Jamie, and wants to help in anyway she can. “We got to get that girl some clothes.” I said I know, Jamie has already asked. She said “let’s get going with it.” She also said, “let’s face it Dana, Jamie was not going to make much of a man, she’ll make a beautiful woman. This is a good thing. He has always had a female spirit.”  

So I have got the ball rolling, I am always impressed by people’s reactions. There may not have been a lot of understanding of the issue but all in all people been supportive of me, Jamie and our family. Thanks for the prayers, they are working 

I took a sick day today, trying to catch up on some things at home. Just want to send thanks, and clarify my last post. A few people have offered to pay for clothes for Jamie. One, just want to say thanks I am extremely honored for the offer. As I have said before, I am just ranting to the computer as I write these. I have not either gone back to read the previous entries yet, and do not check my grammer, spelling or content unless it self corrects as I go along. My point to that is, I don’t want to mis-represent that my family is destitute or anything. I am just guilty of over-spending on Christmas, and am catching up this month. We do very fine, my ex does very well and his child support helps the kids, I am kind of on my own with my stuff. I have a large wardrobe, but luckily do not have wealthy tastes, that Jamie can leverage now. So Jamie will be fine, I just was kind of saying if she needed EVERYTHING that is a lot to take on right now financially. 

I want her to have her own clothes, but we will just have to build her wardrobe as we go along. Most of the stuff we would buy now, wouldn’t fit her later probably, especially pants, that’s why she has told me likes leggin pants because they fit her. I get that. 

So I was just speaking aloud, (to the computer), not sure really as I stated in my last entry how to handle the clothes situation for her right now. But she is anxious to build her stuff. Need a strategy there. So thanks for the sincere thoughts. 

Thank you for suggestions that have come over as well. Still kind of undecided as a sit here today. Will hear from her therapist this afternoon.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. THANKS TO EVERYONE who has commented, your insights are WONDERFUL!!. Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: transgender

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine Elaine  |  January 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    OMG Talk about getting your ducks in a row! Seems like you are getting all the prep work done to make everyones life easier. As far as GRS goes try Dr. Marci Bowers web sight. She is very good at these things and has a wealth of info on her web sight. Another suggestion would be:
    tgnotwhatyouthink.blogspot.com. Veronique is having her GRS done as we speak. She also has a lot of info on her sight. I know there other sources of information that others will come up with and I hope that these two will at least give you a start. You are so lucky to have a strong support group most girls are not that lucky. Have a wonderful weekend. They are calling for freezing rain here in northern Michigan. Huggs Always Christine Elaine

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Christine – Thanks for the link I will check it out. Hope you did not freeze to much in Michigan or had a nice fire to snuggle up to:) Thanks the support. Love, Dana

  • 3. Sherry Ann  |  January 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Hey,

    You are just doing it all this week. I am so happy that you have all that support and that “ordinary” people (those with no prior experience with this) are so ready to be there for you and for Jamie. Your “old school” parents are wonderful and the sis-in-laws great. I suspect all this love and support is a testiment to who you are. You will be fine. Whatever you do this weekend, enjoy and relax a little. You deserve it.

    Sherry

    • 4. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:01 pm

      Hi Sherry – I did not take your advice and relax this weekend. I have to slow down a little. We explored a little bit as a family. Thanks for the support. Love, Dana

  • 5. Jerica  |  January 22, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Dana

    Being in similar situations before I can understand what you mean about the last post and not being destitute. That’s not the feeling I got at all….maybe I just feel a kinship for you and Jamie and that ends in me reaching out in any way I can. Sorry if I offended you at all.

    As for your family and friends, amazing! I’m soooo glad that things are going very well in those avenues. I can just say that if everyone can get used to this when she’s this young, things will go so much smoother later in life.

    Today I emailed my mom and gave her a link to your blog. I hope that maybe your posts can help her somehow….she of course responded that they had to get their info from God and the bible but I still hope she reads it. She also said that when I convert my facebook profile over that she, my dad, and sister will all drop me as friends. I guess I kind of expected that but it was still hard to hear.

    Anyways keep writing. I’m so happy things are going so well and moving along. Good luck this weekend with whatever youd decide to do.

    • 6. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm

      Hi Jerica – No you did not offend me at all. I just did not want people to think I had the wrong intentions, you were so sweet in your offer. I hope the blog helped with your mom. I hope time will help heal that wound. Being from a catholic family myself, I get the religious comments back at me as a parent too. I don’t how to respond to that, all I know something was off with my child. It’s hard thing to understand. Religion complicates it. I hope things work with your family. Love, Dana

  • 7. Amanda  |  January 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I am so glad that your family and friend are supporting you. I really like what your best friend said. It sounds like she would make a wonderful godmother to Jamie.

    I really am looking forward to reading every entry that you make.

    • 8. dstevens11  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      Thanks Amanda, appreciate it. Love, Dana

  • 9. Sarah Jane  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Wow, You are amazing and determined mother. A Mother has to do what a Mother has to do!!
    Sarah


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