Groundhog day

February 10, 2010 dstevens11
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Pretty eventful week this past week or so, Jamie did not end up going to her father’s this past weekend (as many of you predicted). Of course it started a lot of drama, not sure how I feel about it. I don’t want this to be a start of a separation between her and her father. My ex is accusing me of being a facilitator of that, and we got into a big blow up over the phone. I spent a few quiet nights crying last week.  

Early last week I talked to Jamie and asked her about going to her father’s for the upcoming weekend. I explained to her that a lot of his friends and family were going to be there for a Super Bowl party, and that her dad is not ready to share “Jamie” with his family yet. She bluntly responded, “Then I am not going to his house.” Which in some ways made me think then; she is ready and confident to show herself to extended family. I think that’s good for her to gain her confidence. But at the same time, I believe in compromising and helping my ex slowly get there. I was mixed. But she was determined and stubborn about it.  

The last couple of weeks have been interesting, the second Jamie has been coming for school, she heads up to her room, and changes all of her clothes and is presenting as Jamie for the rest of the night. Make-up and all. It’s a lot of work, but she is determined. 

In a lot of ways, I have been real proud of Drew, and Jamie for that matter, they are starting to (struggling for the best way to express it) cohabitating or co-existing in the house. Not really engaging each other, which is sad, but comfortably invading each other’s space. I think eventually they may be fine. At first I think in Drew’s eyes he really struggled with seeing his older brother like this, but now may be seeing that Jamie is really a whole other person then what he perceives. I think once that perception changes, then I think the two of them are on a different road relationship wise. You know, brother-sister. It goes back to “changing that lens”, I wrote about before. 

I am not sure from Drew’s standpoint, if he cares or maybe be is even jealous (probably not fair of me to say that) of Aly and Jamie’s relationship. They are getting really close. Jamie and Drew were once like that growing up; they were always known as “the boys” because they were so close in age. Aly was probably the outsider sibling, now in some ways I guess that is becoming Drew. In all he may feel a bit isolated. I don’t know. He has a therapy appointment this week; I’m curious what he ends up talking about.  He is not really sharing any feelings with me, but I am trying to get him to open up. 

As I stated, Jamie stayed determined all the way up until last Friday when my ex came to pick the kids up. “If dad does not want me to be seen, I don’t want to go!!” Aly really wanted to go, but was disappointed over the whole situation.  It was kind of stressful for me, for everyone for that matter. 

My ex called me 7 pm last Friday night, “I am getting off the exit, are the kids ready? I will be waiting outside.” I said to him, “You’re really not bending on Jamie?” He said “Dana don’t push me, you know how I feel about it.” You can read my whirlwind blog all over again for how the conversation went; it’s like that movie “groundhog day” with Bill Murray, where everything repeats itself. 

When my ex pulled up, Jamie was upstairs, Drew and Aly came to the door, Aly had tears in her eyes and was crying. I went out to my ex’s car, and asked him to come in. He kind of grunted and came to the door, and gave Drew and Aly a hug. Jamie came downstairs (she was waiting for this moment) all made up head to toe with her blonde hairpiece,  make-up, in one of my sweaters, a black skirt, pantyhose and a pair of my flat shoes.  I’m thinking, here we go.  She said cheerily “Hi Dad”. My ex kind of had that shocked look on his face, didn’t know what to say. He started to tear up. “how you doin kiddo?” Jamie said, “I’m feeling great dad.” She’s taking the high road. My ex will not use the name Jamie; he is now referring to her as “kiddo”. COME ON!!! I noticed Drew went to the car as soon as Jamie came downstairs. He did not want to deal with it.  Aly stayed right there, almost as a support for Jamie. I am proud of her. 

There was some real awkward silence that felt like an hour, but was probably like 45 seconds. My ex said to Jamie “look I know you want to dress like this, but you have to give me some time, I’m not comfortable or agree with it.” He couldn’t look her in the eye. She said “Dad it’s who I am, I can’t change it, so I do not want to go to your house anymore unless you allow me to be who I am.” He responded, “Why don’t you go upstairs and get changed, and we can talk about it this weekend.” Jamie responded “no, I don’t want to.” He said “alright” and turned to Aly and said “Aly you ready to go?” She was crying, and just turned away and went to her dad’s car. I didn’t know what she was going to do. But again don’t want to cause a rift between Aly and her dad.  I was surprised she left.   

They turned around and left.  My ex was silent.  I should have yelled, or screamed, or got confrontational. But I did nothing.  So disappointed in myself.   

I turned around in our foyer, and Jamie who was trying to hold everything in up to that point, just crimped her face, and just started balling her eyes out and hugged me, she was more like grabbing me, she was crying so hard. We went to the living room and sat down on the couch, and she was just laying in my arms, and I was rubbing her back just holding her. Her all body was shaking.  “I HATE HIM SOOO MUCH!!! WHY DOES HE TREAT ME THIS WAY???” 

I told her I was proud of her, and completely understand why she drew a line in the sand. In some ways I do wish she had compromised a little, and may have suffered a little and went in “boy” mode, because I think my ex needs some time. But as I have been saying, it has been like opening a pandora’s box.  She will not relent. I get it. I don’t know what to do???? It is difficult trying to understand and make everyone happy.  I know it can’t be accomplished. 

I want to say she cried for almost a half hour straight, and it was all internal coming out of her. May be the first side effect of the estrogen she has been taking.  When she looked up at me, we kind of had a light moment as I was wearing a white top, and her mascara and eye liner she was wearing was all over my shirt. She was like “I’m so sorry Mom!!” I told her it was ok. She was broken in her father’s reaction to her. I kind of wished we had talked about it a little, she kind of went to an extreme I think in the way she presented herself, but I think she wanted to make a statement. I also wished I had scheduled that dinner with my ex and the kids to present Jamie.  My bad. My ex was not ready for that. 

Aly texted Jamie on her phone from the car, telling her sorry, and making sure she was ok. She also said my ex did not say a word in the car on the way back to the house. Aly said they did not discuss it, and it was real awkward all weekend with my ex. When people asked my dad where Jamie was, he said “He has something going on this weekend with his friends.” Aly said she did not feel comfortable correcting her dad, but said she was disappointed in him. I hate how he sets the precedent to his kids that it is ok to lie. A lot of bad examples of parenting going on, especially with avoiding problems. 

Jamie got changed into her pajamas, we watched TV together for awhile and went to bed. 

My ex called me about 11 pm (probably after Drew and Aly went to bed) and really layed into me. He thought I made Jamie do that on purpose, and he wasn’t prepared. It just went on and on. I just hung up on him. I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I called my friend Patty late Friday night, and just cried my eyes out to her. We were on the phone until like 2 am in the morning. I keep beating myself up. I know I am being hard on myself, but had a great therapy session this week (yesterday), I feel much better as I write this. 

I think I stated in one of my other entries my girlfriend Patty, is soo supportive of me and of Jamie. She came over on Saturday morning with bagels and coffee and spent the weekend with us. Giving me a break all day on Saturday, to kind of collect myself a little bit.  HUUUUGE. On Saturday, she took Jamie out shopping and bought her (if you’re reading this Pats – way too much!!! J but extremely grateful) stuff. They came in together Saturday night, Patty took her too lunch and dinner, with so many bags. Jamie was smiling ear to ear.  Patty’s husband is pretty well off (you know it Pats and he’s a sweetheart to boot); she’s a stay at home mom with three boys and the one with the shore house. We have known each other a long time, and she was my maid of honor at my wedding.  Bottom line is we’re close.  All my kids call her aunt Patty. 

She said she was happy to “splurge” on Jamie, but I scolded her for buying too much, but was very appreciative.  Jamie was not comfortable trying any of the stuff on and using the dressing room at the stores. So she spent the night trying stuff on, and basically performing a mini-fashion show for us.  Patty said she consulted, but basically Jamie picked out everything. I think I said before she’s got good taste. Thank god! So her own wardrobe has expanded.  She got a lot of good stuff. 

For Patty, obviously she has known about Jamie a long time. I have confided in her all along about all of the events of the last several years. But to listen to Patty’s observations Saturday night once Jamie went to bed, she could not get over Jamie. “She is so much more confident, outgoing and personable then Jimmy ever was. I can’t get over it.” She has seen Jamie grow up since diapers, and she was one of the first people to ever notice Jamie’s disposition, she used to say Jimmy always seems so sad.  She used to say all the time, “I have 3 boys at home, and trust me he is no boy.” 

You can tell Jamie was really happy to share her true self with someone else as well. She did not hold back. Patty was mentioning to me as well, that she could not get over her mannerisms, and especially her speech. “Dana she is already talking like a girl, she is not going to have any problems when she goes full-time” she said.  So the re-assurance from someone else was good for me to hear. 

Sunday, Patty had to get back to her family before the game. Jamie and I just layed around and watched the game together.  Jamie was in bed before Aly and Drew came home Sunday night, which was pretty late. My ex did not come to the door, and when I asked them how the weekend went, Aly was groggy and headed upstairs,  Drew was still excited about the game.  He was rooting for New Orleans. Looked like he had a great time. My ex could always throw a good party. 

Monday came and went back to normal. Last night on Tuesday, my ex called me to apologize on how he acted. He said that Jamie really threw him for a loop and when he saw her dressed like that; it all hit him at once.  He again re-iterated he is not ready for any of this, he is struggling with it, and he needs time. He asked how Jamie was, and I said she was EXTREMELY hurt by what went on. He called back again last night and apologized to her. I told him I do not deserve to be talked to like that, and he REALLY needs to get into therapy fast. We all do together as a family unit.  I could go on, but I do appreciate he reflected on his behavior and called to apologize. What can I say…sigh 

I appreciated the fact he apologized to me, but needs to grow up and be mature about this, and realize he is a parent in all of this.  Jamie needs him now more then ever. I am so proud of her, that she is standing up for herself.  He said we need to go out as a family unit soon, maybe dinner. That’s a good sign. 

So it is again, like that movie groundhog day where everything repeats itself. I keep telling myself that “time heals all wounds.” People will come around.  The whirlwind continues, as I write this I am mentally fried. 

I mentioned some of the emotional outbursts with Jamie, as I stated to her “it comes with the territory about being a female honey.” She has had some crying fits, that I think are due to the obvious stress she is probably under with all the is going on, but also as her doctor said are part of the side effects of the estrogen she is taking. I could write whole other entry of male and female emotions. Jamie is opening up outwardly, which is obviously not a male trait, and to she is quickly realizing that it is very difficult to hold back. I just keep telling her to let it out.  Don’t hold it in!! 

The other observation she shared with me last night when she took her pill, is her skin and hair are getting much softer, which again her doctor shared with her would happen. But I guess also signifies that changes at least subtlety are beginning to occur. She is starting the process of letting her hair grow out, she was probably due for a haircut (as a boy) a couple of weeks ago. We have been discussing which style she wants to grow it into, and she wants it one layer, which will take some time to grow out. 

So things are progressing.  I’ve also been sharing with her different skin care products, moisturizer, nightly facial care…ect. She is so excited about all of that stuff. Her next physical is next month, so far so good. 

I am going to try to respond to all of the comments tonight, but if not, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT! It means a lot to me. Love, Dana

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Entry Filed under: gender identity,gender variance,hormones,trans youth,transgender,transgendered,transition,transsexual

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jerica  |  February 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Dana

    I cried my eyes out reading your blog as usual….especially during the parts where Jamie and you cried. I really feel for you both but I soooo understand the stand she made. It’s the same stand I made by not going to my own birthday party last year because my parents wouldn’t let me wear a simple thing like nail polish at their house.

    Then of course tears of joy hearing about Patty. Give her a hug for me. =) I can vouch for the crying for sure. I have been able to open up in a major way and a lot of that has been being free to cry. And yes there is a lot of stress for anyone transgender so it just adds to the usual stress of everyday life.

    I hope your ex starts seeing a therapist with you soon. I’m glad Jamie took a stand and that you didn’t make her go.

    Will keep you in my prayers,
    ❤ Jerica

    • 2. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Jerica, sorry for the delayed response. Have been away from the computer in awhile. Hope all is well with you. Love, Dana

  • 3. Sarah Jane  |  February 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Thanks for the update, I was really anxious for you, Aly, Jamie and Drew.

    My heart is breaking for Jamie. Her strength of character is really deep and powerful for such a little girl. But I am in awe of her decision to stand her ground in trying to get her father to ‘see’ her for who she is and accept her as for the person she has become. I saw that same look that Jamie’s father gave her in my wife’s eye when she saw me dressed.

    Jamie just wanted to be at her prettiest when she stood before her father, who was expecting to see his son instead of Jamie.

    Please give Patty a huuuge hug from all of us for doing so much for Jamie, and tell that we thank her and admire her for her generosity. She is a very perceptive mother in picking up on the signals from Jamie that something was different about her.

    I am so thankful that her father apologized for his rude behavior and truly hopes that he will behaves like a gentleman and acts accordingly if he accompanies you and the children to diner.

    May the peace of our God be with you and your family.

  • 4. Rebecca  |  February 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

    My dad, who has had a tough time with my transition, actually uses “kid” or “kiddo” a lot. He’s getting better…slowly…but it hasn’t been an easy switch for him. I’m glad Jamie’s dad called to apologize, but am sorry he’s taking his own issues out on Jamie.

    • 5. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Rebecca – Not sure what that is, but my ex is still calling her kiddo, it’s funny your dad did that too. What’s that about? It’s getting better, that’s all I can ask for. Thanks for your response. Love, Dana

  • 6. F. Lloyd  |  February 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hi Dana,another great post-I wait anxiously every week to read you. I am so proud of Jamie for having the courage to meet her Dad fully dressed. It’s too bad he didn’t react in a positive way,but I do think he is making some progress. It is good that he apoligized to you & Jamie, and that he said you should all go out one night- sounds like progress to me. Does he participate in your family counseling sessions? You said something about it being difficult to make everyone happy- it’s not difficult Dana, it’s Impossible! And it is not your duty to make everyone happy. I think you are doing this extremely well Dana,like Ive said before, it is your family, and only you can know what is best. You are doing so much- doctors, counseling talking with friends & family, this blog, your job, not to mention being a single Mom to 3 kids. You should get an award! Do you even know how much good you are doing by posting here every week? I don’t know how many people follow you, but if you do them just a fraction of the good you do me, you are doing something special for them. Does that make sense? I’m kinda rambling, time to go. Keep it up Dana, you’re the best. Love,Fred

  • 7. Melissa  |  February 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Wow! You write such a wonderfulness and honest blog. Jamie seems to be really gaining her self confidence. I know the issue with the ex is difficutl but I will tell you that your ex is light years ahead of my ex in acceptance. My ex has all but disowed Chris and is no longer a part of our lives. I am not taking up for yours ex’s behavior but at least there is some progress and it does not seem he is ready to abandon Jamie. Baby steps.

    I dont know why this is so difficult for men to deal with or understand. In time he will have to see that Jamie is much more happy and self assured. I hope for all of you that in time he comes around.

    Until then you are a wonderful mother doing a fabulous job of parenting.

    • 8. Sherry Ann  |  February 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

      On men’s inability to get it: It’s understandable to some degree. They question thankfully “who would want to be a girl? All that messy monthly stuff, and the sissy stuff, and the emotional weak suff… Yuk!” But the core issue is emasculation. At it’s base level gender is between the legs and the thought of having things removed challenges who they are as men. I think the concept of M2F gender reassignment is much harder for men than F2M is for women.

      Sherry

    • 9. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Melissa – Thanks, your right there has been some progress. I write about it in my last blog, but we have had a few good weeks. Jamie has had two positive experiences with her father. So we’ll see. Appreciate it. Love, Dana

  • 10. Sherry Ann  |  February 12, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Dana,

    Thank you for sharing the events of last weekend. As always, your words inspire and affirm.

    In general, I think the weekend was a plus for you and Jamie. And, after the storm, that Dad at least called to apologize and offer a family outing was pretty encouraging. All of us have stories similar to what happened for you and Jamie. We know the pain and the joy. All I can say is that it does get better and you will be stronger, and a little wiser, for it.

    Specifically, I agree about your concern for Drew. I really worry less about Jamie than I do about Drew. He is isolated and obviously confused by mixed messages. His father’s obstinate behavior is a poor role model for him. I do hope his therapy session helps but he really needs his father to validate Jamie so Drew can get on with being who he is.

    I also wanted to comment on a couple of the specific points in your post:

    You stated: “They turned around and left. My ex was silent. I should have yelled, or screamed, or got confrontational. But I did nothing. So disappointed in myself.”
    That you didn’t push at that moment was the right thing. Yes, he didn’t do the right thing and walked out leaving unfinished business, but so much happened in those few moments that were positive. Jamie held her ground and did not back down. There comes a time is each of us when we can no longer pretend with those closest to us. Yes, it’s hard and emotional but it was a wonderful testament to who Jamie is. You and Jamie gave your ex an opportunity to do the right thing; you could not have changed the result by being confrontational and might have made it worse.
    You wrote: “I told her I was proud of her, and completely understand why she drew a line in the sand. In some ways I do wish she had compromised a little, and may have suffered a little and went in “boy” mode, because I think my ex needs some time. But as I have been saying, it has been like opening a pandora’s box. She will not relent. I get it. I don’t know what to do???? It is difficult trying to understand and make everyone happy. I know it can’t be accomplished.”

    Your ex has had time and opportunity to make an effort to understand and take a leading role in this difficult family issue. Instead he has essentially ducked and stalled. He doesn’t need more time. Every time he says “he needs time” means more misery and delay for Jamie. He is trying to run out the clock. Jamie was right to draw that line as hard as it is. Jamie has reached the point where she cannot compromise with her dad. Compromising who you are is not healthy. Your ex doesn’t have to compromise who he is. He is a father; it isn’t about him. Dads and Moms sacrifice for their children. Dads are suppose to make a good faith effort to support and be proactive in things like this. He doesn’t need to be enabled in his own dysfunction and self-absorbing behavior. And your job is not to make everyone happy. As you have been doing so well, your job is the safety and well being of your children. Life is hard; growing up is difficult; having a child who is transgender is beyond difficult. Keep doing what you are doing.

    You said: “You can tell Jamie was really happy to share her true self with someone else as well. She did not hold back. Patty was mentioning to me as well, that she could not get over her mannerisms, and especially her speech. “Dana she is already talking like a girl, she is not going to have any problems when she goes full-time” she said. So the re-assurance from someone else was good for me to hear.”

    I can’t say enough about what a Saint (no not New Orleans) Pats is. You are so blessed to have a friend who loves you so much and walks the walk. For Jamie to have a role model other than you who accepts her and sees her as female is so affirming and wonderful. It makes such a difference. You and Jamie will need her in some of the difficult moments ahead.

    Dana, I understand the emotion of this time. I understand how you might question yourself in the moment. Please always remember what a wonderful mom you are and how skillfully you are maneuvering through the mine field. You are the best!

    Sherry

    • 11. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Sherry , Thanks for another great response. You are so thoughtful and caring, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Love, Dana

  • 12. Cj Maciejeski  |  February 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I remember the day i finally decided that I just didn’t care anymore to keep this big, giant secret from my dad, anymore Granted, i was 24, but… I disowned my dad a few years before because, frankly, he has wallowed and stagnated in his own emotional quagmire for the better part of the last twenty years. i didn’t confront him directly (i hadn’t spoken to him for over three years, but given the lecture i gave him the day i disowned him i figure there was nothing directly to say to him), but went to a function where many many family friends were to be. remember i spent hours getting ready that day, because he would definitely hear about it, and i wanted him to hear i looked strong confident, and beautiful In many many ways, our confidence as women — and specifically TRANSwomen — is deeply connected to our ability to turn heads. For me, personally i always fee more adept in a given situation when i know that people are desperately searching for the “tell”. You were right to let her draw her own line. this is a HUGE milestone in defining who she is and learning to defend her point of view. There is nobody in the world that can crush the confidence of a young girl than her family. friends and peers are hard, but at the end of the day come and go. I’ve walked into lecture halls to give talks about my transition experience, knowing that there was going to be rejection, insensitivity, and sometime outright disgust, without so much as batting an eye, but the day i told my mother’s family, i was quaking in my cranberry pumps. As her father, he does have to basically mourn the son, but ultimately, this is *her* life, and *she* is the only one who can define it. Speaking from experience, every time she makes a compromise, she prolongs her own suffering. Personally, i think it really really speaks to your skills as a mother that you have raised a strong, confident young woman who is getting to really know herself and her limits. She has decided that she will not allow his shame to dim the flame of her won pride and self respect.

    And THAT is something you should both be proud of.

    Always praying for ya,

    -Cj

    • 13. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      Hi CJ – Thanks for your great posts on my blog. Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you, been away form the computer. I think you hit the nail on the head, my ex and I for that matter, have to “mourn” a son. It is such a tough thing to deal with, but he is coming around. HOPEFULLY 🙂 I am proud of her. Thanks, appreciate it. Love, Dana

  • 14. g.  |  February 22, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Dana,

    I just read through your entire blog and wanted to tell you how incredible this is, what you’re doing for your daughter. You are an amazing human being as well as parent, and I promise you that Jamie appreciates everything you’re doing for her. As a trans person transitioning without the support of my parents, I can’t emphasize to you enough the gravity of what you’re doing. This amazes me completely. Kudos to you, seriously. I wish more parents could be accepting and nonjudgmental of their children and realize that it’s ultimately the child’s transition.

    Good luck on your (and Jamie’s!) exciting journey.
    -Gabe.

    • 15. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      HI Gabe, Thanks for you’re really nice comments. Really appreciate it. I hope your parents come around, you deserve it! Hope all is going well with your transition. Love, Dana

  • 16. Sarah Jane  |  February 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Just wondering how you and Jamie are doing these day, hope all is mending and healing.
    Sarah

    • 17. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Sarah – You said it well, mending and healing, and it is exactly that. We have had a few good weeks. Thanks for thinking of us. Love, Dana

  • 18. Andip  |  March 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Hope everything is ok. It has been a long time since you updated. If I can do anything for you, please let me know.

    • 19. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Hi – Everything is great, thanks for your concern. Appreciate it. Love, Dana

  • 20. F. Lloyd  |  March 3, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Hi Dana, I’ve missed you, I hope all is well.

    • 21. dstevens11  |  March 7, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Hi Fred, same to you. Everything is getting a lot better. Hope all is well with you. Love, Dana


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