A few good weeks…

March 7, 2010 dstevens11
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Apologize for not posting, not sure how to categorize the last several weeks, but appreciate everyone’s thoughts, comments and concerns.. This is the first night I have sat down at the computer in awhile, which I think is a good sign. I may have sounded a little crazy there for awhile, (deserved the title). But overall the last several weeks have been very productive for our family – especially for Jamie, a few setbacks but overall a lot of positive wins. I am sooo proud of her. A few highlights not in any particular order:

Jamie’s dad finally got to meet Jamie on her terms. After the episode I commented on in my last blog, my ex husband actually initiated a dinner with Jamie, Aly and Drew a few Friday’s ago. Its funny and surprising where allies and support come from, but my ex’s girlfriend (who I have shared before seems put together and very nice and seems to be pretty good with the kids from what they tell me) has told my ex to “wake up” in terms of Jamie – as he put it me. Good for her! Supposedly she has been talking him thru it, and telling him to be more open-minded. Can’t believe it! Thank god!!

My ex did not want me to be there, which again I saw as a positive, and did not take offense to it. But he did ask if I minded if his girlfriend would come. I was skeptical, just because I knew it would be a big moment for Jamie. But that’s when my ex interjected that she has actually been real supportive, and he really needed her support there. I was cool with that. 

When my ex called the kids to set it up, and talked to Jamie, she was real excited. She wanted to overdo it a little, they were just going to the olive garden, so I told her to play it down a bit. “Ease your dad thru this” I have been encouraging her. We have been seeing her therapist more regularly then usual, will explain later, but getting this past her dad has been a big topic of conversation this past month. 

When my ex picked the kids up, he actually came to the door, and welcomed the kids. He seemed to me a lot more put together, then the last couple of times I have seen him. Jamie wore this pretty yellow sweater, skinny jeans (got her past the leggin stage 🙂 ), and some cute sneakers she bought. She looked cute, of course she was all made up, and wearing the blonde hairpeace she has. She and Aly must have confided on dress code, because Aly followed suit and dressed very similarly. As much as Jamie has been hurt before by her fathers recent actions, credit to her, she is still keeping her head high and keepin at it. I think her father’s acceptance is very important to her. Needless to say, she was excited. 

When her father came to the door, Drew kind of went straight out to his truck, not wanting to probably witness what happened last time. It was kind if funny, like “get me out of here.” 

Aly gave her dad a big hug, and Jamie followed her a little hesitantly and gave her dad a hug. But what transpired from there, from a mothers point of view and my heart I knew it would be ok, my ex gave Jamie a strong hug and Jamie squeezed harder. It was so subtle, but WOW!, I knew right then the possibilities were endless. I am not sure where the motivation came from, but it was real. THANK GOD! Of course, I went it inside afterwards and cried my eyes out.

Aly was texting me from the restaurant giving me the play by-play (she is sweet and cares so much about everyone). Everything went very well. No DRAMA! What else can I ask for, nothing! All of your prayers are helping, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Her dad dropped them off a little while later. Jamie was smiling ear to ear. Of course Aly and Jamie were beaming on how cool her dad’s girlfriend is, not that any mom wants to hear that. But I pick my battles. 

Things aren’t perfect in that my ex has not had Jamie or Aly for that matter sleep or stay at his house at all in the last 5 weeks. I know he can’t handle Jamie in the entirety yet, which is not fair to her or Aly, but again will pick my battles. I love having them here all of the time. But the last few weeks have been a huge leap for him. 

Plus Drew has been spending most weekends with his Dad, and quite frankly I think Drew needs to get out of here. I respect that too. He has kind of been a fish out of water, and he needs a little male influence of his father. With all that is going on it has gotten a little femininely out of balance for him here in the house to say the least. Drew hasn’t come out to say anything negative or derogatory, but he just kind of hibernates in his room. He is looking for an outlet. I am a little worried, because this was the pace he and his friends would hang out. I am not sure what he is saying to his friends, but since Jamie has started dressing at home, he is not inviting them here. Which from Jamie’s standpoint, all he has to do is tell her, and she would dress as his friends see her in school, as a boy. So I think he does it out of respect for her, but I think he is feeling a little isolated. Still keeping a strong focus on him. 

To that point, as far as Jamie is doing? I think I referred to it before in my blogs, as opening a Pandora’s box. It’s a theme I have been discussing with our therapist. I guess my expectation of Jamie initially would be a lot of subtle exploration and learnings, and a gradual pace toward “her finding her way home” as I have titled this blog. She has always been such a reserved, shy person. I know that she put on an act s boy, she did her best trying to fit in and present herself that way. I know how much it hurts her, and still does. But I guess I never knew how much until now. I am amazed how she has shredded the male persona she had so easily. Without that barrier she is so funny, outgoing, alive….Her and Aly are constantly giggling, laughing, dancing around the house.  It’s so great to see, but I never thought it would happen so fast. 

She is so much trying to build that life she always wanted. The second she gets home from school, and all weekend, she wants to 100% experience life as a girl. It’s almost like I want her to slow down a bit, and relax. But she wants to absorb everything. 

As always she had taken an interest in my clothing, as I stated before I have given her some of my old and forgotten stuff to explore with. As she has started to build her own stuff, she is less interested with my stuff. Which is good for both of us. Although she is now fixated on my shoe collection (what girl doesn’t want a closet full of shoes), and she is about the same size as my foot. So it works for her, but now I am trying to separate what she can use and what she can’t. Since most of my stuff, especially heels and flats, I need for work. I can’t afford to buy new stuff.  As any near 16 year old girl will do, getting into her mother’s heels is a part of growing up. But seeing her try on want to learn to walk in heels, as she did much of this weekend, is sometimes a little too much for me to see or grasp. Things are moving too fast. 

On the other hand, with Aly, I think she is trying to explore the girlhood she never had at Aly’s age. I think I have stated before that Aly has been dancing competitively since she was 5, and belongs to a dance studio here locally. She’s a beautiful dancer. I could write another blog on how proud I am of her. Well she has obviously collected a bunch of costumes from all of the recitals she has performed in over the years. Jamie has taken a lot of interest in it, so many nights Aly and Jamie have been dressing out in various costumes and fooling around together in the basement. I know for Aly, she is loving the camaraderie and friendship, she does this atuff with her friends all of the time, and its no big deal. But Drew saw Jamie in a full leotard costume get-up last week, that I know made Drew feel uncomfortable. Which I told Jamie, although I know its harmless, she needs to find a little restraint at home. I know she is just exploring. 

I knew this year, especially with her starting estrogen treatment, that eventually things were going to get a little difficult. But I think for her and the more she is getting comfortable being female more regularly, I can see it getting more difficult for her to present as a boy. Which is a dilemma. 

I know she is on a low dosage of estrogen, but I can see subtle changes in her face, especially around her eyes. It probably has more to do with her confidence, but combined with her mannerisms, posture and behaviours she looks female even dressed as a boy. I may think it is just me as a mother, but last week, I picked Drew and Jamie up at school, and Aly at the babysitters and we went to Friendly’s for dinner. Just to grab a quick bite to eat, because I did not want to prepare anything. Well Jamie was coming straight from school in total boy clothes, when the waiter came over to us and asked us for our order, Jamie was sitting next to Drew and he said “what can I get you miss?” Now initially I thought she may be a little embarrassed, but not at all. She was beaming from ear to ear, and never missed a beat and told him her order.  Drew of course rolled his eyes. So others are seeing it too. 

With all that being said, I worry about her safety and well being at school. I am possibly contemplating taking her our of school earlier then planned. At this point, I’m thinking to myself what’s the point? If she is going to start homeschooling next school year, what is the value of keeping her in school now, and putting her thru that everyday. We have talked a lot about that subject in therapy, and we may be heading that way soon. My mother could start helping her out at any point in time, and she can help Jamie finish her studies this year and start preparing for next year. I have to get my ex’s approval, and I doubt he will be supportive on that, but who knows. Especially after the latest events. I know for Jamie it is getting tougher and tougher everyday to put on that face. What does everyone think out there? Is it a horrible thing to do or message to send?

We’ll see…

The other big thing for Jamie coming up is Easter weekend. We plan on spending Easter at my parents house, and my brothers and their families will be there. Jamie and Aly already told me they want to go shopping together for Easter dresses. This will be Jamie’s first, and I always remember when I was a girl, going shopping with my mom for my Easter dress was a big deal. So I will take them both out within the next couple of weeks or so. 

Easter weekend for Jamie will be her unveiling with her cousins, aunts and uncles on my side of the famiy. So she is excited and nervous at the same time. More excited then nervous I would guess. My parents saw her a couple of weekends ago, and they were great. Even with my dad, which I was nervous about was great, so there is a lot of love and support there. I think my brothers will be real cool about it. They will prep they’re kids beforehand. 

We have an upcoming appointment with her endocrinologist, we will see how things are going there. The big decision will be increasing her estrogen therapy come May into the summer. Things are happening fast.

Other then that, hope all is well out there with you. Sorry I have not posted in a while, it’s been crazy busy here, for all the right reasons. Things are good. 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. Stacey  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Dear Dana:
    Thanks for posting an update. I figured you’d had a bit much on your plate, but worried we’d become a little intense for you…

    I couldn’t help but giggle and cry with joy for Jamie throughout your post. You painted a very touching scene with Jamie’s father.

    I couldn’t help but laugh for joy reading about the dinner at Friendly’s. As a transwoman, one of my favorite interactions / reactions is when I hand a waiter or bouncer my ID, and they think I’m joking. I have to talk in my old male voice to convince them… So, I can imagine how tickled Pink Jamie was by the waiter calling her Miss.

    As for school… As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t come-out until my mid-20s. However, in Jr. High School harassment over my effeminate nature reached a fever pitch. The school administration and my parents worked out a semi-home school arrangement. I would pick up and drop off my assignments each Friday for the classes I was in. It worked out very well, and I moved quite a bit faster than the rest of the class.

    Also, as I entered H.S., my mom new I needed to get out of my hometown. So, she helped my graduate early from high school. One way we did it was through Independent Study HIGH SCHOOL courses from BYU. I’m not a fan of the institution, but they were cheap and it helped me get through high school with and accredited education. In case you are interested, here is a link to their site http://ce.byu.edu/is/site/courses/highschool.cfm. Of course, BYU is owned by the Mormon church and would not take kindly to Jamie being trans, but they also don’t need to know… It just a thought and an option I thought I’d pass along…

    Most of all, follow your heart and gut. You are an amazing mom, and I think your natural instincts will guide you on what is best for Jamie’s safety and future.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes,
    Stacey

    • 2. Stacey  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      P.S. Just to clarify… My I.D. is still in Male mode. I plan t change it post-SRS.

    • 3. mydaughtersmom  |  May 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

      Dear Stacey,

      Thanks for the great advice about BYU-that may solve many of our problems for our daughter previously known as our son, who just came out to us two weeks ago. We live in a conservative, small town and are looking for ways to allow our child to be who she is without putting her at risk for any kind of harm. Your info has been so helpful. I feel so much more hopeful already-thank-PJ

  • 4. Sherry Ann  |  March 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Dana,

    So great to hear from you and to know things with your family are on a positive track.

    It will be a great day when you will have little to report in your blog because all is going so normally. You, of course, are not there yet but happily it appears things are going in that direction.

    There is no easy answer to your question about school; you have a unique situation. Most of us knew instinctively that Jamie would quickly find it so difficult to continue pretending to be a boy at school. With the subtle changes from hormones and the longer hair, and that Drew goes to the same school, there is increased risk Jamie will be outed. You should be prepared for that possibility. The option of pulling her out of school is a good one but comes with its own set of problems. I fully understand the reasoning behind homeschooling but it has a downside. With homeschooling Jamie will be socially isolated from all but family. She will have no experiences with girls her own age; no peer role models on which to build her female behavior imprints. At some point she will need to socially interact with other girls, not family. If you pull her from school now you must find some peer outlet for her to broaden her experiences. It is hard enough for a genetic female to go through teen years, but for Jamie it is beyond difficult. I know you have ruled out letting her transition at her current school, or at a different school, but please keep an open mind; things may look different in a few months. I tend to push sometimes so take this with a grain of salt. I believe the more social experiences Jamie can have as a girl (to her comfort level), the better adjusted she will be in college and later in life.

    As for Easter, I am confident that Jamie will be welcomed by family. With the support and acceptance you and your parents will be showing, the extended family will be fine. The younger generation are more accepting and in tune with such things so I think it will be great. Can’t wait to hear about the dress.

    So much has happened so fast since you started the blog. It has been an inspiration for me, and many others. I know you have gained a lot from it. It is truely amazing what you have accomplished and that you have shared such a personal story with the rest of us. There are challenges ahead but you have laid all the groundwork for success. Thank you for being the person you are. Jamie is a very lucky girl, and Aly and Drew are just as fortunate.

    Please know that you will always be in my thoughts. Do not be afraid to reach out for your needs.

    Sincerely,

    Sherry

  • 5. Sarah Jane  |  March 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I am so glad to know that things are moving along and you have found ways to adjust.

    I have several read some great suggestions for Jamie and her school situation. Is her sister going to the same school? Maybe she can test the waters and see how Jamie’s friends treat her now, I wouldn’t want her to call attention to the subtle changes with Jamie. But they must see what is going on with her.

    Easter will be an exciting day for her, since her grandfather seem to be supportive, he might be a positive role for the rest of the family.

    Keep the posts coming, when you get the chance. Looking forward to the next installment.

  • 6. Sarah Jane  |  March 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I don’t remember drinking anything when I wrote the above comment but I must have, cause the wording is bad!
    People have given you some great advice and suggestions for Jamie.

    There that’s better.
    Sarah

  • 7. Shannon  |  March 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Dana,
    I find it heartwarming and affirming to read of the journey you are on along with Jamie. If I hadn’t been eating spicy onions this morning, I wouldna be confused as to where the tears are coming from.
    I read the bubbling excitement and anticipation Jamie is going through and recall the taste of my life when I came out and went full time last September. I dinna know that some in the “family” refer to that time as “the Pink Cloud,” a time where I was reveling in being myself, a girl! [a girl at 56??? well that’s where my heart and head were.] After a time things quietly changed to simply reveling in being myself, someone I hid and hid from for over 50 years. the one thing I would have changed? I would have documented my life more, particularly with pictures. I tried to blog, but what I needed to do was keep a diary. I hope Jamie is keeping a diary for herself.
    As far as her secular education goes? I don’t know where you live and options are available to you. In Washington State, we have a program called Running Start. It allows kids with the desire to go to college and get their high school diploma at the same time. If the child works hard enough they can get the HS diploma and their AA degree at the same time. At the community college I went to a few years ago, a very significant number of the Running Start kids were one kind of Queer [for myself I am reclaiming that word and mean no offense.] or another. They were children who because of their gender difference -gay, lesbian, bi, trans, gender queer…- had a difficult time fitting in to their local high school. Staff at the college were and are aware and educated to these special children.
    Again, I do not know what is available to Jamie where you live. This is just another avenue [as if you don’t have too many already] for you to think about.
    I hope and pray that Jamie is held in the palm of God’s hands for I know she is exquisitely special in His eyes.

  • 8. F. Lloyd  |  March 12, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Hi Dana, I was thrilled to read your new post- I’m so happy that things are going good. Once again, I smiled, cried, and smiled again as I read. Take care.
    Love Fred

  • 9. Amanda  |  March 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I was so happy to read about the good things going on with Jamie.

    As far as her situation at school, and her increasing female appearance (while still dressed male), you’ll have to watch that carefully for unsafe developments. Pulling her out early may be the best solution. Have you talked to your therapist about your worries regarding school yet?

    I hope that you are getting support also. This must be stressful for you, even as you happily watch your oldest daughter start to bloom.

  • 10. Sherry Ann  |  March 31, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Hi,

    I’m not sure you check this much anymore but wanted to send you and your family warm Easter wishes. I hope everything is going well and no new entries is a great sign that your son and daughters are keeping you busy and inspired. Enjoy the weekend with family and stay strong and focused.

    Sherry

  • 11. Andip  |  April 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Hope things are well. I check in regularly to see how the family is doing. Hopefully no news is good news. Are you going to scale back your communications going forward? I hope not, but being a parent myself, I know how hard it is to find time to yourself. Happy Easter.

  • 12. Sarah Jane  |  April 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Just wanted to wish you and your Children a Happy Easter.

    Peace,
    Sarah

  • 13. Jennifer  |  April 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Dana,

    Thank you so much for sharing part of your life here. (I got here from the TYFA site, via Kim Pearson.) And bless you for being such a good mom to all of your children, including your “new” daughter. I wish I had had parents who I could have trusted with my agony when I was Jamie’s age, but I was alone and had to fend for myself; my road ended up being much longer and complicated than it had to be.

    I just feel overwhelmed with gratitude and joy to see families where parents listen to and love their kids even when the potential path forward is ambiguous or confusing. And not just with Jamie, I see you caring so much about Drew as well. It’s easy for the other children to sometimes slip by on the sidelines, but you’re so cognizant of all of your kids and what they’re feeling and needing, and you do your best to see they have it. I’m also really glad your ex’s girlfriend seems to be an ally and is helping him adjust to Jamie’s needs.

    You are so right about “picking your battles”; gotta keep thinking “big picture” and what will get you ultimately to the goal, rather than getting sidetracked in little wars that might seem like victories but ultimately derail the journey you hope to make. Parenting and relating seems to be so much about knowing what to compromise on and what things cannot be compromised on.

    I can’t even imagine how hard it is for Jamie to “play boy”… especially in an environment that can be very hostile. I was fortunate enough to have that struggle as an adult, with more resources at my disposal and a less hostile environment. I am a very open-ended person and sometimes wonder what it would be like to try to go back to a male persona, but I know that I could not do it; once you release yourself, you don’t go back in the box. Even if I altered my appearance to look more male, I can’t put the rest of the mask/costume back on, it no longer fits. It’s hard to keep up a male pretense once it slips away. I am so glad Jamie has you there to guard her and watch out for her and guide her on this journey.

    You are an amazingly strong and courageous woman. I hope Easter went as well for you and your family as you had hoped.

    Take care,
    Jenny

  • 14. Sarah Jane  |  April 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I hope that Easter Weekend went well for your family, and that you are too busy doing positive things with your children to let us know how things are going.

    Take care and Peace
    Sarah

  • 15. Andip  |  April 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

    So, is the blog discontinued? Sad if that is the case because this blog gave me a window in the fact that things are changing in society. Honestly, I was hanging on your every word. I am sure I am not alone in my feeling. Regardless, I can only guess that you have overwhelmed. Your responsibilities at home far outweigh this blog. If it is over, I wish you my best and will keep you and yours in my prayers.

  • 16. Emilie  |  April 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hope things are going well for you and your family. I truly miss your updates.
    ~Emi

    • 17. Jerica  |  April 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      I agree. I really hope things are going well for you still. I do miss hearing about it but I hope that just means everything has been going well. *hugs*

  • 18. mydaughtersmom  |  May 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    So glad I’ve found this blog. I just found out last week that I have a daughter. My husband and I are working hard but struggling with different levels of acceptance. I love my new daughter/old son-we both do. But this is so hard-we are learning to change our way of thinking. Pray for us….PJ

    • 19. AnnaRose  |  May 31, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Dear Dana and ‘mydaughtersmom’,

      I can only offer you my love and encouragement. You are both doing the RIGHT THING. Trust yourselves and the Love that you have and share with your children. I will be 62 this month. I was able to transition in 1971 ONLY because I had the LOVE and support of my dear Mom. I am still alive today ONLY because she was “there for me” way back then,

      I will FOREVER be grateful to her for not just bringing me into this world, but for helping me survive it and become all that I have become. You are trully blessed.

  • 20. Angela  |  July 2, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I hope all is well with your family. I hope we get an update soon…hopefully (like said above) no news is good news…

  • 21. Julie Fields  |  October 2, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I cant believe i found this blog.. Your journey and mine are so close,, I feel like someone out there gets and understands what I am going through.. I cant wait to read more and track the progress,, julie


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