I’m going to start at the beginning as I’m in a reflective mood, since my eldest turned eleven this week.
I didn’t want kids. Not at first. I did before, but then it all came crashing down. I was barely holding on myself, how could I support another person? I try not to do anything by half, when I decide to do something it’s fully. I’m that way about everything. I’m that way about love, and relationships, and books, and my kids. But I was still a long way off parent material when I started parenthood. I was selfish, and depressed, and still so fucked up mentally over my sister having killed herself only three years before, that I couldn’t be anything but in a dark holeMy daughter changed my life, and my entire outlook.
I tell everyone not to have kids. I am half joking when I say it, but I don’t think it’s a decision anyone should enter into lightly. And it’s not because I’m selfish or because I don’t think kids are the best thing that ever happened to me. Kids are hard. There isn’t a day they will let up, and they will challenge everything you thought you knew about the world. I’ve seen so much crap in parenting, and people putting on a good show by posting enlightening and inspirational facebook statuses about moments, while the reality is they want nothing to do with being parents. Don’t let those people and their pretty social media fool you. They are just as, if not more messed up than the rest of us. So I don’t think anyone who’s not 100% committed should do it. And that’s not to say you’re not going to have bad days where you dream about moving out of the country changing your name and starting a new life. Believe me we have all been there.
This week, I did something I’ve never done before. I let my old friend who lives in another state, not only take my daughter for an entire week, but also take her out of the country. Over her birthday no less. And it sucked. Watching her drive away felt like she was growing up too fast and that tiny selfish part of me wanted to hold on and keep her with me, and not let her out of my sight, but I put a smile on my face and waved her off, knowing this was the best thing for her. Not only because she’s a little introvert but because independence is good for kids, and she’s going to have such a blast with her best friend.
After everything that went on the past few months and what I talked about in my pervious blog post, this was so good for her. Now I’m sitting on a flight back home reflecting. Always a terrible thing to do, (kidding). I opened my planner to jot down what I needed to get done tomorrow. This is a fairly new planner and on top of each new day there is a ‘Thankful for’ section. (Evo Planners. Love them.) Since it was my kids birthday it was the obvious choice as my something to be thankful for.. I started to write and had to pick up my phone and continue writing this. I’m not sure if this will actually get published on my blog or if I’ll just keep it to myself like I do so many other things I write for myself. But it was too much to contain to the space on my planner.
While dropping my kid off with my friend, we got to talking about my pronouns and when I realized I needed to make the change. My friend of course knows and uses the correct ones, but it was more of a ‘we’d never talked about the full story’ situation. When I met my friend I was trying to force myself to be female, by wearing makeup, and heels, and dressing as fem as possible. (I call this the drag years.) We had our daughters three months apart. Her whole family had got to know me during that stage in my life, and yet while staying with them, they all got my pronouns right every time. My daughter’s eleven year old friend uses the correct pronoun for me every single time. Something my own family can’t do. And something the person from last week’s blog can’t do, even having been introduced to me with male pronouns. If an ELEVEN year old doesn’t fuck this up people, you have no excuse to not make at least a solid effort.
This has made me come to a realization in my life. How you see and respect someone is entirely up to you. It has nothing to do with how ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ they seem to you. Getting someone’s pronouns right comes down to a couple of things: How much you respect them, and how much you value them.
The problem isn’t how I present. How I speak. How I dress. The problem is inside other people and I’m never ever going to be able to do a damn thing about that.
This wasn’t the first time this summer that kids have made me realize something profound. More on that next week when I talk about my kid calling my mother transphobic. I know Facebook has his trend of parents gushing over their kids on their birthdays and then going back to frustrated with them every other day of the year. But I am writing this to myself. Because this child is a gift. I recognize it a lot, but not enough, and that is something I am going to have to forever work on. She’s not only my kid, she’s my friend, and she’s an inspiration on how fucking kick ass the future is going to be. I am so lucky this soul was put into my life.
And that’s some heavy shit to write on an airplane and not get all teary eyed in front of strangers.
***Laura W Approve