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Monthly Archives: October 2013

When I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, or the second lamb

Damn, where is this year heading?

We are here at the end of October, nearly Halloween time.  We are no closer to knowing what Jeremy will do for schooling next year, we are no closer to Jeremy having any level of communication with his father, we are no closer to determining if we will start the process for Jeremy to start hormone treatment. The unknowns keep multiplying and the anxiety that walks hand in hand with the unknown is a constant companion.

Jeremy seems fine.  I suppose I have that to be thankful for, he has placed his trust in me to make it all come together and he trusts that I will.  He needs new binders, and I resent that two undergarments that cost so much were so poorly treated that they didn’t last six months, yet I feel guilty when I see his breasts knowing that he also sees them and he doesn’t want to.  I tell you I have wallowing in mother guilt down to a fine art.

Up at the farm a couple of weekends ago, down in the back paddock I went to see new lambs.  There should have been 22, and five have been lost to foxes, but their birth and survival has been an eyeopener across about six weeks.   Watching a ewe I had said earlier was about to drop, I could only see one and something that looked like a plastic bag.  “Another set of twins” said my beloved.  “There is only one honey”.  I had an arm placed around my shoulders “No, honey, it’s twins, look one is up and one is on the ground, it’s yellow”.

“Go and get get it David, it needs your help”.

My darling gently shared his farming wisdom about baby lambs, when you step in, when you let the mother do what she needs to do and all the variances in-between.  He reassured me that this would be fine, we would keep an eye on the little one and it’s mother, it was far too early to intervene and by intervening too soon we could do more harm than good.  It was a knowledge that he learned from his father, no doubt handed down through generations of sheep farmers, almost an inherent wisdom about letting nature unfold in all it’s splendid and varied glory.

I often pray for that kind of inner peace, that certainty that all things have a path to follow and that the path is good.

Right now I want to howl with the frustration of inaction, the lack of impetus and progress.  I want Jeremy’s school sorted, a plan in place for Jeremy and his father that they will follow and participate in for their own benefit dammit and much more in the way of funding to get to Court to get permission to start Jeremy’s treatment.  I need none of these things.  I need patience and love.  I need patience in far greater abundance that I naturally have.  I am glad that my love is boundless and grows daily as it is reciprocated from my amazing circle of family and friends.  I should use the pronoun “I” far less often.

For in the fullness of time, when people are ready, when Jeremy is ready, all will fall into place.  Regardless of my desire to manage it all, to rush or push certain processes at this point may do more harm than good.  May I have the wisdom to know when the push is needed.

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Being a parent means you usually have to share the treats

Right here, right now:

  • I provide a beautiful home for my children that is also a stable environment
  • I have the means to pay for doctor’s bill and prescriptions for Jeremy
  • My bills are paid (mostly)
  • I live in a wonderful city where I can drive past water and see the swans

Some days you need to remind yourself about the little things that mean you are travelling ok.

This last weekend has been a family one; a trip to the markets, Saturday night dinner making Jeremy’s dinner of choice, a trip to Footscray for brunch then onto Bunnings on Sunday, lots of time spent together.  In the car during conversations about upcoming celebrations, my 45th birthday & Jeremy’s 18th, my beloved and I were joking how we would get married when we are 50 and I invited Jeremy along for the festivities. “Well thank you for inviting me to your wedding”.  “Of course kitten” I replied, “I hope you will give me away”.  We shared a smirk, my youngest son and I.

Because here is the deal – this blog is about parenting and my child happens to be transgender, which adds a touch of the complex on occasion to general parenting.  This child has another parent, one who apparently got married this year.  I have spoken about his engagement, but only recently found out about the wedding.  There has been a touch of furor about the wedding that had no family invited.  

So what is the big deal?  This person has recently reached out to Jeremy and stated that he wants to “father” Jeremy.  He has the right to ask, 50% of the genetic material of this child has come from him. Parents should not be martyrs, they need down time and their own bars of chocolate that are sacred.  They share sandwiches, kisses, beds, the contents of wallets, opinions and what is for dinner.  Parents lives are intertwined with their children’s.  There are times when you are challenged by your child and times when your actions challenge your child, anyone who has tried to put an over tired three year old to bed will agree with this.  Even when your child does not live with you there is still a level of consultation and inclusion appropriate to their age.   

Most parents aren’t faced with the task of discussing marriage with a child, but a surprising number do like the joking conversation that was had with Jeremy.  Jeremy trusts that when I remarry and / or re-partner I will seek his support because he is my family and if my partner is someone he isn’t comfortable with then that is too high a price for me to pay. Because I am in this for the long haul,  I am trusting Jeremy to pick my retirement home.

So there is a reasonable expectation when you are fifteen or sixteen that a parent will have a chat with you about a life changing event that impacts on them, raising topics in weekly phone calls, using that time to explore any areas of conflict prior to the precious few days that you get to spend together.   When that doesn’t happen when you are on the cusp of “adulthood”, whatever the reason, there is a lot of work to be done to build a bridge back to open communication.

I stumbled onto the other niggling point of this issue by accident when reading the other day.  I have been re-reading “Committed” by Liz Gilbert, a book where she explores the topic of marriage.  In the last chapter she says; “Marriage is not an act of private prayer.  Instead it is both a public and private concern, with real world consequences.  While the intimate terms of our relationship would always belong solely to Felipe and me, it was important to remember that a small share of our marriage would always belong to our families as well – to all those people who would be most seriously affected by our success or our failure”.  There are many reasons to privately celebrate the union between two people, regardless of religion, race or gender.  But no man is an island and so logically no two people are an island, fully self sufficient.  This becomes even more so for couples who are marrying for a second time with children involved, the event itself becomes more like an international negotiation with demarcation lines, neutral zones and plans of attack. In this instance it seems that the couple in question have shut out those on whom they will rely most for support in the future, parents, families and a child.  Appearances can be deceiving though, I can only speak as an outsider looking on from afar.

So it has been a tumultuous few weeks for Jeremy in the fathering arena during a year when he asked for space.  I am proud of how he has managed communication to date and I will stand by him as he reaches back, I won’t let his hand go until he’s ready.

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Post “Insight” ponderings

A couple of weeks ago several people contacted me about a show on SBS about transgender kids.  I love my “village” so much, so many people who love and care for us!

We watched this episode of Insight on line the day after it aired, Jeremy and I were on the couch, sick as sick can be.  Jeremy watched, engaged, making thoughtful comments. He was most taken with the parents who were so open and loving.  He was very vocal about the couple who identified as lesbian originally then one partner became a man.  There were heated debates between Jeremy and his friends as to whether the couple should be called heterosexual now or if they were still a lesbian couple, The debates were respectful and challenging.  I forget how passionate being 16 can be!

I took comfort from the young person who talked about trying on labels of sexuality only to identify that he was “none of the above” but was transgender.  His journey so mirrored Jeremy’s.

I came away with this thought – it is worth the time for Jeremy to investigate fully, assess fully.  Stage two hormone treatment is not fully reversible.  Jeremy has time.

There is an option after the age of 18 to bypass the psychoanalysis and go straight to surgeries, hormone treatments, this is known as informed consent.  IF (and it is a big IF) you have other stuff going on in your mental health you may confuse gender dysphoria with any other number of things including mental illness.  These are the 1% of 1% people (pretty sure this is not an actual statistic but you get what I mean).  Following the informed consent model IF something else is going on the actual cause of why you feel the way you do may not be uncovered until you have done something to yourself that may not be reversible.  I am not saying that psychoanalysis provides an ironclad guarantee but I do believe that it will provide a level of assessment that can identify if there is something else going on.  The more checks the better I say, especially if you are undergoing surgery of any type!

So time, a precious gift for anyone, is a gift we have in abundance.  Jeremy is motivated to continue conversations with his psychiatrist.  He has time to get to the end of formal schooling while living as a boy.  He can test out long term if being a boy is what he wants physically.  We can talk to other families and  young people and learn all we can.  

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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