I left work early today. It was Good Friday and there was not much going on ... except the usual twenty or so reports I am asked to do. I was heading across town to pick up Timmy (my son) so we could go to dinner with Pam.
A feeling of uneasiness settled over me as I left the bus yard. I don't know what exactly I thought was going to happen, but the short drive seemed ominously long.
I called him. "Hey kiddo. I'm almost there."
"Okay," he said. "See you in a minute."
"Love you." I didn't really expect a reply as I was just around the corner.
"Love you, too."
*** Winter of 1993 / 1994 ***
Timmy and I were home alone in our one bedroom apartment. More than likely it was a weekend as Pam worked weekends. I don't remember for sure, but I do know I was flopped in my chair channel surfing while my son played on the floor.
He was barely three and a half, but very sharp and intuitive.
At some point I stumbled across a show about a male to female transsexual whose family had rejected her because she came out and wanted to live as a woman. It is the kind of show I generally do not watch because the media rarely portray transgender people accurately or in a kind light ... this show was no different, they slaughtered her for the few minutes I watched. They made her out to be some loony man who just wanted to wear women's clothes ... but I watched enough to hear her say, "I won't get to see my daughter grow up, graduate ..." She burst into tears. "I won't see her get married, or my grandchildren ..."
Click ... I changed the channel, but the thought was planted in my head.
I went and sat in the bedroom and started to cry. If I was going to pursue my transition I would lose my wife and my son ... and if by some miracle I didn't poor Timmy would be a target for all levels of ridicule and bullying throughout his school days.
He walked in. "Why are you crying?"
I jumped. "Because ..." I heaved a sigh. "Because I know I'm a woman, but can't be."
"Why can't you be a woman?" His eyes were so comforting.
"Never mind, kiddo. Everything is going to be alright." I decided at that point that I had to wait before I could transition.
Timmy jumped into the car and buckled up. "How are you?"
"Alright. How 'bout you?" I put the car into drive and took a deep breath.
The drive to meet up with Pam would be about thirty minutes. Surely I could find a way to discuss my situation in that time.
- We talked about his college classes
- We talked about Pam being stressed
- We talked about diet and nutrition
- We talked about my work
"On a different note ... " My ability to segue smoothly disappeared at that moment. "The last year ... the last few years ... the earrings and stuff. You've never commented on how I dress ... wearing girly clothes. Does it bother you?"
He looked perplexed. "Dad ... you've always been this way. Why would it bother me?"
"It is part of why I went back into therapy." I think I was actually smiling at the time. "My brain and body are in conflict. For my entire life I've dealt with this. I need to be feminine ...I don't think I am going to have any gender surgery, but I don't know ... ..."
*** Spring 1998 ***
I got out of bed when Pam left for work. It was Saturday and I went downstairs to get online and dial-up AOL before the connection got too slow. I visited my usual groups and made a few comments before searching for information about hormones, requirements and laws regarding treating or dealing with gender identity disorder or whatnot.
The search was taking a long time.
I liked our new apartment ... two bedrooms upstairs with a bathroom, the living room and kitchen downstairs with a half bathroom ... a toilet, a sink, a hairdryer and makeup.
Timmy was going to be asleep for a few hours ... it was Saturday, he always slept in. I decided to get a little girly while I was researching how I could become the lady I always felt I was, even though I had no intentions of transitioning until my son graduated high school ,,, and he was barely in third grade.
"What are you doing?"
I about poked out my eye with the mascara brush. "Just messing around with mom's makeup."
He stepped into the room. "Why?"
"Because I like how it makes me feel."
In hindsight it was very commonplace for Timmy to see me wearing a nightgown at night, or to wear one of Pam's more unisex tops around the apartment and other things that were very much along the feminine lines ... but I was now telling him. "Does that bother you?" I asked.
"Whatever makes you happy." He shrugged and smiled.
I think I almost ran off the road.
The three of us went to our favorite local Italian restaurant. A friend of Pam's family owns the place and we have celebrated our anniversary there every year ... this year we're a couple weeks late, but what the heck.
After the obligatory conversation with the waitress (friend of the family) we all ordered the usual - spaghetti and meatballs, salad with ranch and a side order of meatballs ... and of course some fresh baked bread.
The bread showed up with no problem and moments later the main course ... but no salad. No problem, we'll skip the salad. But the family, and the waitress is so nice, they offered us dessert for free. We all ordered cheesecake with chocolate ... but they only had one slice of cheesecake, so they brought an assortment of different desserts ... it was the best dinner I have had in a very long time.
On the way home I told Pam about my conversation with Timmy.
"What did he say?" she asked.
"Whatever makes me happy ..." I smiled
She looked at me, the love in her eyes was radiant. "I'm proud of my son."