Kat Rambles 5/23/18

When your child is transgender…. gosh, how many times have I kicked off a sentence with those words in the past (nearly) seven years? I have lost count.

When your child is transgender:

  • it gives you an entirely different perspective on what it means to support the LGBT community. It puts a face on it that is so closely linked with your heart and your life that you feel a fierceness and protectiveness as a parent reaching an entirely new level. And you don’t have to be out waving the flag or wearing the colors. (Disclaimer: Not all parents will feel like this and some will hit the ground running and others will come around. Everyone’s experience is unique.)
  • you will learn what acceptance means at its truest form. You will be forced to look at your child in a different way, one you might not have dreamed, and you will have to face what’s inside your heart.
  • all your beliefs of who you are as a parent will be put to a test. Your “unconditional” love will be poked, prodded, pushed and stretched. Wait for it.
  • all of your beliefs regarding LGBT people will be put to a test. Your child is one of this group and the worst thing you can do is “accept” your child as LGBT but not accept other. It instantly invalidates your acceptance.
  • you have to be prepared for battle at any time. Especially the surprise attacks- because you will have more of those unexpected encounters than the ones you planned on. You have to be ready to fight for your kid, regardless of their age.  You will need to be flexible at all times. Sometimes you might be needed to take the lead and stand up to someone. Other times your silent presence will be enough. And there will be times when you only need to stand in the background and watch….at the ready, just in case you are needed. There is nothing more powerful than unwavering, solid parents standing with their trans kids.
  • you will find that not everyone can be trusted- and some might be people you thought you could trust.
  • you might find yourself putting your trust in “strangers” who become the most solid people in your life.
  • you will discover a whole new world, filled with unfamiliar terms, from acronyms to clothing to medical.
  • you might need to educate yourself on a few things. Cliff notes- It’s not a choice. No two transitions are alike. Acceptance, support and love are a must!
  • seeking out others who are going through the same thing can be very helpful! Other parents can be priceless in terms of support and resources.
  • you will need patience. With everyone. And everything.
  • there will be good times and bad times.
  • you need to remember that regardless of your child’s name or gender, they are still the same kid you always had.- this is just another part of them.
  • don’t sweat the small stuff. So much of it is not permanent. (We are on our 3rd name and 4th pronoun change over here. And gender expression? Well, it’s fluid so it’s …..fluid.)
  • you will be having conversations you never imagined you would have with your child.
  • you will become an expert on the difference between gender and sex.
  •  if you are struggling, it will get better. It really will. Your kid is so lucky to have you as a parent!
  • and you are not struggling, that’s awesome- your kid is so lucky to have you as a parent!
  • remember to take care of yourself. It’s really easy to let this consume your life. You need to be in a good place yourself to help your child.
  • if you are past all the sticky stuff and you see a newbie parent trying to make their way through, remember how you felt in the early days and reach out. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless to help your child and feeling like you are alone. If you can give back a little, please do. If you can do nothing else, a kind, encouraging word is priceless to someone who is floundering a bit.

fierce mama bear there

Wishing you all good things!

-Kat

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Words ending with “ock”

When I first saw this as an upcoming topic, my mind went blank…..something that happens way too often these days! But once I thought of one word ending with “ock” the words just kept coming to mind. Here are my three favorite photos for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Words ending with ock

bw dock
Dock in Portland, Maine
bw hammock
Hammock
bw locks
Locks on a fence

Have a great day!

-Kat

These People

Where do you belong? Where’s your safe space? Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up?

In a big city or small town. On road trips. At museums, zoos, concerts. Inside or outside. Spread out separately all in our own spaces or crowded into a small room together. Hungry, tired, crabby. Happy, silly, adventurous. In tears and laughter.

These people. They are my place in the world.

-Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Place in the World

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Close up

As I sit here dusting off my blog and preparing to get things moving again here, I’m keeping it simple for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Close ups.

flower from b

It might not be the closest of ups and it might just look like a sad little dandelion resting in a Winnie the Pooh glass but to me it means everything. Little B is the happiest camper now that spring/summer has finally arrived. He wants to spend every waking minute outside playing. There aren’t enough hours in each day to fill the adventures and projects this little guy wants to complete. And it’s because I know this and at the exact minute when he came inside the house clutching one slightly bedraggled dandelion in his fist and presented it to me, that will treasure it forever. He’s three. He doesn’t know about Dandelion Fuzz. He only knows that this pretty yellow flower caught his eye and he wanted brighten someones day and share it with someone he loves. And he did.

Hope your day is filled with sunshine!

-Kat

Z is for Zen #AtoZChallenge

zen

How I feel having completed the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!

I’m finishing three days late but I’m finishing. Things sort of fell apart near the end…. or maybe in the middle. Despite preparation, I fell behind, mostly due to a lot of traveling that took place these last two weeks. My computer (where all photos and pre-written posts were stored) lapsed into a coma for a few days, which also did not help. But none of that matters because I’m done!

-Kat

Y is for Yellow Hat #AtoZChallenge

yellow hatWhen I walk into the kitchen and see the yellow hat along with sunglasses hanging off his chair, I know that Andrew is home. Since he attends a school nine hours away, this doesn’t happen nearly enough. I was lucky enough to have my youngest child home for the weekend recently and I got to spend one on one time with him- even rarer in these days filled with little boys. Since both little boys demand a lot of our time and energy, it was nice to talk to Andy about that. There was a time when he required all of my attention and we talked about how different kids are at each age. Although he doesn’t remember it, when he was young, he wanted to be with only me. His attachment was so strong that no one else tried to get close. To this day although he is geographically the farthest from me, he’s the one that tugs at that invisible umbilical cord. I always feel his presence even though he is often quiet and in the background in a room full of people (just like his mom!). He is wildly talented, funny and thoughtful. He is precious to me. He always wears a yellow hat. And my heart will always give a skip when I see that yellow hat hanging on his chair.

-Kat

X is for EXcited #AtoZChallenge

x excited

  • “The doer alone learneth.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “You don’t need to have it all figured out at once. Take it one step at a time.” –Mom
  • “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.” -Tom Brokaw
  • “You’ll be fine.” -Mom
  • “A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.” -Robert Orben
  • “Drink water. You’ll feel better.”  -Mom
  • “Graduation speeches force you to reflect. They are about consciousness. Nothing is better than consciousness.” -Bruce Eric Kaplan
  • “You can do it.” -Mom
  • “We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” – Carol Burnett
  • “When I told you that you would be fine, it was because I KNEW that you would be fine. When I told you that you could make it, it was because I KNEW that you could make it. I believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to but even more than that- I KNOW YOU CAN. And you did.” -Mom

My words might not have been as profound as Nietzsche, but my faith and belief in my child were. I am the proud mom of a college graduate.

-Kat

W is for Wednesday #AtoZChallenge

wednesdays

In the 2004 movie, Mean Girls. Cady accidentally catches the attention of The Plastics- aka the mean girls. In one of the movie’s most often quoted scenes, they “graciously” invite Cady to sit with them at lunch for the week. The invite is punctuated with, “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”

Mean girls. We all know them. And they seem to play part in some part of everyone’s life- either a person was a mean girl or suffered at the hands of a mean girl or saw others encounter mean girls.

When I was growing up, mean girls were mean girls. It was that simple. They were not kind. They were bad eggs. They were born that way. Just as some of us were not born mean. Well, I’m sure you see the flaws in my childhood theory. Now we know that when someone is mean, there might a reason. Whether it is circumstances in their life at that moment or the result years of childhood trauma, a large part of that mean group wasn’t born like that. It’s not right to treat people badly regardless.

When I was eleven years old, my family took a vacation during the school year and I missed a week of school. This was unheard of- we were sent to school with hacking coughs, fevers…. we were raised that you simply did not miss school for any reason. In this specific year, my dad had vacation time coming and money saved for a trip but if he did not take it by a specific date he would lose it. My parents reluctantly pulled us from school for a week. We went to Disney World. It was awesome!

My first day back at school after our trip, I was excited to share my adventures with my best friend. Unbidden and uninvited, our resident mean girl, Chrissy, walked up and said, “No one missed you while you were gone. We wish you didn’t come back.”

I was shocked and hurt. I hadn’t had any encounters with Chrissy before this. I spent my entire school years trying desperately (and succeeding most of the time) to remain in the background. While I might be chatty in my small group of friends, I was mostly quiet and never seeking attention. I was incredibly insecure, something that still occasionally rears its ugly head to this day.

I don’t remember any other details of that encounter but one thing remains consistent. My reason for feeling hurt. Her actual words could have devastated me if I had been someone else. To be told that none of your peers missed you and that they wished you gone? Many people- especially at the delicate age of eleven, just on the cusp of the teen years, would have been crushed at the thought. I might have been unsure of myself but I was also smart enough to realize how silly her words actually were. I only had possibly five good friends at that time. Of course, no one missed me. They didn’t even realize I was there when i was there! Seriously! No. I was stung by Chrissy’s intent to hurt me unprovoked. I had never exchanged a word with this girl. Never made eye contact. Avoided her like the plague. She wasn’t one of those mean girls who gives you a fake smile and then stabs you in the back. No, she was one who had a nasty scowl on her face and sneer in her tone that was unmistakable.

Since then, I have encountered mean girls in every part of my life. They are everywhere. Unfortunately, my experience has been that mean girls grow up to be mean mom, mean associates….mean. They don’t bother me and although at times my lack of response infuriates them, I remain off their radar. As an adult I am able to see their insecurities and the motives behind their behavior.

I am sorry that these girls act this way. There is another option but I’m not sure that some of them would be open to it.

“There are three ways to ultimate success:

The first way is to be kind.

The second way is to be kind.

The third way is to be kind.”

-Fred Rogers

Have you ever encountered a mean girl? Or are you a mean girl, wondering what the big deal is? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Also, I’m curious- if you were bestowed that lunch invite, would you wear pink on Wednesday?

-Kat

V is for Velveteen Rabbit #AtoZChallenge

velveteen rabbit books

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

More to come later

-Kat

U is for Unexpected #AtoZChallenge

 

  • “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde
  • “The only real things in life is the unexpected things. Everything else is just an illusion.” – Watkin Tudor Jones
  • “Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” – Carl Sandburg
  • “The twists and turns of your life can be so unexpected, and that’s a good thing to learn.” -Christina Baker Kline

Life is filled with so many unexpected moments. Whether it’s an unexpected nap on your lap, a special moment between dad and his little boy, or your precocious dog actually allowing you to take her picture, it’s important to savor those times. They are as important as the big things. All of those little moments that catch you off guard are what fills in the cracks and the empty spaces to complete the full picture.

Don’t be so caught up in those major moments that all of those little unexpected pleasures in life just pass by unnoticed and forgotten. Each day is filled with treasures.

-Kat

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