K came home for a visit this past week so he could be there for Andrew’s graduation. I hadn’t seen K since I left him in Orlando for a college internship back in January. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was K’s first time living in an apartment, on his own, with other guys. And these guys don’t know the truth about him either. This was also K’s first time since beginning to take testosterone injections almost 2 years ago that he would be living away from us free to just be himself (out from under Mom’s watchful eyes).
I didn’t have anything to worry about, My middle child, my changeling, my son was still the same old K he was for the past 21 years. 🙂
We went antiquing one afternoon. K was quite proud of his camera bag, which he carries his journal in, and his lion earrings, which he found on clearance at Old Navy. Although it was in the upper 70’s he wore a knit cap and he had just added the temporary tattoo of flowers, which he loves, on the back of his neck. He has his own sense of style and it’s very unique. It’s just one of the many things I love about him. He has always been like this, even as a young child. Looking back at pictures over the years, his individual sense of style comes shining through. He might get strange glances from time to time but guess what- he gets just as many compliments! So there!
We have traveled a rocky road with our families. The last time I invited them to a party was at K’s own graduation party back before he came out to us. In honor of Andrew’s graduation, I invited family for the first time in 3 years. My siblings were unable to come but my in-laws came out in full force (never ones to pass up a party- even if it was at MY house).
Over the past few years they have said all the right words and made all the proper sounds but it has always rang a bit empty and superficial to me, for the most part. Although we have seen them at family functions over the last 3 years, this is the first time they were invited into our home in that time. Early on, I noticed that K was sitting at the counter in the kitchen nearby and wasn’t really interacting with any family or they with him. After awhile he disappeared. I found him sitting in his room, writing in his notebook. I asked if he was okay.
He said there really wasn’t anyone here that he wanted to talk to, that although they asked how he was doing, they weren’t really interested in hearing what he had to say. My heart ached for him. These were his aunts and uncles- his father’s siblings. They were his cousins, who he grew up with. Wasn’t this family? Shouldn’t he feel safe and loved with these people?
After a long while, one of the cousins came and asked him to play a card game with her and the other cousins and K accepted. I thought that maybe things had turned around. I was mistaken. It was later when we were in the car that K admitted that some of his cousins and even his grandmother had made him feel judged. They had questioned his earrings and why he was wearing them- they just couldn’t let him be. And I know exactly what they were thinking because time and time again I have had people say things like, “He can’t go back and forth. If he’s a boy, he can’t do girl things.” Guys wear earrings. Get over it!
And don’t even get me started on the careless comment made by one of them regarding the upcoming birth of our grandchild and how my husband would be a “real” grandfather then.
There’s a reason they weren’t invited into our home for 3 years. I’m not sure when I will invite them again, if ever. And whether it’s K because he is a boy, CJ because he has a different last name or Jasmine because her skin is darker, I want my children and grandchildren to always feel loved, cherished, safe and accepted in my home and I don’t need anyone there who isn’t on our team.