Space Mountain

When I was twelve years old, my family went on vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. At that time, Disney World consisted of the Magic Kingdom and the resorts. It was just as magical then as it is now, even though it was much smaller.

I will never forget my first ride on Space Mountain. It is an indoor space-themed roller coaster, lasting two and a half minutes. (It felt like much longer!) It was my first roller coaster and at that time I didn’t even realize that it was a roller coaster. Something tells me I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to ride it if I had known.

My little sister was my companion for the ride. I don’t remember much except for screaming. A lot of screaming. I’m not sure if it was me or my sister or both of us or neither of us. The entire ride took place in darkness and we were unable to see the track and whether it was headed up or down or twisting or turning. At times lights raced toward us out of nowhere. The entire experience was more intense than anything I had ever experienced in my life. I can’t remember ever being that afraid.

By the time we had run the course and taken the ride of our lives, I was breathless and my sister was crying. I couldn’t scramble out of the car fast enough. My sister, on the other hand, refused to leave until the Disney worker said, “You need to get out, little girl, or else you’ll have to go for another ride!” This was all the motivation my sister needed to high tail it out of there.

I swore that if I returned I would never go on that ride again.

I kept my oath for nearly forty years. My kids went on it without me. And then I’m not sure what changed but I decided to give the ride one more try. Within seconds I realized that I had made a mistake. As I was jerked this way and that way, forward and back, I held tight to the car with my eyes squeezed close as tight as I could while I listened to the screams of everyone around me. There was no way this ride was under three minutes long.

By the time I exited the ride on wobbly legs, feeling as if I had just been shaken up and dumped on the sidewalk, I swore I would NEVER EVER EVER go on that ride again NO MATTER WHAT! And this time, nothing is going to change my mind. Not forty years to forget how much it freaked me out or the pleading eyes of an adorable grandchild!!

Day 6 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge at Live, Love, Simple prompts “what you are afraid of.”

Hope your weekend is sunny and cheery!



E is for Evolves #AtoZChallenge

life evolvesOne of the coolest things is to watch your children grow up and evolve into the adults they are going to be. You will see bits and pieces of the kids you raised and then there will be all the bits and pieces they picked up along the way resulting in this awesome person.

Kris is my gender fluid middle child, who uses “they/them/their” pronouns and currently has female gender expression. The journey we have taken over the last six and a half years rivals Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom. Having a daughter for 18 years, then a son for nearly 4 years and finally seeing Kris come into themselves has been amazing.

In a few weeks Kris will be graduating from college. They are finishing a few years later than their friends but those extra years were filled with self-discovery and growth that can only be experienced through real life living. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be easy but boy, am I proud of this kid!

“It’s never too late to  grow up and become who you really are.” -e. e. cummings


Have a great day!


fierce mama bear


51 Weeks: 51 Songs From the Past: Week 3: Shaun Cassidy (sigh)- Da Doo Ron Ron

When I was a teenage girl, my walls were covered with posters of my favorite heart throbs- with Shaun Cassidy topping the list. And why wouldn’t he be? With those dreamy brown eyes, beautiful smile, and pretty voice, what’s a smitten teenage girl not to love?

But he is more than just another pretty face.

Shaun Cassidy was born September 27, 1958, the child of famous actor parents- Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, half-brother of singer/actor David Cassidy. In addition to singing, he acted, starring in the TV series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which ran from 1977-1979. Since the 90’s Cassidy has created, wrote and produced shows for both network and cable television.

For Hugh’s 51 Weeks: 51 Songs: Week 3, I’m sharing Da Doo Ron Ron. This song was written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, and recorded by the Crystals in 1963. Shaun Cassidy’s cover of the song topped the charts at number one in 1977.

Listening to Shaun Cassidy sing this song makes my heart go pitter pat in the same way it did all those years ago and I’m a teenage girl once again.


Empty Nest Playlist

And just like that, the house is empty. All of my chicks have left the nest. One took his family to live in their own nest and the other two are heading back to college. Circumstances make it impossible for me to accompany my college kids back so in a flurry of last minute shopping, packing, laundry and a birthday party…. I find myself alone. Well, actually Ari and I find ourselves alone.

My emotions are a glorious mess and nearly impossible to describe so instead of attempting it, I have created a playlist:

The Sound of SilenceSimon & Garfunkel

You’re Gonna Miss This Trace Adkins

Where Does the Good GoTegan & Sara

EntwinedTim Myers

Hello GoodbyeThe Beatles

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -A. A. Milne

As our first day as empty nesters comes to a close, we are settling in to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy, which we are way behind in watching. I suspect Ari will sleep through most of it but as long as she leaves enough room on my chair for me, it’s all good!


Five Years

Thanks to Facebook I was reminded that it was five years ago since my last family reunion. Nothing about this meant anything to anyone but me.

And for me, this little tidbit was a life changer.

See, five years ago was the last time most of my extended family saw my children (save the ones who I’m friends with on Facebook who pay attention to anything I post- making that number pretty small). Michael was 21, Kris (formerly Kerri) was 18 and Andrew was 15.

Just days following that family reunion, Kris came out to us as transgender- identifying as male, not the female. Since that day- which was a major turning point in all of our lives- we have embarked on an amazing journey.

We experienced name changes, pronoun changes, wardrobe and appearance changes. We saw the effects of testosterone as Kris transitioned. And then we found out what remains when T is no longer taken. We updated a license, social security, insurance and other various documents/cards with a new name and/or gender. Our relationships with each other as well as outsiders was put to the test. While I’m happy to report that our inner group of 5 remains strong, we lost people along the way. It’s unfortunate but we know who the genuine people are in our lives and we know who will be there when the chips are down. That is a gift that is most precious.

And to the casual outside observer, say someone who isn’t really paying close attention, if they look at my Facebook page today, they see Kris (who some might remember as Kerri, some might not even notice that the name changed 3 times) 5 years older than our 2011 Kris/Kerri. If they are unaware, they will have no doubt that Kris is a girl. A woman of 23 now. And they will be wrong.

My relationship with Kris has transitioned as Kris has transitioned. These days it closely resembles what it might have looked like if Kris was still Kerri and was not transgender. Bras and feminine products are on our shopping list. Kris asks if I have red nail polish or for my opinion on their eyebrows. With only a few minor exceptions, Kris’s gender expression is female. Their gender identity is non-binary. Things are calm right now.

As for me? Well, I’m in a different place now. I’ve gotten used to seeing Kris dressed as a girl. I’ve become so accustomed to it that photos of Kris as a boy seem like long ago. I have adjusted to the name change for the most part. (Kris will remain Kris in my blogging- which is how I know that I have accepted their new name. In my head and in my writing the new name is the first to pop out and I have to correct it to Kris.)

My subconscious is another story. Kris’s pronouns are they, them, theirs. My pronouns for Kris are so inconsistent. Hes and shes are interspersed with theys- sometimes all in the same sentence. In my thoughts shes are lurking around every corner. I understand that seeing Kris as a girl is triggering those feminine pronouns. But I also feel the internal struggle with wanting to have a neat little package tied with a bow- and I know that I cannot have that. My head understands that there is not a special word that equates son or daughter in non-binary but my heart yearns for it.

I’ve lost my place in my support groups as well. I’m no longer the parent of a child who transitioned from female to male or identifies as male. While I have the experiences of the last five years. I do not know anyone who has a child who is non-binary with their gender expression matching the sex they were assigned at birth. In some circles Kris isn’t considered transgender. I read the posts and attend the meetings and support anyone I encounter who is struggling with their trans kid, but part of me feels like I no longer fit in. I seem to be surrounded by parents celebrating their children’s transitions, surgeries, name changes…… I’m so happy for them. (And confused for me.) I am sure that these wonderful people will continue to be supportive- even if I feel like I don’t belong here. I know this because these are truly the most amazing people in the world- supportive parents of transgender people.

I’m uneasy right now. In other parts of my life I am facing challenges that might make my experience with Kris look like child’s play.

Everything happens for a reason, right? Well, I know I have at least one friend who doesn’t really believe this. (And she knows who she is- if she reads this… which I hope she will because maybe it will help her to understand part of my silence lately.)

The past five years presented me with the biggest challenge of my life (or so I thought). My world was turned upside down and continued to be so for probably four of the five years. And it might be that this journey is not over yet and this is just an ebb…. waiting for the flow to return. But maybe it is not. And maybe the last five years was preparing me for what lies ahead.

One thing is certain. Wait, maybe two…… three.

  • I learned that I am much stronger than I ever realized.
  • If you truly love your child, it doesn’t matter what their name is or if they wear a dress or not. You just love them.
  • The LGBTQ community is truly AMAZING.

So as I post something to Facebook, there might be friends who look at my latest posts and think, “Hmm, not much going on there. Kids are growing up. Cute little boys. She looks older….” But the ones who know, will know. They will understand the significance of the picture I shared today. They will be familiar with the journey that got me to this place, some coming in part way, some dropping in and out, and the special ones who have been with me every step of the way.

I’m not sure what the next five years will bring and while I continue along Kris’s road, another path has joined our family’s path. I’m anxious, unsure if I’m truly up for what we will be facing, but I felt this way before….five years ago. And I’m still here. We’re all still here.