“Don’t f— with the babysitter!”

In the 1987 movie, Adventures in Babysitting, Elizabeth Shue plays Chris, a suburban teenage babysitter who has to take her charges into the city (Chicago) to rescue her friend. The movie chronicles her adventures and this classic scene, in which Chris has had enough, has come to mind more times than I can count over the past 29 (wait-what? Has it really been 29 years since that movie was released?!?) years.

I’m having a “Don’t f— with Kat” kind of day. Probably not the best frame of mind on a weather advisory day doubling as the one of the busiest shopping days of the year but, hey…maybe all of that good old fashioned Christmas cheer will soften my sharp edges today, right?

img_1461While I wait for my youngest (and farthest away) chick to return to the nest today for winter break, I will spend my time hanging up Christmas cards, putting lights in the window, placing the garland on the tree….. and listening to Christmas songs. Of course, all of this will take place after I warm up my car, scrape it off and brave the cold and the holiday shoppers-   and the cold holiday shoppers to get a few necessities.

If you are somewhere in the US getting hammered by cold and/or snow, please try to safe and warm! (The same applies if you live outside of the US, of course!!)

Happy Saturday!

-Kat

Missing: One Elf

missing-twizzler

Last week when it was time for Twizzler, our Christmas Elf, to arrive, we found out that he is missing. I had been doing a deep clean in my office, where Twizzler lives when he’s not watching out for Santa and while I remember moving him to a safe location, I can’t seem to recall where that is!

img_8364Luckily, last year was the first year that Ginger, my Office Elf, showed up to watch over my office. Ginger was quick to step up to the task of covering the entire house until Gumdrop or his replacement arrives. She is younger and has much to learn about being a Christmas Elf but so far, she has proven that she is quite creative when it comes to finding new observation locations. She’s still learning the rules of “Elfing” and keeping tabs on CJ and Beej is giving her vigorous training!

We hope that Twizzler shows up safe and sound, or at least sends us a note, letting us know that he’s okay. Until that time, we look forward to meeting the new guy, who is scheduled to arrive no later than Wednesday- thanks to Ebay and fast and free shipping!

“I’m Singing!”

Did you ever have one of those unexpected moments that make you smile….I’m talking a big ear-to-ear grin… and you look around to share that joy with someone else and there’s no one there? I had one of these moments when Kris, Andrew, CJ, Beej and I were out shopping on Black Friday this year. It was not as eventful as last year’s Shopping With CJ and Buzz, but there was one moment.

I was warm, tired, hungry and frustrated, finding no real bargains, when I was standing in front of a toy display, staring at new Star Wars toys. Since The Force Awakens was not out yet, I didn’t know who the characters were and what I was looking for. I was ready to throw in the towel when I heard a voice nearby.

“I’m singing! I’m in a store and I’m singing!”

If you are unfamiliar with the 2003 holiday movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and many more famous actors, you really do need to see it. And if you are unfamiliar with Elf, the above quote means nothing to you so you can watch the video clip below.

As the smile spread across my face, I looked quickly for any of the boys, preferably the big one who would know what I was talking about, although I’m sure Beej would be just as amused, as he is by everything these days. There was no sign of ANYONE— not even the lone singer, who I had hoped to catch a glimpse of so I could thank him for brightening my day.

We left the store empty-handed but Kris and Andrew were entertained by my near encounter and disappointed that they didn’t get to hear it and CJ and Beej were happy to head to McDonald’s for a special lunch.

And this memory will always bring a smile to my face- reminding me that the smallest thing can make the biggest difference.

christmas

The Angel on My Tree

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people for any number of reasons. The list is endless. For me, my downfall is the ornaments on our tree. Since Michael’s first Christmas 25 years ago, my kids got ornaments with their name and the year on them. Some years I would also get a personalized family ornament. Then lets add in the ones given as gifts over the year, always with a name on them. That’s a lot of ornaments.

When Kris first came out as transgender, the impact of opening the boxes that first Christmas and seeing the name that I had given my daughter times 18 (and more) caught me off guard. That first year, all of the ornaments with Kerri’s name on them were put away in a separate box. During year two, I braved that smaller box and studied each ornament, determining which ones would survive the removal of the name and which were undeniably girl ornaments and no longer appropriate. Kris was happy to see the return of many of his beloved favorites sporting his name and I was happy to see them back as well, although still a little sad.

This year, I had forgotten about the feelings that accompanied the ornaments and as we struggled with getting the lights on the tree to work, all was well. Then, in one of my Facebook groups for parents of transgender kids, a mom posted-

I love my son but today I really, really miss my daughter.

One mom brought up the Christmas ornaments and that was IT.

I went off to find that box of Christmas ornaments- the ones that no longer made it onto our tree. But the box wasn’t where I remember it being and I panicked. I searched in my office, went back to the location I thought it had been but didn’t see it and it became an obsession. I had to find that box but I didn’t know where it was. I wracked my brain, trying to remember if I had put it in another box with some of Kerri’s other things or if I had found a special place for it but nothing was coming to mind. And I was panicking. Big time.

Angel Ornament

I stared at our unfinished tree and I saw the angel ornament. One of Kerri’s that sneaked her way onto the tree. She could do that because she wasn’t personalized due to the glitter. This was it. The only representation of a daughter I used to have. Or more accurately, a daughter I thought I had.

I started to think about those lost ornaments, as well as the altered ones, and what they mean to me. See, there are many people who would tell me that I have not lost my child and I should be rejoicing in that. And I do. Believe me, I DO. Every single time I see that another transgender life has been lost, I thank God that I still have Kris here with me. And when I look at the old ornaments with the new name on them, they do bring me joy because it gives me a feeling of continuity and life going on.

But those ornaments, especially the ones in the box, represent so much more than that one specific year when it was given. I hand picked each and every one with my child in mind- whatever phase or hobby was “the thing” that year. There are the ones with the girl playing the clarinet, the swimmer girl, Baby Bop, ice skating, and so many more. Each of these ornaments brings to mind a time in our family history. They remind me of my changeling, who I thought was my daughter, then thought was my son, and in the end who I learned to love simply as my child, with no qualifying relationship name other than child or kid or offspring. It’s as if every memory sweeps through me in this surge and it overwhelms me, playing with my emotions. I feel the uncertainty of those early transition days where our worlds seemed all shaken up and unfamiliar. I recall the point when I realized that I no longer thought of Kris by his birth name and the sadness that accompanied that thought mixed up with the immense relief that it was getting better. And when I reached the point where Kerri seemed like a complete person separate from Kris and I felt like I had let Kerri go, I am coming to terms with Kris’s announcement that he is genderqueer and nuances and facets of Kerri, that kid I had thought was gone, are reappearing, mixed up with Kris’s being.

I will enjoy this Christmas, being surrounded by my family. But I think I will always feel some level of sadness every year because those ornaments will always be a symbol of so much more than just Christmas or Kris or Kerri. They will be a reminder of years past, happy and sad times, and hope for the future as we look at how far we have come, not only Kris as he navigates this journey, but all of us as we travel along side him, all of us transitioning in different ways.

I am only able to write this post now because I did find that box of ornaments. It was in the original place I had put it. In my panic, I kept looking right past it.

And as we finish decorating our tree, it will be interesting to see if 6 year old CJ will allow Kris to put any of his ornaments on the tree because to quote him-

Uncle Kris has the coolest ornaments!

Oh, and that angel ornament? She has an important job. She continues to represent all of her companions of years past. When I look at her, I don’t just see the angel that she is. I see all of them- the girls playing the clarinet, the teddy bear, the ice skater, the engraved 1st Christmas ornament, the snowman, the angel, the baby in the stocking, the rocking horse, the swimmer and Baby Bop.

the missing ornaments

One Word Photo Challenge: Appliance

Twizzler is back and this year he’s more mischievous than ever.

Twizzler

Imagine 6 year old CJ’s delight when he found our elf, Twizzler, leaving us a surprise on top of the stove! Who knew that elves poop mini chocolate chips?

This post is in response to One Word Photo Challenge: Appliance.