Happy Birthday Mom!
The first post on this blog is a "coming out" letter to my mother ("Hello !! This is my first blog post"). In that post I promised to keep her up to date on our grand children, children, Vanessa and me. After the first flurry of posts, things have slowed down to nearly stopped. There are a few reasons for that; the situation with our grand children has stabilized, my transition has been pretty smooth and most importantly I don't need the emotional release as much. Professional counselling has help tremendously, I highly recommend it to everyone. That being said the last year had quite a few unbelievable aspects, a global pandemic that killed over 500,000 Americans, a presidential election that was polarizing and an insurrection attempt. The best I can say is, "Holy shit, what a year!". Anyway.
Happy Birthday Mom!
You would of been 90 years old today! I'll try to catch you up on the things going around here. Rachel and Geoff have settled into their lives as well as can be expected in this pandemic. We as a country have been on lockdown for a year, which means; no travel, no gatherings of folks outside of your household, no restaurants, no fans at sporting events, no concerts, no in-person anything (even school). We have to wear masks when out at the grocery or drug store, maintain "social distancing" (keep at least 6 feet apart) and wash our hands constantly (ok maybe not constantly but often, very often). It has been socially isolating and economically devastating to much of the country. A vaccine has been developed in record time and is in process of being administered (I'm fully vaccinated, Vanessa partially). The world will likely never be exactly the same, but is slowly returning to a new normal. I doubt Fenway Park there will be at full capacity of fans until next year. Rachel logs in to school on her computer. Just last week actually attended school in the school building for the first time in a year. Geoff is still in MA, living with his dad. His struggles have continued there, that along with the pandemic restrictions, he's missed school most of time. Vanessa and I support them as much as we can.
The political situation here is a mess. The republican party you and dad supported is alive in name only. So much so that for the last election, they did not have a platform (they repeated the one from the previous election, but it was really just whatever the president wanted). The republican president had authoritarian desires (think Putin from Russia). Thankfully he lost the last election in a landslide. Then came the insurrection. As unbelievable as it sounds, the president rallied his crazed followers to storm the Capitol while Congress was confirming the electoral college votes. Perhaps the saddest day in American politics, ever. When I wrote last year, I had no intention of discussing politics. I am significantly more to the left than you were (and you were more liberal than dad). I think you both would have voted for the democratic presidential candidate this last election, maybe for the first time. Let's hope this will be the last time we need to talk about the state of the American political system.
Rachel is doing great, she'll be a teenager next year. Her room is messy often, she battles with Mary about chores but her homework is done on time. All in all pretty normal for a 12 year old. Geoff has his challenges. His life is as stable as it can be, unfortunately the outburst still happen. It's unknown where or when he'll return to school. We have not seen him in person for over a year. Vanessa talks with him regularly over video call. She is brilliant at it.
Mary has a new man in her life. He is stable and working. We like him a lot. They live together with Rachel and are thriving as best as you can in a global pandemic.
Jane is doing much better. While they were living in Colorado they developed a pulmonary embolism due to the estrogen they were taking for transition. It was very serious and has stopped their transition. I guess I should explain pronouns, it does seem odd I'd need to do that to a elementary school teacher. As the world progresses it has become obvious that the binary (just two) conception of gender is inadequate. There are females that use she/her pronouns, males that use he/him pronouns and non-binary that use they/them pronouns. I use she/her pronouns, Jane uses they/them. For years after they came out they used she/her. After their transition was stopped (could no longer take estrogen) they felt uncomfortable using she/her pronouns. If this seems confusing, you are right it is, especially without living through it. The world is moving toward accepting (albeit begrudgingly) that gender, sex and sexual orientation are different things. Gender is what you perceive yourself to be (e.g. I am a woman). Sex is the physical characteristics you have at birth (they can be changed with surgery). Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to. Isn't progress wonderful!!
It's been a tough year for Vanessa. Her physical issues continue to make her life difficult. She has back issues, knee issues, type 2 diabetes and end stage carpel tunnel. I'm probably missing some things too. To be able to smile and laugh with Geoff and Rachel is truly remarkable, but she does it every day. They love talking with her. When Geoff calls in the middle of an outburst, she calms him. When he calls she "plays" with him for however long he stays on the phone. It is way beyond what I can do. Unfortunately, her oldest brother passed away last month from lung cancer. He was stage 4 when diagnosed and chose not to undergo any treatments. He passed within two weeks. Due to the pandemic, visitors are not allowed in the hospital, so she didn't get to say good bye to him. I am blessed to have her in my life, we all are.
So that leaves me. I so wish I could talk with you, tell you how I feel, share this transition with you. I think I was never able to grieve your passing because I was not being honest with myself or with anyone about who I am. It's probably why I feel so compelled to write to you. BTW, I'm doing great, I have not been angry since coming out. It's funny in away, I had lost the book that was produced from the creative writing class I took way back in 1974. You remember, it had the poem "Big Rock". It also had a little poem I wrote about the lost woman within where I had decided to bury her deeply. Rachel had come over and decide that we needed to clean my office. So we did and in the process found that book. The memories of that sad time in my life came flooding back. The good news is that I think I have enough perspective now to keep growing from memories. I'm not that scared little kid anymore, I am a happy and confident woman. Ready for new adventures, maybe even at my advanced age a new career.
Well Mom, there is probably a million things I forgot to say. Hopefully I will write before your next birthday!
I love and miss you,