Sunday, February 12, 2017

Goodbye 16, Hello 17

Tuesday night, I cuddled on the couch with Damian in the last waning hours of his 16th year.  During his middle school years, cuddling went out of style.  But in the last year, the affection between us came back and how we hug a lot more, talk a lot more, I try to just *listen* more (though it is very hard to not always give advice).

On Monday, he talked to me about having trouble lately with feeling as though he is passing for a boy.  I look at the changes he's gone through and I cannot understand anyone who looks at him for the first time now and assumes Damian is a girl.  I get it if you knew him from before, if you knew him as Maya.  That's a hard habit to break and we understand (but so appreciate it if you try your best to get it right).  But meeting him for the first time, being introduced to him as Damian - I don't get it.  But it happens still and it really hurts him when it does.  It happened in one of his classes that day - and it was a teacher who had never had him before, so there shouldn't be this issue (his name is changed in the school already).  And I didn't have any advice other than to just keep correcting people.  Yeah, it's totally lame advice.  And what a terrible burden to put on a kid.  Especially by an adult.  All of Damian's friends get it and do not have a problem.  They have switched over and, to the best of my knowledge, none of them have made glaring mistakes.

But even this past weekend, it happened AGAIN at his Saturday morning Art Conservatory classes.  The school apparently pre-prints the rosters for the entire year for each session (they change teachers every 4-6 weeks).  And since they were printed back in September, it was before we talked to them about the name change.  Still, they should have just gone in and changed the name manually after we talked to them.  But they didn't and EVERY TIME Damian gets a new teacher, he has to go to each of them to change the name again and basically come out to each of them all over again.  It's frustrating.  It's annoying.  It's emotional for him and it's infuriating for me that he has to go through this over and over again. 

Anyway, so we talked about it - well, Damian talked and I listened.  I just said that I'm sorry it keeps happening.  But the most wonderful thing happened after that - Damian said that he likes talking to me and feels better after we talk.

Best. Compliment. Ever.

What parent doesn't want to hear that?! I just walked over to him and hugged him.  Our relationship has really come a long way since when he was in 9th grade and we fought every day.  And I mean EVERY DAMN DAY. But now, I feel as though we are closer than ever.  I'm seeing the talkative, fun-loving, wickedly sarcastic and smart person he was always on the inside.

He's 17 years old now.  And this year was the first year he was a birthday BOY.  Wow, I just love this kid.

Happy birthday, Damian!!