Monday, July 31, 2017

Two weeks left in Summer 2017

Nadia and Damian at LA Pride
Graduation memories!
I end each school year with the idea that I'm going to get so much done around the house in the summer months.  But my house is as crazy as ever.  June went by in a blur - Nadia graduated from middle school.  I remember that the Girl Scout troop met a couple of times (tour of NPR West and a Patrol Challenge day) and Nadia spent a lot of time with friends she's leaving from middle school and we went to the LA Pride parade and we had a bunch of doctor check ups (just your regular yearly exams)...

But July!  July was a busy but pretty great month.  We started off with a fabulous family vacation.  It's the one week of the summer that Chris has off from work so we took advantage.  First, we went to Arrowhead on our annual 4th of July trip with The Five Families aka the Playgroup Families.  These are four other families who we've know for over 17 years now - kids were a part of our MOMS Club playgroup with Damian.  Anyway, every 4th of July we go to a house in Arrowhead that is owned by one of the families and they generously invite us all.  We always have a grand time on the lake. 
Summer fun on the lake.
It's a summer tradition - one that hopefully will continue for a long time.  We were there from June 30th (Friday night) until July 4th (Tuesday).  Then we drove from Arrowhead to Pine Mountain Lake just outside of Yosemite for the rest of the week.  My in-laws' friends have a lake house up there which, again, they generously invited us (and a bunch of other families) to come and relax.  Driving from Arrowhead to PML took us about 9 hours in total but I'm so glad we did it.  The rest of the week was of good food, lots of wine, swimming, and playing cards.  We taught Damian and Nadia how to play poker and they both actually came away with some cash winnings!  We left PML to come back home on Saturday July 8th.  That was quite the ride back!  It was 104 degrees or something insane like that and our AC in the car didn't work for half the ride back!  We had to stop more than we wanted to so that we could go inside an air conditioned restaurant to cool down.  It was early evening when the temp dropped to 93 degrees when the AC decided to kick in!  Oh how we cheered!

July 7th was also important because it was the one year anniversary of Damian coming out to the world.  A full year of Living Authentically.  It was also the anniversary of my full acceptance of him - calling him Damian, using male pronouns all the time.  So much has happened in the past year.  We informed his school of his transition.  He went on T shots.  He cut his hair to fully represent who he is.  We had a big family gathering during the week of Thanksgiving for a wedding and he was fully and completely accepted by my extended family.  He seems so much more at ease with who he is and living that way out loud.  He continues to awe me with his strength.

This is not to say that I still don't struggle with this.  I do.  Facebook's feature "On This Day" is an almost constant reminder of his past and what I used to have.  But I've changed - before I would have said "what I lost".  But I've come to realize that I didn't lose anything.  I now have a child who is more and more comfortable with who he truly is.  I thought I knew my child before.  But I'm learning that I am only now getting to know his true self and he's amazing.
Facetiming with Nadia

Back to our July - the week after we got back from our family vacation was busy with getting Nadia ready to leave for the Bolshoi Ballet summer intensive.  I handled it better than last year, but was still a bit of a mess.  Last minute shopping and packing and making sure she was ready for her flights and navigating a taxi by herself in Hartford....oh, and getting ready for the Girl Scout Twilight Camp (a day camp) which I was volunteering at the following week.  AHHHHH!

So Nadia left on July 15th to Washington DC, staying overnight with my wonderful uncle and cousin, then got on another flight from DC to Hartford on July 16th.  Bit of a delay in Hartford as the taxi company was awful and didn't send a taxi for about 1 1/2 hours.  But luckily she had someone to wait with at the airport....all's well that ends well.  She got settled in (got her own room too!) and started the intensive on July 17th.

Friends from Twilight Camp
Which was the start of Twilight Camp for me.  It's a day camp run by volunteers and Girl Scout counselors.  Remember how I said I still struggle with Damian's transition?  Well, we fought about him going to Twilight Camp.  I know, he's not a girl so why did I fight about him going to Girl Scout camp?  For me, it was mostly about him being with friends he's known forever.  It's his last year - next year he'll be 18 and he would be an adult.  It was about closing out a chapter in his life.  Really, that's it.  I admit I was being selfish.  It's things like this that make me think about the past and what I thought was real.  We fought, but we compromised and he came for 2 days.  I appreciate his ability to compromise with me on things like this.

Getting Senior Portraits done
Finally the last full week of July.  Several things happened.  On Monday, Damian took his Senior portraits!  His last year of high school has begun.  Then, we filed the paperwork in the courts to make Damian's name and gender change legal.  Again...internally I struggle with this, but I do accept that this is the next step.  Should have done this earlier, but I just didn't.  But we have a court date!  September 8th.

The other big thing last week was our first doctor consultation for "top" surgery.

I paused here for a few minutes while writing this because this is emotional for me.  It's hard to process and express what I'm feeling.  After the appointment, I was surprised at what I felt.  I felt ok.  Relaxed.  It hit me again - what is happening is true and real because there is no way that someone would put themselves through all the pain and turmoil and headache of living as the gender that is opposite your assigned-at-birth one. I'll write more about this and the legal stuff later when I've had a bit more time to process it.

Today is July 31st.  The end of a eventful month.  Tomorrow starts another eventful month.  Tomorrow, August 1st, Damian and I leave for NYC and Hartford to pick up Nadia from Bolshoi.  I get the excitement of showing Damian NYC for the first time and then spending the weekend there with both of my kids.  I wish Chris was coming, but he's working as usual.  Then we get back, just in time for Nadia's high school orientation and Damian's senior orientation.  Off on another adventure!