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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meet Adam

This past weekend we went to Bellingham to go shopping. Much to Molly's delight the mall we went to contained a Build-a-Bear workshop. For those of you not in the know, Build-a-Bear is heaven for any girl (or boy) who would like to pick, stuff, then dress their own personal bear. You get a little heart, which you warm with your own love, then place it in your bear before you stuff it. Then you shop for outfits and accesssories. Needless to say, Molly loves Build-a-Bear. I have lost count how many bears she has.

Once you 'build' your bear you get to shop for outfits and accessories, then register you new bear in the computer, where a birth certificate is created. To off-set the perceived unfairness of Anneke getting a new suit, and me some new clothes, I permitted Molly to go a bit crazy with new outfits for her bears.

At the checkout we learned that the clothes would be 20% off if we purchased a new bear. Not my plan, but ok. Molly picked a "boy" bear and named him Adam.
As we were waiting in the couch area for Anneke to pick up her suit she began to admire her new outfits and dress her new bear.

"Look mommy, does this look nice?" she showed me the above bikini clad bear.
"That's a bikini. It looks pretty, but I thought you wanted Adam to be a boy bear?"
"He is a boy, mom, he's trans-gendered. He likes to wear girls clothes. Does he look pretty? Do you like it?"
"Looks great sweetie, can I take a picture?" Secretly tickeled by how gender-bending my youngest child has become.
"Sure, why?"
"I don't know, I just think its cute you have a transgendered bear."
"Ok" she shrugged, and proceeded to try on all her new outfits on Adam, likely "Build-a-bear"'s first transgendered bear.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More of our journey...

I know the key to a 'good' blog is to post regularly. My apologies for not posting of late. Interestingly there has been much to report in the life of Anneke, and I will endeavor to update in stages. As always, I check with Anneke first before I share.

Let's see - on May 6th we went to see Dr. Metzger Anneke's pediatric endocrinologist to check her hormone levels (to ensure the blockers are working) and chat about where s/he is at. At this visit Anneke wanted to talk about starting testosterone.
You'll have to tune into a future post for then details of that discussion. Suspense!

Last Friday we met with Dr. Melady Preece a renowned physiologist specializing in gender identity issues. We had been meeting with a psychiatrist off and on but Anneke didn't 'click' with him and his office was a bit hard for us to access. Dr. Preece and Anneke had met several times at the Gender Spectrum Families conference and instantly got along well. It was helpful that she had an office dog - Anneke loves animals.

Well that appointment too, deserves a post all to itself. Melady was wonderful at cutting to the chase and asking Anneke some pretty challenging quesitons about her gender identity. The not so suprising discovery is that it is really hard to be gender-fluid in our world with very binary views of gender. Anneke has asked repeatedly, why can't I be a girl and take testosterone. Melady's answer was basically, you can, but it will be very hard for the rest of the world to understand - and it would end your girls hockey career. Needless to say, we will not be starting testosterone any time soon. Anneke is disappointed - but hockey is far too important to her to sacrifice.

On another note, today is my 42nd birthday. I am normally quite melancholy around my birthday, but this year is much better. Birthdays often remind me of things I had hoped to achieve by my 30's, now 40's and have not yet achieved. I can be very hard on myself. This year has been one of the most difficult years of my life for many reasons and this birthday is a celebration of enduring that with myself and my kids intact. I like myself in my 40's more that I ever did in my 30's. I used to focus on more superficial accomplishments like number of friends, money in the bank, body changes etc.. but those no longer resonate as the key to a happy life. I have found my path as a mom, a friend and a midwife. As corny as it sounds, I have come to realized a happy life is really not about getting to the destination, it is about truly enjoying the journey. The picture above is one of our favourite places. The girls and I go regularly to Trout Lake near our house and walk the dog. We sit on log, watch the dogs play and watch the sunset. Today I celebrate my journey.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

10 Random things about Anneke

1. Anneke reports to me s/he is always picked first for gym and sports - a completely foreign concept to me.

2. Anneke wears a size 10.5 men's shoe - good thing s/he doesn't like heels.

3. S/he loves animals and babies.

4. S/he got kicked out of the YMCA swimming pool at age 5 for not wearing a shirt with her swim trunks.

5. S/he got highlights yesterday, and officially looks cool.

6. In most public spaces s/he uses the men's washroom.

7. Her favourite teacher ever was a M-F transwoman - Miss Wesley.

8. S/he gets extremely homesick when away from her mommy - even now.

9. Her first words were "Hup, Holland" as she was home with Ben watching the world cup in 1998.

10. S/he is happiest when playing hockey.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Love and marriage

Last weekend Molly, Anneke and I went to Bellingham, Washington to visit friends and pick up my doppler that our dog Zoe chewed to pieces. It was a fun trip. With the dollar at par, and me 25 pounds lighter than the last time we visited, we took the opportunity to do some shopping.

With Anneke's elementary school graduation ceremony and party coming up we were also on a quest for a nice suit. Anneke has wanted a suit since she was about two and a half years old. She has several nice shirts and ties but no suit. By contrast, Ben Anneke's dad does not own a suit (or a nice shirt or tie) nor will he ever. He is a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy, and had been since the day we met over 17 years ago. He even had to borrow a suit for my mom's funeral.

I will be sure to post pictures soon of her new tailored suit. We got two. It was the cutest thing watching her get fitted and admiring herself in the mirror. "I look good." s/he said, with her fathers' lack of modesty. "You look great," I affirmed.

Needless to say, the suit buying procedure tried Miss Molly's patience. As she sat in the suit store, she parked herself near the tuxedo rental area. This started a familiar discussion in our household.

"Why aren't you and daddy married? You really should get married."
"Maybe we will one day." I reply.
I gave up long ago trying to explain why I do not feel the need for my relationship to be affirmed by either the church or the state. Nor do I go into my feelings about how marriage has turned into a mega-consumerist industry, that no longer resembles any ceremony I imagine for myself.

"You should get married now," she insists "you could wear a pretty dress, and daddy can rent one of these tuxedos."
"It costs a lot of money to get married." I say, trying a different approach.
"But you have kids!" she adds "you really should get married.
I no more understand my youngest daughters' "traditional family values" any more than I understand my oldest daughters' desire for a tailored suit.

As I look into her pleading green eyes, I start to contemplate the idea of getting married, to please my children. For years I knew it couldn't happen since my own divorced parents could not be in the same room together without potentially causing a scene. Since my mom passed away 7 years ago, this is no longer a valid deterrent.

Anneke decides to weigh in on this discussion. "I don't think you should get married. You should find a new man, someone better, maybe younger, with a good job." At this point s/he sounds like my mother, which by and large is not a good thing.

"I have thought of trading him in for a younger model" I joke, as Ben is 11 years older than me, and only lately starting to show his age.

What I have realized over the years is, while I am a hopeless romantic and foolish optimist with regard to most things, this is not true of relationships, love and marriage. I would love to think a fairy tale love exists and lasts forever, but sadly I don't. I actually think one should look at relationships like a renewable contract that you evaluate, say, every 5 years. Would I have "renewed" my relationship with Ben over the years? - yes. Will I continue to? - we shall see.
Do I have a little girls' dream of picking out a wedding dress? - yes, it pains my feminist heart to admit. Will I ever get married? - not likely.

I do know, however, if I ever do - Anneke will look great in her suit.