Aka, I love my parents :)
I should know my Mom by now. I get my complete inability to handle surprise situations from her. She tends to get upset and lashes out when faced with an unfamiliar situation, only to be totally fine later on.
This morning (once we buried poor Bean) we headed off to our favourite Thai restaurant for lunch with Emma. Then, following Jeremy’s counseling appointment, we headed over to my parents’ house. Emma and Jeremy went immediately upstairs to work on Jeremy’s hair. I wandered up a little while later and knocked on the door.
“Can I come in?” I asked.
“Sure. You’re good,” Emma replied.
I stepped inside and Jeremy spun to face me. He was wearing a navy blue sleeveless dress and his hair was pulled back from his face with black barrettes.
“You look very pretty,” I commented before giving him a quick hug.
“Thanks,” he replied with a smile. He spun back to the mirror and his smile grew more uncertain. “I don’t know why I look so good in women’s clothes.”
“C’mon,” Emma urged. “Let’s go put on some makeup.”
Emma loved dressing Jeremy up and trying different styles of makeup on him when they were little. This faded over the years; when I look back it was around the same time she grew more frustrated with him. I had a heartfelt talk with her a few weeks ago and she tearfully told me she’d been being hard on Jeremy because she was scared of him getting bullied. She hadn’t realized how much her behaviour was hurting him.
I headed back downstairs to chat with my parents and came back up a half hour later to tell them it was dinner time. Jeremy had changed out of Emma’s dress but his shirt was sweaty so Emma had given him a tank top to wear along with a sports bra. He quickly covered them up with a plaid shirt and went to scrub his face. Most of the makeup washed away but he went downstairs wearing his sister’s shirt, mascara, and black barrettes.
My parents said nothing about his appearance. They laughed and joked with him like usual while Jeremy tried to pass his quietness off as being tired. He picked at his meal. Then came dessert. My Mom usually makes angel food cake for birthdays but there’s no way to make that vegan, so she had ice cream, sorbet, and fruit salad. Jeremy got himself a big bowl of ice cream then my Dad snuck it.
“Granddad,” Jeremy laughed. “That’s mine, give it back!”
My Dad laughed as well, wrapping his arms around the bowl. “No, it’s mine,” he insisted.
Jeremy made a feign then grabbed the bowl back and the ice was broken. Once his bowl was empty, he turned to Emma.
“Can we go back upstairs now to do my hair?” he asked. And off they went.
I was showing my parents how to download pictures from Facebook when Jeremy and Emma came downstairs. Emma had made two small braids at the front of his hair and something called a fish tail on the back.
My parents looked over.
“Your hair looks nice,” my Mom said warmly and my Dad nodded agreement. Then both kids went outside.
Nothing was said about the purple metallic nail polish on Jeremy’s toes or the pinkish-beige polish on his fingers. It was, hands down, the best birthday present ever.
One of my regrets from when Jeremy and Emma were younger was I never took pictures of Jeremy dressed in anything but boys’ clothing. I was so worried about embarrassing him when he grew up with silly pictures of his childhood; it never dawned on me that he might want them or how he’d feel about his photo-happy mother never taking those photos. Today I took a tonne.