So many emotions!!!

It feels like it was weeks ago but it was only yesterday that I got the call. A stranger introduced himself then explained he was with the housing department of CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). Was I interested in an apartment? It was a new unit in a building that wouldn’t be completed until July or August… in Bowmanville.

I was all yes, yes, yes until he got to the town. Bowmanville is two towns to the east of us. We used to pick apples at a farm there that was surrounded by fields then and is surrounded by houses and big box stores now. That’s all I knew about it. A quick look at Google Maps showed me I’d be able to walk to the farm but I needed to know more than that.

I love Google Maps and used them so much before Colin and I moved here. And now I’m using them again. There’s a Wal-Mart and a Superstore (a Canadian grocery store) within walking distance… and a Dollarama. I need to have a Dollarama! I didn’t bother looking much further because stores can change so quickly. My Mom and I will drive up there soon enough and we can see what’s local.

There’s a gym a fair hike down the street and a COPE office right near my place so I might be able to go on the walking track and in the pool there and I might be able to join some groups through COPE. That’s too many “mights” for me but I should have answers soon.

And, finally, the bus. I’ll be able to take the bus westward to visit the kids and my parents and to the east to visit L. And I’ll still have my relatively cheap Access Pass to visit them with.

It all sounded good so I called the office this morning and told them I was taking the unit. Then Colin called disability to ask if he could get a form to claim obesity. If you’re fat they’ll give you $50 a month to improve your diet. Colin’s hoping he qualifies because $50 more for food would be a huge help. While he was on the phone, he mentioned that he was looking at the building behind our current apartment because it’s only $895 for a one bedroom. And he was quickly informed he’d get kicked off disability if he moved there because he’d be paying too much for rent and wouldn’t have enough for food. Which doesn’t make sense to me because if he got kicked off he’d haveĀ no money for food at all.

So now we’re taking up juggling. We need to save for moving trucks and last month’s rent while finding an affordable but clean unit for Colin. He’s already planning on asking if he could get into my building, even though I’ve explained it’s all subsidy and the people on the list will get spaces first.

I hadn’t expected to be moving this quickly. I was told right after Christmas that I had about a two or three year wait, which would have given us plenty of saving time. Now we’re really going to have to pinch pennies and each as cheaply as we can. Lentils, pasta, and I are going to become really well acquainted.

August will arrive in due time and I’m sure all these issues will long be sorted out by then. But, until then, I’ll be a bit of happy, excited, nervous, and antsy while I juggle agencies, finances, apartments, and moving dates. The next few months are going to be interesting.

 

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A boy went past me today and said, “Hello Mrs Rainbow Lady” I certainly can live with that as a name!

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The Countdown to Christmas…

20181220_082144I think Christmas, for me, started on Thursday with breakfast in bed from Colin. He knows I always have an english muffin with peanut butter and a mug of hot chocolate every morning so attempted just that. As he was walking into the room he said, “I’m sorry, I added too much margarine”. That might be the understatement of the year. Then he saw me looking at my hot chocolate and explained the beverage exploded in the microwave, which explained both the half empty cup and the bits of cocoa powder all over the mug. Breakfast was still good though and it’s not often I get it served in bed.

 

20181221_093339That day I bought myself a present of my own for Christmas. I’d seen it at Pier One and just had to have it. It’s the perfect reminder that I matter too and deserve to follow my dreams. It goes quite nicely with the wall art although if I’d known I was going to buy the metal word art I’d have put the sticker somewhere else.

I had my friends over yesterday for an afternoon of conversation, present opening, and Christmas Crack. Kait came over with the baby and we all got our chance to hold him. And, when he got a bit overwhelmed I managed to calm him down again with a lullaby and some rocking. I can’t share any pictures from the party because they all have the baby but I can share my present.

 

20181221_145910-1These slippers are just perfect for me. They’re mermaid sequins and are glittery silver when brushed the other way. Lara was quite interested but wandered away when she realized they a) weren’t doing anything and b) weren’t edible. They’re lined with fleece and are so comfortable.

After my guests left I went out with my Mom to finish up our grocery shopping. Now everything is full to the brim with food. Other than fruits and veggies I can’t see us needing to buy anything throughout January. Definitely a good way to start off the New Year!

20181222_154323Today was a quiet day. I talked to Kait for a while, which was nice and she shared some pictures of the baby via messenger. And I chatted with Colin while he worked on one of his computers. Then I wrapped the rest of the presents, with some help from the kittens, and called my girlfriend. That was a good conversation although it was pretty much my bedtime when we finished chatting. I wanted to write this blog too so I’ve swan dived over bedtime but I can sleep in tomorrow. The stocking stuffers are sorted out too for Christmas morning. I can’t believe it’s only two days away!

I’m looking so forward to Christmas! Colin and I are having a quiet Christmas Eve and then we’ve got Kait, her boyfriend, and the baby coming over for Christmas morning. And then we’re all going to my parents’ house for a big family dinner. I’m finding that the older I get, the more family means to me and I’m looking forward to seeing them all.

I hope you all have wonderful plans for the holiday, whether it’s with your birth family or chosen family. Merry Christmas!!!

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Hiding in the closet…

I was chatting with friends on Facebook one evening last week when Colin walked into my room. He perched on the bed beside me and said, “If I transition, I’m think I’m going to name myself Alma instead of Emma. You know, for one of the anime characters.”

I absolutely loath the name Alma but his body, his choice. Hopefully if he ever decides to transition he’ll like another name. Or maybe it’ll grow on me. Who knows.

Then we were at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Service. As we were leaving, a woman cheerfully said, “Good evening ladies” to both of us. Colin shaved his face smooth as soon as we got home.

Transition is definitely something he thinks about although he rarely speaks of it. It came up again yesterday when we were at his doctor’s appointment, sandwiched between getting an exam to make sure he can handle anaesthesia for his wisdom teeth removal and getting his flu shot. The doctor referred to him as Emma and Colin replied that he was no longer going by Emma. The doctor was shocked and asked why. Colin sadly replied that he was too old to transition. Both of us assured him he was definitely not too old but I don’t think he believed us.

I wish both my kids happiness, peace, and the chance to be themselves. No metaphorical closets in this family. I just never expected my kid to leave the closet then run back inside, only peeking out occasionally. A friend’s kid, who’s maybe a year older than Colin, came out around the same time as Colin. She’s now fully transitioned and living as a woman. Meanwhile Colin hides in his room for hours on end, hiding from the world.

I wish he would be happy. I wish he’d start living his life no matter what gender he chooses. I wish he would just be himself.

Colin and Oreo1

Generosity…

Colin really needed a new phone. It didn’t always answer calls and, when it did, it sounded like he’d answered inside a washing machine… while it was running. He’d been browsing phones online and none of them really jumped out at him. But I’m going away in March and he knew I’d want a good camera on my phone so I wouldn’t have to lug my big camera with me. So he offered to upgrade his phone, give me the new phone, and take my phone (which still worked well). I accepted the offer, knowing my phone was in good condition. He can get my upgrade phone in June.

We got to Virgin Mobile at just the right time because their LG G7 One had switched from being $460 to free on a gold plan ten minutes earlier. That was the one Colin wanted for me, the one he felt would be perfect.

I figured, since it was an LG, it would be similar to my LG G5 but it’s not. I think I’ve figured out most of the phone though. The calendar is different and I have to call two doctors to find out my appointments because they disappeared during the transfer but everything else seems to have stayed.

The camera, which is hugely important to me, has 16mp and takes decent photos. Plus it’s water resistant so I don’t have to worry too much about light rain or waterfall splashes, which will be a big deal in March. I took this picture yesterday on my walk and the colours were accurate and the lighting is good.

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All in all, it was the one of the sweetest things Colin’s done for me. He is an amazing person (most of the time at least LOL).

What is trans…

Sleepy Colin posing filteredI woke up this morning to a call from my daughter Kait and, while we were chatting, Colin woke up and sleepily leaned against my door frame.

I loved the way he looked and managed to get a shot of him, which was nice because he’s usually not fond of having his picture taken. I guess the promise that he just had to stand there and do nothing was a bonus.

Kait and I commented he’d look so much prettier if he shaved his face and he immediately went to the washroom to do just that. I’d love to have a shaved version of the photo but he was too awake by the time he finished shaving. The picture still looks good though. Trans is beautiful.

Colin and I had a little talk yesterday after he said he wasn’t trans, which would definitely be a surprise. Obviously nothing would change either way but it’s nice to know if something that integral to his identity was still a thing. It turned out he thought you were only trans if you were actively transitioning but he still was female. I explained that if he still was female and was born with a penis, he was trans whether he was transitioning or not. It was the feeling female and being perceived as male that made him trans, not the act of taking hormones or having surgery. That sense of disassociation when he sees himself in the mirror… that sense of joy when he’s seen as a woman. As he subsequently explained to me, he feels female but is upset he’s never going to transition.

Colin’s getting tested for ADHD this month and, hopefully he’ll get put on a medication that will help him keep his scatterbrain in check. This is something he’s looking forward to. It’s not just missing part of the definition of transgender, it’s keeping track of his teacher’s lectures and remembering the information long enough to finish homework and write tests. It’s hard to be in school and miss half of what the teacher’s saying, even when he’s concentrating.

As usual, gender is not the forefront of our lives. Colin is much more interested in anime and computers. And now is time to combine both. We’re going to watch an anime called Planetarium on the computer he just rebuilt. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

I’m in love…

He’s short, bald, toothless, and well under half my age but I’m blissfully, happily in love. He’s my 7 week old grandson and he’s an absolute doll.

I watched him last night while my daughter and her boyfriend went out for the evening and got to spend hours snuggling him and watching him sleep, while taking short cat naps of my own. He was wired and ready to party at 1am and his Mommy and I didn’t get to bed until 4:30am but it was still wonderful.

I forgot how magical those first gummy smiles are. How they stretch with their whole body. How they belly breathe… their little tummies expanding to Buddha belly size. How absolutely tiny their little toes and fingers are. Their dimpled knuckles. That first faint scatter of new hair.

He’s perfect, like all babies are, perfection in miniature, and I can see glimpses in him of the toddler and child he’s going to be. Soon he’ll be eager to go. To crawl and walk and explore. But for now he’s content to be snuggled and I am more than content to do the snuggling.

Gender questions…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well not really but I do have almost all of my presents bought, including the ones for Colin. They’re tucked away in my dresser drawer and in the closet, just waiting to be sorted a bit more and eventually wrapped.

Yesterday Colin came up to me and asked, “Mom? Did you buy me a feminine present?”

His voice hovered halfway between longing and worry, as if he wasn’t quite sure which he wanted.

“No, I didn’t,” I replied then watched as disappointment spread across his face. “The presents I bought you are gender neutral.”

That brought out a wide grin. Neutral is safe. Neutral means no disappointment for traditionally male presents and no reminder that he isn’t transitioning to female.

Then came today. I had my group this morning then I walked halfway home on a local trail. By the time I got home I was starving and Colin wasn’t there. He called me from the gym and asked me to meet him at the front door. He also wanted me to guess what he fixed in our apartment.

I had no clue what he’d fixed and no idea even where to start, so I just guessed weird things.

“You fixed your messy habits”

He snorted. “Have you seen my room?” he asked.

“You’ve fixed your gender,” I continued.

That one got a chuckle. “I’m in the male gym so that should answer your question,” he replied.

Anyone, except for the trolls, will realize that if being in the male gym meant he wasn’t fixed, he’d only be fixed if he was in the female gym and therefore female.

The thing he’d ended up fixing was our sticky door latch, which is great. I also would have never guessed it. But the rest just makes me sigh. I know he’s female (because he’s told me multiple times). He knows he’s female. He admits it and still keeps putting up road blocks for transition.

I wish he could be happy in his own skin, whether that involves transitioning or not. It’s like watching someone hit their foot with a hammer and complain it hurts. Then don’t do it! But they keep on going. Colin talks about transitioning, talks about gender dysphoria, but he just won’t transition even though it keeps on hurting. Hopefully someday he’ll let himself be Emma again. Hopefully it’ll be soon.

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Kathleen and Colin on an autumn walk