I will never forget the day I was rifling through the pile of mail and there was a letter addressed to Hunter. WOW. This was his first official piece of mail. If you had asked me ahead of time how seeing his name in print would make me feel, I probably would’ve responded squeamishly. Honestly, just the idea of it is rather weird. However, I didn’t feel weird at all. I felt really excited. Somehow, having your name on an envelope that traveled through the US Postal system makes it real and official. Of course, I had to point out to Hunter that this was his first official piece of mail. Like any teenager, I got the head nod and shoulder shrug all in one gesture. For me, mom of a transgender teen boy, the event was noteworthy.
It took awhile for me to feel comfortable using male pronouns when referring to Hunter. Like others before me, I just avoided using he/his/him. It was “Hunter” will be home soon. Or, “Hunter” will be glad to see you…and so on. Slowly, little by little, I began to integrate the new vocabulary into my daily speak. I knew I had turned a corner when I went birthday card shopping. There I was, standing at the “Happy Birthday to My Son” section. MY SON. Now that was weird. But you know, I had to do it. I had to let MY SON know that I was proud of him and loved him and that he deserved an appropriate birthday message.
I have to admit that when I go shopping these days, I find myself drifting over to the boys’ or young men’s department. That’s right. I now shop in the MEN’s department for my SON. Yeah, I know. It’s kind of strange. There is actually a part of this that is gratifying. I like being able to make him happy. You see, Hunter really likes clothes — now. And though he is still figuring out his own style and what feels right to him, he enjoys shopping. That is pretty cool to me. As Olivia, we had many battles at the mall, in the middle of Kohl’s, at TJ Maxx, trying on party clothes, finding shoes, etc. In hindsight, I now understand what was going on.
Another first, was when we had to shop for dress shoes. That was a bit weird for me but I was up for the challenge. Keep in mind, I have lots of experience buying girlie sandals, sparkly flats, spikey heels and pink, pink, pink. But, I had never shopped for dress shoes in the Men’s department for my SON. His skinny, long, arch-less foot never really fit properly into a girl’s shoe — unless of course it had laces or came in a quadruple narrow and had a strap to ensure that it would stay on the foot. So, off we went to find the shoe of his dreams…well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. He did know exactly what he wanted though and when we found it I was rewarded with a nod, a smile and a thanks, Ima (Hebrew for mom).
As we move along this journey there will be many other firsts. I anticipate some will be joy-filled and others wrought with worry and angst. Each first feels like passing GO — sometimes you collect $200 and sometimes you go straight to _____________.
(Fill in the blank: jail, Chance, …)