First time for everything

birthday to my sonI 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, …)


7 thoughts on “First time for everything

  1. I’m so glad that you accept your son for who he is inside. Many families ignore the of the individual that is transitioning. The “loved ones” still call them by their given birth name (even if changed legally), don’t use appropriate pronouns, ect. on purpose.

    It’s so awesome you support your son. 🙂


  2. When he’s fully grown he will love that men have a bigger variety of pant sizes to choose from, then women’s often do. I am a 34×29 now, hoping after I lose all this weight either be a 29×29 or a 30×29. As a teen, women’s pants were either the right waist, but too long, or the right length, but too tight—then again, I was much more overweight then than I am now. Tees’ and polos’ sleeves were too short and sagged in the chest while being too right in the torso. I HATED shopping. When I got my own job and could finally get my own clothes, yes, a huge portion of my first few paychecks went to a new wardrobe. Everything finally FIT. Back then, it was purely because of utilitarian purposes, though also girls’ clothing did cause anxiety tremors, especially when my mom forced me to wear frilly things at conservative events. Now, I could dress in a nice button-down (or this one Velcro shirt I LOVED) and khakis to special events. 🙂

    Presentation is separate from identity, yes, but is still an important factor when it comes to passing, presenting yourself in certain situations, and often how we express ourselves in terms of identifying as masculine/feminine/both/neither. It is what helps subcultural and counted-cultural members distinguish members from non-members, from gangs to clubs. Back in the day it’s how gays and trans found one another, and how speak-easies operated.

    Ah, the power of the book cover…


  3. I remember that first official mail, first suit, first son birthday card- they weren’t that long ago. The thing that made them special was how important they were to Kris. Hunter will really appreciate all of this one day. 🙂


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