"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Today's Must-Read: Doing It Right

An illuminating article on parents dealing with a transgender child and doing the right thing -- and working very hard to figure out what that is:

It was early still, not much past 6 a.m., and James Kaplan was already dressed for the first day of third grade. The night before, his mom, Sara, pulled out the iron and he helped press the wrinkles out of his light blue polo. “My first time ironing,” he said. For the past month, he’d been pushing his parents to let him wear a suit to school. James, whose ninth birthday was a couple of months away, thought it was a sharp look.

But after some back and forth, they’d settled on the polo, khaki cargo shorts and the dark blue chambray tie that Sara was now fitting over his head. Charley, James’ 4-year-old brother, still in his pajamas, pointed at him. “Handsome, James. Handsome.” James collapsed on the couch, staring through the windows at the brightening September sky.

“How you feelin’?” James’ dad, Ben, called from the kitchen. “Nervous,” James said. “But excited.”

He wasn’t just thinking about his first day of third grade. He was thinking about the beginning of his first full school year as James.

Some eight months before, James had told his parents his “inner person was a boy.” The round-cheeked 8-year-old they’d always thought was their daughter was actually their son. It was something he’d been trying to tell them — something he’d been trying to understand for himself — for more than a year.

Sara and Ben considered themselves progressive, but they didn’t know the first thing about raising a transgender child. In the days that followed, they would talk to family, to friends and to their couples therapist. They would take James shopping for “boy clothes” and to get a “boy haircut.”

They had to get to know their first-born all over again. They loved him as they always had, but there was this sense that maybe they didn’t really know him. And, if they were being honest, he was different — lighter and smiling and more open.

The article goes into some depth, but it's a fascinating read. Do it.

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