Preparing for Halloween last month was unlike any other. For the first time in years, my daughter’s dress up opportunity wasn’t about the wig. Years prior it was her obsession - choosing the right one, getting it to fit and then sweating for hours underneath. Clearly the wig was not my favorite thing. Not because of any controversy, but because it was a pain in Mommy’s behind. (Have you tried brushing out a tangled, cheap wig lately? Oy!)
Years ago she chose a big, brown, straggly wig for her Hermione Grainger costume and adored it. (She wore it constantly afterwards. I’ve never seen a child with such a sweaty head or a bigger smile!) Back then Halloween was her ticket out. A way, not to hide, but to be 100% real among her friends and neighbors. Although she was presenting as a girl at home, she hadn’t made her social transition outside the house yet. Halloween became the first testing ground and she blossomed each time she put on the outfit.
Hindsight is 20/20, right? Read my blog excerpt from 2009 and you’ll see a different mom, a different writer. If you told me then that my child would socially transition to living as herself, a girl, months later I guess I would be pretty confused. I just wasn’t there yet and neither was she.
I’ll be honest, as I read the 2009 post I cringed a little, particularly because of the pronoun “he” now that we don’t refer to my daughter that way. I don’t even use “he” when I speak about my daughter in the past because she doesn’t. A couple of months ago I tried to use “he” for the pre-transition period and “she” for the post-transition for a public speaking gig and it didn’t work out. I flip-flopped and no one knew who the hell I was speaking about. Neither did I. By her definition, my daughter is who she is and I am inclined to take that lead. Until she asks for her history or pronoun be to be described otherwise, I am sticking with what she says.
It’s difficult to explain, these moments when the past collides with the present.I try to be gentle with myself when good intentions somehow resemble betrayal. How was I to know what the future would bring unless it all unfolded the way it did? I often remind myself that I can’t mind-read. My crystal ball seems to be on perpetual back order and I’m happy with that.
Thankfully, this Halloween was calm and peaceful. Hope chose a simple Princess costume and she didn’t give any thought to a wig. Her own ever-growing long locks looked more authentic to the costume than any wig ever could. This year felt like the first time she wasn’t preoccupied about putting on a disguise and was happy just being 100% real with everyone she knows.