We’ve got an appointment coming up with Izzy’s psychologist; it was originally made to discuss how our behaviour changing plan was working out. I’d talked to Dr # about the numerous times a day Izzy was making bad choices- breaking her brothers things, damaging the house, slamming doors. But this was before Izzy was Izzy and it turned out that once Izzy transitioned, she wasn’t so angry anymore.
So that frees up an appointment. I’ve asked that Dr# talk to Freddie, with these particular concerns in mind:
Freddie, as I’ve written before, has been amazing. He’s accepted Izzy and he’s not shown any signs of any psychological damage. He’s able to articulate what has occurred, regularly explains to his peers, and fiercely defends Izzy in the playground.
We keep the subject very open in our house, from talking about how we thought Izzy was a boy when she was born because she had boys bits and how we’ve now learnt your bits don’t always match who you are on the inside, to how Izzy can have her own children in the future and that it’s possible for her to get a pair of boobs when she’s older.
We talk about these things in all seriousness but with great humour. When questions come up we answer them, the kids know there’s nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. They know that whatever hurdles they each might face, we’ll be here for them and they’ll be there for each other.
But there’s one really important subject I’m fearful of broaching. I’m scared I’ll screw it up. I don’t know how to tell Freddie and Izzy that some people vehemently disagree with us. That there are people who will challenge them, I’m not talking about kids, they’re handling that already, I’m talking about adults.
There are people who are convinced we’re doing the wrong thing. Most of them, at least the ones in our family, I have to believe would understand and accept if only they would take the time to get to know Izzy on her terms. They would see that she isn’t just a boy who likes girls things and that it’s OK. They might even come to think we’ve done the right thing by our children. They might even offer us back the respect they’ve stripped from us. They might just shower our kids with love and they might just get that love returned.
This is what I want Dr# to tell Freddie, because I don’t know how to do it.
Our appointment is timely. The following weekend is Freddie’s birthday celebration, as usual he shares it with one of his Aunties and all the family are invited to celebrate with us. But they’re not all coming. My brother replied to the invite promptly, they would not be coming because he’s not ready to tell his daughters about Izzy. My youngest sister didn’t even bother responding. But it turns out she’s coming, but her partner and their son will not be.
I’d be lying if I said I’m not hurt and angry. I am both. But I’m also fearful. Will Freddie’s birthday be the first time our kids face opposition? Not just opposition, discrimination?
I haven’t even told Freddie yet that his cousins aren’t coming, I’ve avoided the subject of party games because what the hell is pass the parcel with just two kids?
Instead of birthday cake flavours being the top of our concerns, Harry and I find ourselves tensely discussing how we will handle the situation should my sister use Freddie’s birthday party as a platform for dissent. Would she?
I don’t want to jump to conclusions, we hope we’ll be pleasantly surprised. But we can’t afford to go in there unprepared.
So I’m asking Dr# for a lot. I’m asking her to prepare Freddie for something he shouldn’t have to face from family. I’m asking her to prepare me.
I want to know – do we tell Freddie the truth about why his cousins won’t be there, or do we make excuses for them? I honestly can’t decide what’s best for the kids, I hope Dr# will.