Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Not being superwoman is ok

It's nearing nine o'clock in the morning and I've cried twice already today.  WTF?!

I slept in till a bit after seven thirty this morning and attempted to call a girlfriend to meet for coffee and when that didn't work out, I decided it was just as well, and sat down to do some work from home.  I grabbed a pad of paper and flashed to a memory of my father's mother helping me with homework nearly 40 years ago and it made me cry.

Do you ever start crying and have no idea why?  Maybe I'm just neurotic, but I have to know WHY.  I began to search my thoughts and feelings to figure it out.  It was like a recipe:  there was a few parts regret-

"Why didn't I spend more time with her when she was alive?"

A few more parts of seeing how she must have loved me (which I hadn't really thought about and is probably fodder for another blog, another day) because she left the fun of the family gathering downstairs to come find me, alone, at Christmastime, doing my homework, upstairs.

And many parts gratitude at having this memory of her, and of a moment that she and I shared, that was still so vivid and important to me so many decades later.  Some part of me was certain that she was thinking of me while I remembered her and that made me feel loved....which made me boo-hoo.

Then Bulldog phoned me from work and I began to tell him about how a conversation he and I had had the evening before got me upset.  But I felt so unreasonably upset that I didn't pursue it because I knew I was being unreasonable and I didn't want to subject him to it at ten in the evening.  And in telling him about it, I started to cry again-not because of WHAT I had found upsetting the night before but because of the fact that I actually was upset by it.  In my mind, it felt like I had taken a huge step backward.  Like I had regressed.

OMG-this is why I love writing this blog.  When I write, it forces my brain to be a bit more orderly and then I make more sense to me.  Of course I'm regressing-this is normal human behavior when one is stressed. I literally just taught this concept in the last few weeks.  This is a case of "Teacher, teach thyself," to paraphrase a phrase.

DJ is 3 weeks from her surgery.  This weighs heavily on all of our minds.  DJ has professed to not wanting to address anything in the next few weeks because she feels so consumed by it.  Bulldog and I are acting in the exact opposite manner:  we are trying to address everything in the next few weeks so that we will be prepared for....well....anything that could conceivably become a problem:  work, the pets, transportation, caring for DJ, getting there, getting home.

As Bulldog and I chatted on the phone this morning, he was trying to reassure me that my weepiness was to be expected because we are all so stressed.  This surgery is a big deal.  I have never before put my life on hold for an entire two weeks for anything.  I have never had a child go through a major surgery before.  I have never before made such a huge decision on behalf of someone else in the face of potential, if not actual, disapproval, before.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg because I will not even allow myself to think of what it's going to be like seeing DJ in those first few hours or days after her surgery when she will be bruised, swollen and in pain.  I will deal with that when it happens.

But before then, as I experience this stress and worry, (and if anyone tries to tell me not to worry, please don't.  I'm DJ's mother.  She is having a type of major surgery that is practically unheard of for someone her age. Plus, I'm just hard-wired to worry, in spite of my best efforts.) I feel as if I have very few people with whom I can share this.  My family is supportive but two members have expressed concern about this being the right time for DJ to have this surgery.  Bean, I think, is just plain scared about something going wrong, but I don't think she has an opinion about whether it's the "right" time or not.

And to many other folks, a "sex change operation" is too freaky to really talk about.  Maybe it's just me, but I get that feeling so I don't broach the particulars with anyone really, except Sister Chromatid's mom, whom I'll call Barbie because she has a face and figure similar to that renowned doll.  I think many people are ok with a person who has made an outward transition, but in the end, cutting off a you-know-what seems a little strange to them.

And DJ is very young.  I know of one person younger than she is to have gone through this surgery. Perhaps there are more, but we haven't heard of them.  The surgeon and other members of Team DJ are supportive, but I'm picking up a vibe that they are a teensy bit edgy about this because DJ is young compared to most people who have gender confirmation surgery. And in the end, who is making the decision on her behalf?  Bulldog and I.

It's one thing for me to elect to go under the knife to have my body be consistent with how I feel inside.  I have actually done that once.  If something were to go wrong, I made the decision and I would have had to live with it.  But in this case, Bulldog and I are making the decision legally, morally and ethically, and if something goes wrong, DJ will have to live with it.  That is a monkey on my back of mammoth proportions.

What could go wrong?  OK-anything can go wrong when you're having major surgery.  But add to that,  my worry of the stress of recovering from surgery making her depressed.  What if she starts cutting again or stops eating again?  Bulldog and I are speaking for DJ when we press forward because we think the good will outweigh the bad.  We believe that making her wait will make her issues worse and that by having the surgery sooner, even in light of her recent issues with anorexia, cutting, etc., that she will fare better in the end.  But what if we're wrong?

Not only will we have the sorrow of knowing our misjudgement is causing our daughter more issues, we will likely have to deal with the (albeit unspoken) censure of many of our loved ones. Maybe many of you can make decisions and not care about what others think.  I admire you for it and wish for that quality in myself.  I work diligently to that end all the time in my life, but I am still not there despite my best efforts.  I care too much about what people think of me.

So, I'm regressing.  That's me in a nutshell today.  Well, it's true for DJ too.  It's not as if she is throwing tantrums or wetting her bed regressing, just that she is not wanting to address the responsibilities of a 17 year old right now.  I can accept her regressing.  I just need to accept my regressing.  Yeah, because last time I looked I didn't see a giant  red "S" on my shirt.