Friday, November 15, 2013

Tactical Error

Last week, I stayed with Wife, Daughter, and my dog at MIL's place.


You see, MIL went to her youngest son's home to babysit his children as he and his wife were away at a conference.  So Wife invited me to stay there for the week.  I wanted to see her, my Daughter, and my dog, so I didn't think twice.  I went there. 

I see now, that doing so was a major mistake.


I loved getting back from work and hearing my daughter shout "Daddy!  Daddy! Daddy!"  I loved listening to her read. 

I even enjoyed getting my dog's snout in my face at 3 AM (her subtle way of saying "let me outside NOW!") 

It was almost like I never left... almost.

But I DID leave.  Involuntarily.  And I couldn't forget that.  Always in my mind was that I was there without MIL's knowledge.  That she would want me out.

But most important is how my daughter reacted.  She said "Daddy's back!" many times.  And I told her I was just visiting.  But she wasn't listening.

And now that visit is over.  MIL is back at her home.  I don't think Daughter realizes I'm out again.  So what will happen when she does? 


And THAT is where Wife and I made the big mistake.

Daughter needs stability, and my coming and going like that is NOT providing that stability.

So I won't be doing that again, as much as that hurts. 

There was another reason the week went... well, not so easily.  It was Me.  When I get back to my room at M's, I change into my femme clothes.  I am my true self.  I do the mundane things:  laundry, make my dinner, etc, as a woman.  I couldn't do that last week.  And it really really hurt.

The truth is that I've moved beyond that part of my life- the "Sophie only once in a while part."

So, obviously, Wife and I need to talk, and soon.  We have to tell Daughter WHY I'm no longer there.  The Whole Truth.

I don't envy Wife's position Tuesday night.  6 year olds aren't known to keep secrets.  So she will tell her grandmother "Daddy was here!"  And she would take it out on Wife. 

My mood plummeted during the week.  It was around Wednesday that I began to realize my mistake, and the usual old subconscious voice kicked into gear. 

"Loser!  Idiot! How stupid can you be?  How much more do you want to hurt your Daughter?"  And so on.

Cue tailspin.

My mood was at rock bottom by Friday, when I received a pleasant surprise.  My friend Rachael from Baltimore was coming up for a post GCS checkup, and with her was fellow VC sister and blogger Tammy Matthews from North Carolina!  I'd never met her in person, but we'd been facialbook friends, etc, forever.

After they finished their respective appointments, I met them for lunch at Rock Bottom.  I was in drab.  After lunch, they went off to explore the King of Prussia Mall and I went back to M's place to change.  I was meeting Angela Gardner (of Laptop Lounge and TG Forum) for drinks and to talk a little business and I NEEDED to be me after a week of NOT expressing as a woman. 

That's when Rachael called and asked what I was doing.  I'd just finished with my makeup.  So I invited them to M's, and from there all three of us went to meet Angela at the Black Powder Tavern.  We all had a wonderful time.  I drove, since I know the roads here and they don't.

While at the bar, Tammy lamented not having had a cheesesteak while here.  So, Angela recommended a nearby place for a cheesesteak, and I told her about how to order a cheesesteak properly.  In fact, I even called them, imitating her accent! (Badly)

Before ordering, Rachael, Tammy and I went to McKenzies as well.  Tammy wanted to add to her collection of Facialbook check-ins.  Oh, and to try their beer, as it's a brewpub.

Tammy, Me, Rachael at McKenzies

Then we did the cheesesteak thing.

And so both she and Rachael had proper cheesesteaks: provolone wit' on an Amoroso roll.  As God intended it!  ;) 

Oh, for you non- Philly people, that means a cheesesteak having provolone cheese and fried onions.

In any case, they enjoyed their cheesesteaks and hit the road south.  And I hung around at M's. 

The next night was Raven 17: one of Jen Bryant's mega parties!  Lisa's widow Sandy and her daughter Tiffany were going to be there, as well as many others, so I wanted to go!  And so I did.  Besides, there was something I needed to do there as well.

Also, my friend Jane said I could room with her and her wife. 

It was a special event, and I wanted to look special, so I went to see Amanda Richards at True Colors.  She did her usual amazing job.  Sandy asked me to wear something of Lisa's, so I wore a top that was hers, and her butterfly ring.  I also wore the memorial necklace. 

I drove to New Hope through the darkness, looking for deer as it's rutting season, and they jump out of nowhere.

Me on the Red Carpet

I arrived in time for the Red Carpet photo session, which I'd never attended.  I was thrilled to get my picture taken with Jen Bryant, with Sandy and Tiffany, and with several others, including my gorgeous friend Victoria.  Someone gave Sandy a plate that had Lisa's face etched into it.

With Victoria

After the pictures, I met a woman who had never been out before- ever: Maureen.  She was very nice and I introduced her to a few people.  She looked wonderful and she was so happy she glowed!

Then it was time for dinner!

Jake, Sandy, Tiffany, Hayden, Me

I sat with Sandy, Tiffany, Hayden, Sandy's uncle Jake, and another girl: Jamie.  She was very nice.  We had a corner table with windows on two sides.  On the table were flowers addressed to Jen Bryant.  It was the best table in the house, and management assumed that she would sit there.  But we did.  I wonder if Jen had something to do with that.  When Jen was eventually seated elsewhere, I brought the flowers to her.

Jamie and I

A week before was Sandy's birthday.  So I decided that it should be celebrated.  I told the waiter it was her birthday that night.  When Sandy went for a smoke, I told the rest of the table.  they fanned out and told the rest of the dining room.

See, that night, Sandy was like a celebrity.  Everyone knew who she was, and everyone wanted to pay their respects and give their condolences.  She had to know that would happen, and yet she came to the Raven yesterday.  She is an amazingly strong woman.

So when it was time for dessert, I saw the waiter coming with the cake, trying to light the candle.  Sandy didn't see him, as her back was to the kitchen area.  I stood and projecting my voice as best I could, said that we had a special guest and it was her birthday.  I asked them all to join in singing Happy Birthday.  And they did.  

Happy Birthday Sandy!

So many feminine people- so many deep voices.  The juxtaposition was not lost on me.  Sandy turned 35 shades of red.  She swore vengeance.  I'm sure she'll forget.

After dinner was drinks and dancing until the wee hours.  Above the dance floor were several TV screens which showed pictures from the night before.  At the end of the loop was a picture of Lisa, and the words "RIP Lisa.  We miss you."  

Of course, cameras were everywhere.

Sophie Photo bomb!

Eventually, I had enough for the night, and Jane, her wife, and I went to Wawa.  Then back to the room, where I quickly fell asleep.  Wearing my makeup.  Again.

The next morning, I readjusted my makeup and headed out.  First I stopped over at the Raven.  It was a beautiful late autumn morning.  I selected a suitable tree, and did the errand I promised for Sandy.  With me, I had a small bag of Lisa's ashes.  I spread some of them at the base of the tree, so part of Lisa would always be at the Raven.  And her ashes would nurture the tree. 

I stopped again at the Wawa for some diet coke and Gatorade.  Outside, at the intersection, was a Penn State girl collecting for Thon.  To keep warm, she practiced cheerleading routines.  I donated.  And I thought about how she takes being a woman for granted- it just IS for her.  I envy her.

I drove back to M's and showered.  The weekend was over.  I spent that night at MIL's with Wife, daughter and dog, but not Monday night.  But by then the damage had been done though.

It's now Friday.  I haven't heard of the fallout yet, but I will today.  Lesson learned.

This path is not going to get any easier.  I have to balance my Truth with what is best for my daughter.  In our last conversation, Lisa said that the only way to be a good parent to Daughter was to first be true to myself.  Only she never said How.  Finding that out is my major challenge.  I'm determined to give my Daughter the best life possible- better by far than mine. 

To date, I have failed to do so in many ways.

That said, I've done more for her than my father ever did, emotionally.  He never said he loved me.  I tell her that every day I see her. 

Her father is a Woman.  Maybe, just maybe, that will help.



  1. Sophie - the How is unique but I would be willing to talk about one to one. Having two sons and having them cope with years of knowing and sudden departure as mandated by my ex is similar but different. nonetheless being a good parent is something I have worked at and will be willing to share. Perhaps there is an upcoming blog on parenting were Sophie turns interviewer instead of story teller.

  2. Sophie -

    Your daughter's mouth may get your wife in trouble. But there may be an upside - your wife may see your MIL's hatred for what it is. Given a choice between a woman's mother and her daughter, I feel most women will choose the daughter.


    This doesn't deal with the second problem. Your wife needs to be with a man, and your daughter needs her daddy. No, I am not saying to defer your transition. Instead, I see a problem which must be dealt with. First, your daughter needs to be told about you being transgender. (Are there other successful people -at this- that you can use as resources to build your strategy in how your daughter is made aware of your nature?) And then there is your wife - someone you will not be able to satisfy as a man. (If there was no daughter involved, this would be much easier.)

    So what am I advising you to do? Simply to be true to yourself. That's the only thing you have left. You can show love to all, even when it is not reciprocated. And I advise you to give things time. Don't do anything rash. Talk with friends, and make LONG checklists before making any life changing decisions. Those checklists can slow you down enough to avoid rash decisions - and make the important decisions much easier to clarify......


  3. Its so hard when it comes to our kids. I have learned in our journey that yes...being true to yourself is the best gift you can give your child. Hard I know when she is so young. I have the benefit of having older sons but when we told them this was there response "You have spent our whole lives telling us the number one thing is life is to be happy. Why wouldn't we want that for you". They were 21 and 23 when we told them. Yes they were older but they had a good foundation. One that you can provide for your daughter. Oh... and you look beautiful on the red carpet!
    Hugs, Lucy

  4. Sophie,

    It was awesome getting to meet you and it was a pleasant surprise as well, as I didn't know we would be meeting anyone else that day in Pa. You are just as much fun in person as I had imagined and a genuine person. I am glad to be your friend in person now, not just online. Don't feel bad about doing my accent badly, like you observed it is all over the place. That's probably from years and years of trying (badly) to imitate women's voices from television. Sometimes that was the only way I had to express myself until I had the courage to come out. I though you did a really good Texas or deep south accent though..:)

    You Are being the best parent for your daughter, I believe. I really hope things go well with y'alls coming talk with her. I feel as if your Wife supports you for the most part and will stand with you in talking to her and letting her get to know the true you, but either way you have to know you are doing the right thing (the only thing) you can do both for yourself and your family.