Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Work at the bookstore was insane the past week.  The lines were long but fast moving, as the cashiers seemed well motivated.  Mostly the cashiers were the Christmas help I trained, and for the most part they did a great job.  Some may even be asked to stay on.  (I was hired as Christmas help and eleven years later I'm still there.)

But eventually the final day passed and it was Christmas Eve.  On the 24th I wore a red dress I hadn't worn in years  along with a white cardigan sweater.  I received several compliments.  My day ended, and I drove back to the apartment.  There Linda and I (Zoey is back in Iowa for the holiday) had some dinner (microwaved chicken patties) and watched Star Wars.  I was thoroughly exhausted, and went to bed early.

The next morning Linda was up early as always.  I slept in a little, but woke up and gave her a Christmas gift:  a new Barbie doll.  The other night at the group therapy session, Linda told the story of her Barbie collection that she had to get rid of before moving to PA (as she thought there would be no room at the place in Florida that she thought she was moving) and it struck a chord with me.  Her last Christmas, 2013, was, according to her, her worst Christmas ever, so I was determined that this Christmas would be far better.  So, I gave her a Barbie.  It doesn't replace all that she lost, but it's something frivolous that she'd never get for herself, so I felt it was perfect.

Linda got ready first, and I went back to bed for a bit.  When she finished in the bathroom, I showered and put on my makeup.  I wanted to give feminine cues (like showing a bit of cleavage) but not overdo it, nor outdo Linda, who was radiant in a red dress.

Christmas Outfit

The original plan was to leave at ten.  We were on the road at 10:45, as I worked a bit slowly.  I drove the rental car.  Why a rental car?  My car's transmission broke- bad clutch.  So it's in the shop.  Wife is helping me with this, as I can't pay for it.

As my EZ-Pass was in my car, I had to pay tolls.  At the first toll we reached (in Delaware) the toll booth attendant said that the woman ahead of us had taken care of our toll and wished us a Merry Christmas.  So I paid my toll, and said it was for the person behind me- paying it forward.

Why was this trip so different?  Well, this time my Older Brother (OB) would be there.  I hadn't spoken to him since last December, when I told him I was a woman... and he laughed.  This would be his first time meeting his Sister.

His Sister.  Me.

I still have a hard time believing I did this.

So we arrived at my parents' house.  I took a deep breath, and Linda and I went up the steps to the door.  My dad opened it for us, and my mum was there to greet us.  (The door opens into the kitchen, where both were working on dinner.)  OB, his wife and his daughter were all on the enclosed porch on the other side of the house.  Out of sight from this door.

I can only imagine what was going through their minds before we arrived, and when we arrived.

I do know this much- my Mum read me the riot act before I came down, insisting upon peace between my brother and I.  I assured her that I would be good, but that also that I would not just sit there and take any insults.  I know my brother was similarly cautioned.

I walked to the other side of the house and greeted OB and his family.  His mother in law was also there, as this was her first Christmas since her husband passed away.  She is an absolute delight.  I'd met her before (and her husband, who was also a wonderful person) and she was very open and friendly this time as well.

OB was rather quiet and sedate.  But, as he promised, he was a perfect gentleman.

After being there for a bit, OB and I had a moment alone.  I said "Hi.  I'm your sister, Sophie" and extended my hand, which he took.  And he didn't laugh or even roll his eyes.  Not at all.  I was so relieved.

Dinner was wonderful- turkey and all the trimmings with various pies for dessert.  Linda and I both ate our fill and more.  Linda was the perfect guest- witty and engaging.  She definitely shines in social situations.  I was very glad she could share this dinner with my family.

After dinner, I did my best to help clean up as the guests (after offering to help, having said offer rebuffed repeatedly, and still helping anyway) retired back to the porch.

When I joined them, Linda was discussing the Trans experience with them.  OB's mother in law was asking intelligent questions as was OB's wife.  And, as always, Linda answered them in a straight forward way, but not in a harsh way.  I joined the conversation.  One of the points I made as that so few people actually KNOW a trans-person, but now they, OB's family, knew one.  From there is born understanding.  And they WANTED to understand.

Before Linda and I left., OB and I posed for a picture.

With OB.  First pic together

As we both had early mornings the next day, Linda and I left relatively early.  OB's wife hugged me and told me to "Keep up the fight."  I will.

The ride home was mostly through darkness.  At different toll than had been previously paid by another, the toll person informed me that again someone had already paid for me, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

We had one more stop to make.  Wife asked me to stop by MILs so I could pick up a gift.  I also really wanted to see my Daughter.  And I did, for five minutes.  But those five minutes were much appreciated.

Ready for Christmas

We arrived back at the apartment later than I'd hoped, then we both went to bed, exhausted.  The next morning it was back to work at the bookstore.

Christmas was over.

All that hard work and frantic pace, and it ended so quickly.

So now it's waiting for 2014 to end.  2015 here we come!


  1. Today I received a wonderful message from my Sister in Law, OB's Wife. With her kind permission, I reprint it here:

    "It was a great day! I can answer one question for you. Nervous. We were all very nervous and truly wanting to make a good impression. You were right that this is new for us and we truly do WANT to learn and support you. Linda was a delight. I felt as though I'd known her for years. I appreciated you both not only answering questions but offering some insight on your feelings. I meant what I said, Sophie . Keep up the fight . Your time is now. You have power and ways to translate it to move things forward! Blessings for a happy 2015!"

  2. Wow. You are truly blessed. Keep thinking positive.