“Are you deliberately trying to make me upset?” my mother asked, as I pushed her quickly into the Olive Garden.
“No,” I wished I could reply, although I knew it would only upset her more, “but are you trying to deliberately make me upset?”
My brother and sister-in-law finalized the adoption of a second child today. Their first child was born 24 years ago, then 22 and 17 they had a girl and a boy, three in total. They then adopted a boy who is now eleven, and today my sister-in-law got her wish, a three year old baby to proud 50 year old parents.
This week has been a huby, stairlifts and kid gloves, waiting and pulling, real nasty. It has been tough, and continues to be hard.
I didn’t want to go to the courthouse ceremony. Don’t like courthouses, don’t like the kid, don’t like my brothers family. Plus, I hate being called “Uncle Shithead” all the time (insert given name here); years ago my mother informed my brother that I am trans, though that and all other details of my life are erased by their blue-collar judgementalism.
None of my sister-in-law’s siblings attended this adoption, nor, for that matter the adoption for their son. Both my sister and I were there today, me as hostage, and she as guest.
I was clear I didn’t want to go. But there was gas to pump and chairs to push and packages to haul — I was up late last night to get what my mother wanted — so I was hauled too. My parents didn’t get off early enough to get any of my errands done; picking up a rake 1/2 mile away, grabbing some sale pies, but they did get off early enough to drive like idiots around the city, whipping me around in the process.
My mother likes to tell my father where to go. That might be useful, because my father is so slow and erratic that he needs help, except that she doesn’t know where to go either. When the erratic lead the erratic, you can be sure you are in for a bumpy and hellacious ride.
I stood up for an hour in the lobby of the courthouse waiting for them. I then directed them out of the city — hard — and checked the tyres (the pressure light was on) and got them to Olive Garden. I was hoping someone would push my mother in, but they had all run in, no wait not nothing, just me.
That’s why my mother asked if I was deliberately trying to make her upset.
I ended up stuck in the back with the kids. I had to interview them; I don’t know what else to do.
The details all pile up; noise, dumbess, not getting what I wanted to eat, all that.
And I thought about my mother’s plaint. My actions were all about her; I was trying to upset her. It couldn’t be that I was upset, that I was upset all that week, that I had said I didn’t want to go, that I was feeling tough and painful things about celebrating little girls being given a family name I have been denied in many ways.
No, it couldn’t be about me, no matter how clear I said it was about me. It had to be about her.
What my family wants from me is simple: they want me to play along. Just be nice and pleasant and upbeat. Swallow your own feelings to let others play out their own little dramas.
Celebrity Rehab was on last night. Amber wanted to know why other people got to act out and that was OK while she had to swallow her feelings, and Steven had to face a mother who is sure that any emotional damage done to him just doesn’t count, isn’t relevant.
I had to be dragged through this, beaten and bruised.
There was no festive occasion for me, no getting dressed to celebrate an event, only grunt work
And my mother wants to know why I was trying to upset her.
Couldn’t I just play along? Couldn’t I just not have emotions that upset other people?
Clearly, I do know how to do that.
It just feels like crap.
And the holidays are just around the corner.