In three years or so of being a Person Who Is Transformed, probably the worst thing to come out of this curse is having to be a parent. Don't get me wrong, I love Dylan and I want only the best for him, but I struggle with that. It's draining enough looking after your own needs, sometimes it's hard to remember to put the kid first. And doubly so around the holidays. We're only a week into December and I'm already just completely dead, knocking myself out to try to make sure that this kid's Christmas is one of the best of his life, to help make up for everything that's happened to him this year. Trooper that he is, I still see him getting a bit down when he realizes how small/weak/feminine he is now. And how homesick.
The femininity thing is weird, because you'd think that's something within his control, but he'll catch himself imitating female speech patterns or gestures and then looking at himself in half-disgust, a mystified "What have I become?" It's my role as a parent to try to reassure him that no matter how he behaves he's still himself inside and nobody can take that truth from him. But I ain't a psychologist so I don't always have the language to put that sensitively. Me sitting down with the kid and laying it out straight for him is as likely to have a calming effect as it is to compound the "oh shit" factor of our lives.
What helps is having friends. That's where Samantha and Meadow come in.
Meadow is a little girl who is in Dylan's group for Trailblazer girls. She is the same age as Olivia,, smart and a good reader, and even a little funny. When the time came to put Dylan into school, we all thought "We can't keep him in Olivia's grade, because he wouldn't get along with kids that age." It would make him feel like such a baby. But I guess it's also good for his self-esteem to feel older, like he's ahead rather than behind, his peers. Among 10-year-olds he seems to have a worldliness and a confidence that he doesn't quite have at school.
Meadow and Dylan struck up a friendship pretty quickly. Not long after we enrolled him, it was "Meadow and I had a race and I won," "Meadow told me she liked how my hair looked today," "Meadow brought extra snacks to share with me." Awesome. The kid is hardly as happy about anything as he is when he talks about Meadow. And Kitty, who takes the lead on all Trailblazer stuff, took it upon himself to strike up a friendship with Meadow's mom, Samantha.
Samantha is... young. I haven't asked, but she can't be more than 26 or 27. And being that she's the mother of a 10-year-old girl, you can figure her story out for yourself, I'm sure. She didn't go to college, but she takes night courses and is self-educated in a lot of fields. She's smart, and she can hold a conversation, and she's pretty. With golden brown hair and a sweet smile and bright eyes, and a body that she really takes care of. Honestly, her looks are striking to me, and I don't even go for much of anything nowadays.
So... I can only imagine what Kitty is thinking when he looks at her. She's beautiful, funny, surprisingly "together" under the circumstances... and available.
I don't know. It's not crazy to think there's a spark there between them. Maybe she isn't so evil as to step between a real married couple, but if he were to make a move... could I bring myself to stop him? We haven't functioned much like a couple in the whole time we've been here. We can still co-habitate and parent Dylan even if he's experimenting with outside relationships. For all practical purposes, we're just... two people... right?
But saying that, it feels wrong. The twinge of jealousy I get when her name comes up tells me as much. But I haven't made any moves in the "relationship" direction with Kitty and I have never been sure that that is what I would want. It could just be that the risk of losing the option of that is making me think more seriously about it... making me think I want it more than I do.
Or revealing my true feelings.
I don't know. I'm really not prepared for this.
Oh, and we're having Samantha and Meadow over for dinner on Saturday. Yippee.