It’s so much fun to log onto your Facebook page on your birthday and see oodles of comments from your friends sending birthday wishes. Thank you so much! It’s cool to see posts from friends made over a decade ago, and friends I’ve made in the last few months. This birthday is very different from the past few I’ve had.
We’ve lived away from family for my past seven birthdays. While I loved the Twin Cities and culturally felt at home, there was a loneliness that I could never quite overcome. We built an awesome circle of friends who became like family, who I miss often. My TC peeps, I miss shivering with you as we look for a keg line that hasn’t frozen at the Beer Dabbler, enjoying the world’s best butterscotch pudding at Brasa, and debating the merits of Mukluks. Though I was really happy to see the Buckeyes beat the Gophers last night (and I was right there to see it happen!!), I scowled at anyone who made mean comments towards the institution that awarded me a doctorate. I am missing you all a lot today.
We spent my last birthday in south Florida and were introduced to a new circle of friends. I consider our time in Florida as a crucible that burned away some of the stubborn independence that often caused us to turn down needed help. I believe Florida helped create a path for us to return home, though the lessons learned in the process left scars. There are so many of you in Florida that I owe my gratitude.
This birthday, I’m finally home. Though I may have been having a fabulous time on some of the last seven birthdays, I never felt HOME. Those feelings with home that you equate with walking in the door and peeling your bra off, or walking down the street and remembering what it looked like when you were five, or not seeing the grungy areas and dirty corners of your town because they are unchanging and don’t call to your attention anymore. . .THAT feeling of home.
I love the Twin Cities, the culture, the people, the stubbornness, the glorious acceptance of every walk of life. I LOVE you! But, you are the second home. I’m sorry. I wish I could pack up these central Ohioans and drag them out to your awesomeness because that would be perfect. But, my mom hates driving on highways, and my sister puts a coat on her kids when it’s 60 degrees, and well, it would just never work out. Know that I love you and miss you dearly.
But, I’m finally settled, and in a place that surprises the hell out of me. I said I’d never move back here, yet here I am. I said I’d never live this close to my mother, yet I bought a house two blocks away from her. I said I’d never plant roots in this town, yet I’m working with the schools to make this place better for LGBT kids and their families.
I attended a conference at Children’s Hospital yesterday and got to speak on a parent panel right after Dr. Norman Spack. I got to shake his hand and have a 10 minute conversation with him as he talked about the futility of trying to define biological sex and how we are so much more than our X’s and Ys. There’s a blog post coming about that but the point right now is that I felt like all my nerd passions were merging together. Science, medicine, making the world better for transgender kids. It was heaven. I’m meeting all kinds of super parents of gender-awesome kids and we’re all making a difference right here in my home state.
Is it perfect? Nope. There’s tons of work that needs to be done. The state policies are some of the worst in the nation for transgender individuals to say nothing of what we have in the school system. It drives me crazy and makes me hurt for the kids that are the victims of constant school discrimination. But, I want to stay and make things better because it’s home.
We have neither hard core winter nor sandy beaches. We have no Beer Dabbler, our state fair pales in comparison, and Universal Studios is very far away. But, my family is here, and my heart is here, and that makes all the difference.
We move into our new house next week. The house we bought. Our HOME. And for the first time since we moved away in June 2008, I feel settled. Our life is hectic and messy and filled with appointments, obligations, meetings, and the mundane. And it’s so amazingly wonderful because we’re finally, finally