As I’m drafting this post, my teenager Ari is currently in the operating room undergoing top surgery. If someone had asked me forty-eight hours ago, I couldn’t have told them that right now I would be sitting in the hospital cafeteria waiting as my “baby” undergoes this transformational medical procedure.
Obviously, I knew surgery was coming. It was scheduled for the end of the month – another week and a half. That much more time for me to get used to the idea – no the reality – of the surgery.
Yesterday, I drove Ari to their last appointment before surgery where the surgeon reviewed the procedure and answered any questions we still had. The idea was to prepare us and remove as much stress as possible a couple of weeks ahead of time. While we were driving home, the hospital called. There was a cancellation, leaving an opening for Ari’s surgery to take place today.
So here we are. The last 24 hours were a whirlwind as we made all the necessary arrangements. Which followed the roller coaster that was the last ten-or-so months as we tried to make this surgery happen.
Even after all the preparations – comprising doctor visits, therapist recommendations, surgical consultations, insurance hassles, scheduling and rescheduling – I find myself surprisingly unprepared for the barrage of emotions I’m experiencing.
First and foremost is the genuine excitement I’m feeling for my kid and this new stage of their life. This is the culmination of a long and not-always-easy journey. I’m so proud of Ari for knowing who they are and not being afraid of being themself.
Then there’s the anxiety. I’d be lying if I didn’t claim to be nervous about the operation itself. This is major surgery. While there’s no reason to expect anything to go wrong, there’s that little voice in the back of my head that reminds me things could go wrong. Maybe it’s just part of being a mom.
Thinking about the future, I’m both hopeful and trepidatious. Because there will be good things. And there will be bad things. It all seems magnified somehow.
A part of me is fearful – always a little worried for Ari’s ongoing safety. Let’s be honest – it’s not the friendliest world for transgender people right now. In the current social and political environment, how can a loving parent help but be concerned for their transgender kid’s welfare?
And so many more feelings I haven’t identified much less put into words.
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Ari’s birth name is Autumn, and they were born the evening before the first full day of autumn. This year’s winter solstice takes place tomorrow, making today the last day of autumn.