This is gonna be another of those rare personal and emotional posts because Mother's Day took on a new significance for me last year. I'm dedicating this post to my "kids" instead of my mom, and to all of the other "non-traditional" moms out there. My mom's a hippie and doesn't go for the commercialism of Mother's Day. She's spending Sunday getting ready for a historical recreation at the end of the summer. We had a nice phone chat today instead, since she'll be busy. After we had a bunch of laughs and did some reminiscing, I did this mani...
|Sinful Colors Zeus with Nicole by OPI Luke Of The Draw accent|
I hadn't worn either of these polishes until today. I was waiting for the right time, since their names make them special to me. Sinful Colors Zeus came out just before I got back into polish, but Nkem of Another Bottle Of Polish?! sent me her bottle during one of Zeus' hospitalizations last year. I'm so grateful that it's hard to even put into words. It meant so much to me at a really rough time. I had originally wanted to wear it when I went to bring him home, but his releases were usually pretty sudden and too much else was going on. I bought Nicole by OPI Luke Of The Draw during the CVS clearance. Since I had a Zeus polish, I figured I needed this too, for my other kid, Player 4. His actual name is Luke and he's joined our family bit by bit over the past year.
Player 4 is Zeus' fiance. He's also transgender and he and Zeus have had some of the same challenges. He stayed with us last summer to spend time with (and help take care of) Zeus after the first hospital stay, and for his own good too. When his living situation fell apart at the end of last year, we took him in for good. He's 20, so I'm technically almost old enough to actually be his mom. It makes me feel really old to think that he was born in 1993!
I care so much about Zeus that it's strange to think that I met him less than three years ago, back when he was still living as a woman. The Beard ("Stewart", if you read this) had told me a bit about his "roommate", but he and Shizuka (the name Zeus went by back then) were really much more like father and daughter. I was so nervous to meet her! I knew that if she didn't like me, it could end my relationship with The Beard. She was nervous too. One of The Beard's previous girlfriends had been mean to her. It was such a relief to everyone involved that we got along!
Things were tense at times after I moved in. It's always a little tough to adjust to living with people with a completely different set of routines and habits. Lots of "evil stepmother" jokes went around whenever I had to ask that things be done differently. At first I cared about Zeus because The Beard did. We got along, but didn't really bond. We'd share a laugh or talk about common interests, but it never went any deeper for most of the first year.
Slowly, as Zeus got used to me, he started opening up about how he didn't like being female. We talked about that a few times and eventually I started using male pronouns for him. It took coaxing and reminding, but I got The Beard and my relatives to do it too. For xmas that year I bought Zeus the start of a male wardrobe. This brought us closer together, but it took an emergency to make us family.
This is still really difficult for me to write about. You can read my first attempt here, if you'd like to know more about Zeus and what he's working to overcome.
Around this time last year Zeus decided he needed to have himself committed for psychiatric treatment. I was the one he told and I helped him do it. It was scary for me, so I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been for him. I visited him as often as I could, coming to every single visitation session. One of those visits was on Mother's Day. That's when I realized it. I felt like a mom to him. The fear of losing him and the respect and pride I felt in seeing him face his problems...something just clicked. He felt it too, I think, and we joked around about "some way to celebrate, huh?"
Player 4 was staying here during Zeus' second time in the hospital. I'm so glad he was. It was the hardest of the three for so many reasons. Even though I barely knew Player 4 at the time, it was good having someone with me for the visits. The Beard couldn't come with us, for reasons that are his and are completely justified. Player 4 and I didn't talk much after the visits, but at least neither of us left there alone.
By the time of his third (and...I hope...final) hospitalization, the bond between Zeus and me was something we both felt for sure. It was a horrible night, but it was also the first time he was my "duckling" and I was his "birdy mama". He needed maternal comfort and protection and I didn't hesitate to give him everything I could through all of the terrible times last summer. He knows there's always room for him under my wing.
Player 4 had left by that third time, but everything pointed to him needing to come back. Zeus and I both urged him to come home and it was such a relief when he finally did! He's still a pretty new addition to our family, but he belongs here now too. He's my "puppy" and I'm there for him whenever he needs me.
They've both become such an important part of my life in a way I could never have expected. I have so much respect for all of the other non-traditional moms now! Loving a child you gave birth to is natural and, from what I've heard, almost instant. Loving someone else's kid takes time and adjustment, but I'm so grateful to both of my boys for letting me be in their lives like this. If The Beard and I ever have a baby, I couldn't ask for better big brothers.
So happy Mother's Day to ALL of the moms out there, no matter how you became one!
If you've stuck with me through all of the mush, here's another look at these two special polishes...
Aside from their personal significance for me, they're also both really pretty. Thank you again, Nkem!
If you'll excuse me, I need a tissue. I...I have something in my eye!