Friday, 4 April 2008

Philosophy for kids

A bit of love and understanding is probably all most of us ask for in this world.

It is an interesting late supper, sat around the dinner table with Mr Doris, fourteen year old son and my friend Jo who happens to be transgendered and in the process of transitioning from male to female. Jo has arrived from a work appointment and is therefore in male mode. Son is aware of the whole situation as we have previously sat and talked over transgender issues and seemed to have been OK with it all, but one just can't tell if he really is OK about it. Son had been looking forward to meeting Jo and had been miffed to find that we (even including his sister) had all met Jo but he hadn't.

So here we were talking about life and specifically gender issues and society's perceptions. Jo was magnificent as only she can be, and had been directly open and kindly so that son was put at ease. I admire that Jo found the right words and was not in the least bit awkward which in turn meant no-one else felt awkward. Thank goodness son is still pre-pubescent and quite sweet and communicative and not turned into a grunting zit monster.

On the subject of society's perceptions of gender, son pipes up with a connection between that and brick walls! In the moment between that utterance and the next was like forever as I waited with bated breath wondering what the connection could be and where this one was going. Son explained that when he is out in the park with his friends and sees a brick wall, he, with his free-running skills and interest, will look upon it with delight and excitement. With all sorts of possibilities for running along it, jumping, climbing. Whereas his friends will look upon the wall with no interest at all, and probably won't even notice the wall. (I may have used more words here than son actually did at dinner but this is what he meant!) How that quite correlates with gender perceptions in society is quite a leap but I think there is something profound in it.

Our friend Jo was staying the night and son knew that next morning Jo would be presenting as female. After the event, son told me that he had been concerned that Jo might look like a bloke dressed as a woman but was quite surprised that if it hadn't had been for the beard shadow that he wouldn't have known Jo wasn't (born) female.

Jo and I had a lovely time together and she even helped looked over the jigsaw and placed a piece in the right place. That was one more of the 5000 pieces in place! As we sat fiddling around with the jigsaw we talked about the jigsaw pieces in our lives. The we made a pineapple upside down cake and went for a lovely walk.

On our return we had tea, cake and custard for lunch with Mr Doris. After eating it you sure know you have eaten as it is filling but quite satisfying.

There was just time for son to return from playing out with his friends to be taken for a quick drive in Jo's Mercedes sports car. Imagine a 14 year old with eyes as big as saucers and a grin from ear to ear at just getting to sit in such a car. No wonder he used his phone camera to film the top opening in the car. And as Jo drove doing a small circuit in our town son felt the bees knees. It seems that ambitious talk was had as son aspired to have such a car and they talked about careers and working hard at school. Meanwhile, mother is at home sweeping the front yard thinking that she wanted a drive in Jo's sports car too! ;-)

Time for Jo to go and son thanked Jo and told her what a pleasure it was to meet her. He went back to his friend's house but came running back with his friend, a pretty 12 year old girl, to show her the sports car he had just been showing her on his phone. As Jo and I stood by the car saying bye, it was the car that was the centre of the kid's attentions.

Thank you Jo for a lovely visit, and for all that you have given my son by way of inspiration and experience.


Josephine said...

Oh honey...massively choked up here after reading that!! It was a huge pleasure and an honour. Your son is lovely - I guess you know that!!

A gorgeous time :-) Thank you to you and to Mr Doris and Mr Doris Junior!

Vast hugs xx

Jay said...

That is a wonderful story - you must be very proud of your son!

My elder son has a friend who is going through the 'sex change' process, having been born apparently male. I don't know details. I have to say there have been times I've been quite overcome with the level of maturity and sensitivity my two boys have both shown towards her.

Doris said...

Ahhh we shall have to spread the love :-)

I am immensely proud of my son, as you must be of yours. What a wonderful world when we see our young men grow up into sensitive people. Talking of which.....

Movie Alert!
We just went to the cinema to see Son of Rambow. Although Mr Doris and son chuckled and chortled through it it seems to have been a bit too "emotional" says son! I lurved it - such a wonderful and very British movie that is a joint British and French production. Set in the 80s it is so 80s and although about boyhood friendships there is enough girls and women in the storyline to balance it. I so wanted to cheer the mother near the end of the story. I give it a 8 out of 10 but Mr Doris and son each gave it 5 out of 10.

There were a total of 5 of us in the cinema to watch it ..... I'd like to go again with a full house and I bet there would be cheering - especially if I am in the audience ;-)

Doris said...

Oh yes, and if you go to see this at the movies, stay until the very end of the credits!

Chandira said...

:-) Aww..

That cake looks delicious!!

fineartist said...

I'm so vicariously moved and delighted that you two get to hang together! xx

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed at your son's response! (And at your modern parenting - no way would my mother explain anything like that to me in days gone by!).
Hope this comment gets through, I tried to leave one on the lovely Panini piece weeks ago but it blocked.

Warm regards,


Anji said...

I'm so glad I didn't miss that post. I remember sitting on the bus at the bus station and I could see in the side mirror that a very beautiful lady was asking directions of the bus driver I thought it strange that I could only hear male voices and realised why when the bus driver said goodbye to the lady and didn't know whether to say madame or monsieur.

People like Josephine are very brave, I'm so glad that we live in times when they can be themselves. You must be proud of a very special friend and your wonderful son!

Josephine said...

Hey thanks Anji :-)

I hope Doris doesn't mind me just co-opting her blog to say a few words. (My blog has to be invitation only at the moment as it deals with some v personal stuff and it's just better that it stays that way for now...)

As Doris knows, all I want to do is be me. It's taken me 45 years to get here, and, well, the road has been pretty tough. My family, particularly, have taken things badly and at the moment it looks like I may lose contact with at least two of my three children.

And yet...despite all that, and the massive mountain of transition that I face, I have no other choice now. This is me, and I must be who I am. The alternative is simply not possible any more. The role of my good friends is central to my success. They have supported me, comforted me, laughed with me, cried with me, held me...both on the net and in 'real' life. Most of all, they have treated me as 'normal', as a woman who had the curious and rather rare misfortune (long suppressed, long denied inside) to get born with the wrong anatomy.

I simply could not have done it without them. And Doris's invitation to her home shows you what a true friend she is. She has supported me for a good while now, totally accepting, caring, thinking of me when I might be down, reaching out to me, unphased by my transness.

I couldn't want a better friend, truly. If every trans person had a Doris in their life, a lot of the bleakness and despair that colours their life would disappear.

(Thank you for the loan of your blog honey!)

Doris said...

Ummm, it would be safe to say that I am well and truly embarrassed .... but shucks, I reckon I'll just have to suffer ;-)

Thanks :-)

Hee-hee, thanks too :-)

Your comment on the Panini post is there! And I replied too :-)

Thank goodness times have changed - my parents would have been the same and still would be today! I think it all comes back to having compassion and understanding in this world - even for things that our outside of our experience.

Indeed, I am proud and honoured to be associated with them both :-)

Very sweet of you ... and you know I shall start thinking of this Doris in the third person ;-)

alan said...

Thank you for looking after our friend!

Thank you for raising such a wonderful son!

Thank you for being you!

And for making my favorite cake for Jo!


Anji said...

Thanks for the explanation about your blog Jo, I was one of the poeple who popped to see. i totally understand.

Josephine said...

Would be happy to invite you to join Anji and read for yourself. If I can somehow get your email address to send you the blogger invite ;-)

Understand you don't want it plastered over the net. Do we have a mutual friend who could send it to me? Doris?

(Sorry Doris, using your blog like a post office now lol!)

Doris said...

Awww thanks Alan :-) I'd make you your favourite cake too if you came to visit. Now if that wasn't a warning to anyone else to keep away or they'll be subject to "the cake" I don't know what is!!! ;-)

And Jo and Anji .... I think you might be in the process of hooking up so I'll leave it at that but I'd be pleased to help if you haven't managed it so far.