Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Comfortable Christmas

My Christmas this year can best be described as comfortable.  Christmas here is very much a season.  For us, it starts after Thanksgiving and lasts through Old Christmas (January 6th).  It was a little hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year, but once it finally settled into my psyche I really did enjoy it.  In this busy season of family, I've gotten away from blogging in recent weeks but after this break I am refreshed and ready to bring a new energy into Tammy World 2015.
By the Christmas tree at Mama's house.
This was the third Christmas that I've spent as myself (Tammy).  Christmas has always been a time of year that brings me joy, but these last three holiday seasons have brought that joy and family time together with my comfort in being myself.  I was especially comfortable this Christmas, although it did have a ring of sadness around its heart of joy.

Mama started bringing out the Christmas decorations early.  We were decorating the tree before Thanksgiving, but just the simple act of putting decorations on her tree brought me to tears.  My mind was caught up in memories of my Daddy being with us in the house, and my thoughts went back to how Joan loved decorating Christmas trees.  I was able to pull through and put a few decorations on her tree but it would be a little while before I even wanted to think of decorating my own home.

The sadness associated with Christmas went away and my own Christmas spirit was ushered in a couple of weeks before the Holiday, when Mitchell and I decorated my house together.  If you recall, two years ago in 2012
Joan and I had a tree up that had not been fully decorated when she left me to go live with her sister.  Last year I put up a little tree but really didn't put my heart into it.  So this year, Mitchell and I put my little artificial tree together, decorated a second small tree here in my house and put up other decorations.  Doing this together with the one I love made it special and brought my heart back into this fantastic holiday season!


My first two Christmases as myself were tainted in some ways.  Back in 2012 I was on Top of the world, having just come out to my parents, going full time and spending a few nights at their house over the Christmas holidays.  One of my best memories of all time was sharing a father daughter dance with Daddy there in the living room.  The awesome memories of that amazing Christmas will be with me forever, but at that time the happiness was broken by my occasional bouts of crying over the fact that Joan had left us (the dogs and I) just days before.  I had someone I truly loved (Mitchell) but he wasn't with our family that Christmas and Joan had been my friend and partner almost from the time I reached adulthood.  How was I going to stand living in the house and raising the dogs without her?

Last Christmas, 2013, started out perfect.  Mitchell was spending the holiday with my parents and I and we all got along so great.  With him there is not only true love, but there is none of the false pretense and underlying tension that existed between Joan and I.  It was a very happy and comfortable time, but when Daddy fell and had to go to the emergency room on Christmas morning the joy of the holiday fell apart.  We were blessed to have him back home that night, and in our lives a few more months, but worries about his health took some of that comfort away.

So this Christmas season begins with me in tears, thinking about the losses that we've had in the family and the people that would no longer be there, namely Daddy.  Having the love and light in my light in my life (Mitchell) with me revived the Christmas spirit in my heart.  That sparkle came into my eyes again, replacing tears with childlike wonder.

Oddly and happily, Mama and I did get to spend some time on Christmas Day with Joan and her daughter.  Elizabeth had grown up and left the house before Joan and I got married so I was never much of a parent for her, but she is very much family and very much loved by us all.  After I came out I explained to her that I never felt comfortable in the role of a father (or any male role for that matter) and have been blessed by her total acceptance and continuing love, even though she lives far away and we don't get to see her often.
Mama, Joan, Elizabeth and me on Christmas day.
I thought of the title for this blog post, A Comfortable Christmas, after spending Christmas day with just us girls.  There was no tension at all between any of us for those few hours and more than ever I felt like I fit in with these family members as just another woman.  Elizabeth and I talked more freely than ever and we all shared a great lunch, then time in the living room talking and opening presents.  In the past some of the day was broken down into the guys talking together and the girls talking together.  I hated being stuck with the guys, even though I loved them.  This year it was just us girls..:)
Mitchell, Mama and I enjoying our Christmas night, on December 27th.
On December 27th, my real miracle of Christmas occurred.  Mitchell came to visit and spent the next 9 nights here at home with me!  I'd spent the previous three nights at Mama's, so this whole season felt like a vacation for me.  On Christmas Day I'd cooked a turkey breast, but for our Christmas dinner with Mitch I cooked his favorite, steak.

We had a cozy little celebration at Mama's then came home for our own Christmas here at my house.  I often tend to call it our house because at this point Mitchell does live with me when he doesn't stay at hotels, but he is usually away at some hotel so for now it's usually just mine.  One day our day will come and I hope it is coming soon.  Perhaps that will be my miracle for next Christmas.     

Mitchell and I's presents to each under (one of) my Christmas trees.
We had an amazing 10 days together.  We didn't get to do quite everything on our to do list, but we did relax, watch a lot of football and some movies, and did a lot of cuddling.  I miss everything about my baby, but the cuddling and the romance never gets old and is perhaps missed the most.  I have to turn the heat up higher in the house when he isn't here.

We got to ring in New Year's for the fourth year in a row!  We'd planned a romantic dinner together at a local steakhouse but I decided to invite Mama at the last minute because I didn't want her to be home alone all of New Year's Eve.  We did go out for a great meal, then Mitchell and I came back to the house for some cuddle time and romance that ended with a major first for us.  This time the beginning of the new year was also the beginning of a new phase of our relationship and I am very excited about that! 

Waiting for a table on New Year's Eve night.
Before going to dinner on New Year's Eve.  My first time in 4" stilettos since surgery.
When Mitchell left early in the morning of January 5th, I got up and got ready to make the trek to Raleigh for a doctor's and therapist's appointment.  The doctor gave me a good overall report but I am still being treated for my minor complication from GRS.  To me it does not always seem minor but in the big picture I am healing and will be 100% soon. 

My therapist had not seen me since my surgery, so we had a good meeting talking about my time in Montreal, family and my plans for the future.  I really don't need gender therapy anymore and we never spent a lot of time talking about it anyway after the first few meetings.  Diving head first into transition the way I did was the best therapy I could have ever received.  I was done fighting with myself before I ever entered the therapists' office, so I guess with me her job was easy. 

It had been 3 years since I began this journey with my first nervous steps into her office and I was happy that she could now see me happy and complete.  I won't be going to therapy as regularly now, just when I need it for some situation or possibly occasionally to just check in.

Yes, there are Big things planned in Tammy World in 2015.  Now that I have completed transition, getting on with life is going to be the fun part.  Or, as a friend once told me, transition only begins after GRS.  I guess it's all a matter of how you look at it but one thing is for sure, I have never, ever been as comfortable with myself, in my own skin or with those around me as I am at this point in my life.  I can only imagine it will get better still and I have soo much more to share with you.  I do hope you will stay tuned to Tammy World 2015!

From our family to yours, I hope you keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart the whole year through.