I’m not out to my parents as genderqueer/nonbinary and this knowledge has weighed on me for years. For graduation, I considered asking them to stop calling me a girl—as they do nearly every day when talking to our dog. I’m Tilly’s “girl.” They mean it in the sweetest way, but I still cringe every time. I feel uncomfortable, sometimes irritated, sometimes sad. Because I don’t know how to bring up my gender identity with them—I’ve already had some uncomfortable conversations and nonconversations about other trans loved ones, and I don’t expect our conversation to be tulips and roses, I’ve kept waiting. But all that aside, I’m fortunate. I won a lottery when I was born, Les. Gender and sexuality conversations may not be most delightful topics in our household, but I can hardly imagine having parents love me more. And I can hardly imagine having better siblings.
Tonight I found out that my dad, who has struggled with viruses, kidney stones, fatigue, and a fever for the past two months, all while having to continue to work every day as a small business owner, has an aneurysm in his heart. He requires heart surgery. After multiple calls from the doctor’s office and his having tests run this week, I’ll admit I was expecting news of this variety.
It was after my mom and I walked in the front door together this evening and he greeted us with a bright smile that he sat us down and shared the news. Not long after he told us that Elizabeth (my sister) already knew, and that she’d been into his work this morning. Also, her mother had more health news too; something doctors had just last week announced cleared up was in fact still present.
My dad is optimistic. His doctor is chagrined he didn’t catch the aneurysm last month and working hard to connect my dad with a good surgeon. My dad’s going to be out of commission for awhile after the surgery. Somehow, after years of his not getting more than four consecutive days off work (including the weekend), he’ll have to take time off. And it’s not for a vacation like we’ve all been wanting. My sister and I kind of laughed about this over the phone—saying after this, we’ll have to force a vacation to happen. If we can figure out his business stuff for bad things, we should figure it out for beautiful things too. Of course, good health is beautiful. A successful surgery and recovery is beautiful.
I find myself praying in my agnostic way and sending good vibes to my dad, my sister, her mom, and even FKS, who is sick right now and in the middle of many changes as she prepares to move down to California to live with her sister for at least a term.
Maybe things aren’t great right now, Les. But I’m hopeful. So hopeful.