Yesterday was Carli’s birthday, and the first birthday she could celebrate as her true authentic self. We’ve never been big party people, and we spent so many birthdays apart while she was active duty we have always opted for private celebrations, simply enjoying the time together. Looking back at her birthday last year it’s easy to see the major changes, but if you look a little more closely you will see that some things thankfully just didn’t change.
Last year on her birthday Carli was still in the closet and I was still the only other person who knew about it. We would venture out for dinner or shopping and she would dress in feminine clothes but we would always go to places we were not likely to see people we knew. Always looking over our shoulders and around corners. Just as we are now out together, we were also closeted together.
This time last year I was almost at the end of my rope. It was getting harder and harder to keep her secret. It broke my heart to watch her struggle everyday getting dressed in male clothing she was miserable wearing because it wasn’t who she was. I painted her nails but she had to take it off at a moments notice if someone dropped by the house. She would shave several times a day because she hated the shadow of facial hair and I could tell she was getting closer to the end of her rope, too. We had to bring others into our world soon. But that’s a story for another day!
Carli’s transition did bring lots of changes, happy changes. But there are fundamental aspects of our lives that simply haven’t changed. I didn’t know that things wouldn’t change, though. I would use the 30 minute drive to work to worry myself sick about what was going to change. I wondered if I would have to give my “woman card” to my spouse. Would I have to pick up the guy chores? Who would do the heavy lifting, fix the cars, till the garden? Did her transition actually mean a role reversal, and what would I do if that’s what happened?
Our friends know we are big gardeners. Our garden takes up more space on the property every year. Only one thing really changed in our gardening this year-Carli gardens in girl clothes now. That’s it. She didn’t forget how to drive the tractor or run the tiller and she still enjoys gardening.
Carli has always been very handy, she can fix anything and we have done our fair share of home improvement prior to her transition. Was that going to stop? I am not nearly as handy with power tools if she felt she needed to give up those activities. I had no idea, but maybe our home improvement days would be over!! Well, let’s see. Since her last birthday we have remodeled one of the living rooms, created a fabulous set of shelves in an underused closet, gutted and renovated the laundry room, and refinished the wood vanity in one of the bathrooms. Nope, not much changed there!
The most noticeable change has been in Carli’s attitude while engaging in these familiar tasks. She used to be cranky, demanding, and angry when working on these projects. I stayed out of her way before because I didn’t want to do anything wrong. Now she is happy, joking about things that go wrong rather than slamming tools on the floor. We laugh more, we have fun and at the end of the day we look at what we have accomplished and can honestly say we do good work together!!
So yes, some things did change, but not for the worse. I am glad I didn’t let fear of what might happen drive my life. And I did keep my woman card; Carli got her own for her birthday. Happy birthday, love!