I remember that with my former best friend, I felt like she felt entitled to have the best of everything and raised her daughter with the same expectations. While I still disagree with many of her parenting decisions, I no longer think that was one of them because I get it now.
As I’ve already mentioned, it’s really good and personally enjoyable that my middle daughter is allowing me to be much more involved in her transition than my oldest daughter did. For example, I still have to ask my oldest daughter’s permission before buying her any clothes, so I usually don’t. She doesn’t seem to enjoy it.
She doesn’t really wear makeup anymore but she did for many years, and she didn’t allow my input on that, either. As a result, she usually picked up drugstore brands that were maybe not always the most flattering or natural-looking.
My middle daughter actively wants my input because all of this is so new to her. And I find that I’m not starting her out on the drugstore brands, even though they would be cheaper.
Part of that is because she is very, very fair-complected and I know from experience that it’s really hard to find a good match for that skin tone in drugstore brands. Similarly, I’m starting her out with the skin care products I use because her skin type is like mine, which are also not as cheap as drugstore brands. (Though I did manage to find them on a good sale and let her know that a bottle of cleanser, for example, typically lasts about six months.)
I’m sure that when she wants to start wearing mascara or lipstick (if she does), I can point her to some decent drugstore brands. I’m very mindful of the fact that she likely won’t be earning a lot of money for a while and don’t want to get her hooked on things she can’t afford to maintain (or commit to always buying them for her.)
But I’m really having a lot of fun being able to pick out clothes for a daughter. I send her links or pictures of clothes and respect her input. If she doesn’t like something, she just says, “I’ll pass.” It gives me an immense amount of joy to find things that she likes that I also like. Being able to essentially get her a whole new wardrobe is something that I feel very fortunate to be able to afford at this time and I can tell that it plays a big role in her courage to come out.
Dressed as a male, she always absolutely hated wearing jeans because she said they were so uncomfortable. So I was happy to tip her off to the existence of jeggings and told her how much more comfortable they were. I already ordered her a pair from the Gap but I suspect they may not fit her right because there’s not much difference between her waist and hip measurements.
So I did a simple Google search for jeans for her body shape and found a brand that’s supposed to be excellent for shapes with smaller hips. It’s a pretty expensive brand but luckily, I found a discounted pair at Saks Off 5th and ordered them for her. They were still more expensive than I’d normally consider spending, especially on a 20-year-old. But I think that the potential payoff will be huge if they make her feel more confident about herself.
And I guess that’s what I never understood before: it’s not really about spoiling your kid (you do that in other ways that you raise them) but about wanting them to feel good about themselves.
Particularly with a trans kid who already has to overcome so much in terms of accepting themselves, the more I can do to make that process a little easier is worth quite a bit of money to me.
And very soon, she’ll have enough of a wardrobe to dress in female clothes full time and will officially have us use her new chosen name.
And ultimately, all I can really think about is how lucky I am that I can still be available to drive my kids around, too. My middle daughter is going to need transportation to a lot of appointments coming up: therapy, endocrinologist appointments, and laser hair removal sessions. Meanwhile, my youngest son is also having a lot more things to do as he wraps up his senior year, from on-campus AP tests to get-togethers with friends. All these things would be difficult, if not impossible, if I were still working a full-time schedule.
For a while there, I was convinced that the kids didn’t really need me much anymore. But in fact, it actually seems like they need me more than ever. I can’t say that I mind at all.