The Hunchnail of Notre Jean

I am about to talk a lot about my toenails. Consider this your trigger warning.

I ran a marathon last January. It was really hard, but my recovery wasn’t too bad. My muscles were sore and one of my ankles temporarily came up with a weird new ache, but altogether, things were all right.

Then, three days after the race, the base of my big toenails started to hurt. Like a lot. And it was weird because that’s not a place I’ve ever associated with pain before. The toes themselves didn’t hurt, just the base of the nail beds.

Soon the pain ebbed and blackness started to creep up. Very clearly there was a bruise/blood under the nails and it was starting a whole thing. Said “whole thing” turned out to be two entirely black toenails.

Up until this time, I’d always felt kind of awesome for never having had a black toenail. I was pretty sure this was because of my virtuous use of shoes that had toeboxes big enough for my ginormous feet. Honestly, I felt pretty superior about the whole thing.

Evidently when you run for six hours all in a row, however, big toeboxes do not the difference make.

I have spent the past four and a half months watching the progression of my diseased toenails and freaking the fuck out of whatever member of my family was dumb enough to look at my toes. Occasionally, I’d text photos of my toes to people so they would have to discuss them with me. Because watching my toes was, like, 80 percent of my mental life and only, like, one percent of my verbal life.

I noticed at some point that each big toenail had grown a little ridge near the bottom. Every once in a while I would stub my toe and the nail would noticeably shift and I would spend a week or so convinced that it was going to fall off at any second and trying to show my toes to anyone who would look.

“Anyone who would look” in this case means “any poor sucker who let me shove my toe into their line of sight before they had a chance to look away,” i.e. mostly my family.

Just last week Alex ran over my left toe with a Home Depot flatbed cart carrying 150 pounds of shelving. The toenail survived and I decided that if that wasn’t the end, then I should probably admire its fortitude and just stop whining about it already.

Two days ago, because I am clumsy, I stubbed my toe again and there was a crack and half of my toenail lifted up, attached only by a flap of skin on the left side. I reacted the way pretty much anyone would: I texted a photo of what was under my toenail to Alex, freaked out my kids, then slapped shoes and socks on and went running in hopes that repeated footfalls would take care of the problem.

It did not. I had to detach the nail myself. Goddamn roomy toebox.

Interestingly, the toenail that was run over is still hanging in there, but now I know it has a lifespan because clearly the other one did as well.

I’m fighting every inclination I have to post a photo of my toe and nail in various states of detachment, because of course I created a photo journal of its journey, but I texted photos to three different people about the separation of me from my nail with funny captions like, “A photo of my toenail. Foot not included,” and the response was mostly, “OH GOD NO” and “I want a divorce.” Then, because I am a human capable of learning, I did not text a photo to two more people and then they asked for one because they know what is interesting in life and are reasonable people and good friends.

People are confusing and I am evidently not good at reading them.

My kids reacted in ways that are uniquely them. Katie nearly started crying and was upset that I’d even mentioned such a heinous thing to her. I think she has blocked the entire incident from memory.

Jack investigated it with his eyes and his fingers and then told me, “I think you might need surgery,” and asked me, “are you scared about this?” (Answers: Probably not and YES, YES I AM I AM FREAKED OUT ENTIRELY BY THIS.) Jack is clearly my favorite and also maybe a little bit of a weirdo.

Quinn has started walking into rooms with his eyes closed and his head turned away until I can convince him that I’m wearing shoes.

Alex says that we had a good run and that he will miss me but no one ever agreed to be married to a monster with nine toenails.

I’m curious if it will grow back enough to be damaged anew by my October marathon. And if this happens again, I wonder how many new toenails can grow? Is it like a salamander tail that will continue to regenerate? Is it like shark teeth, with additional but finite replacements? Or is it like the elephant tooth that wears away and then causes the animal to starve to death/not be able to paint her toes?

For now, I miss pedicures, because it seems cruel to make a stranger touch the foot that my family doesn’t even want to look at—even if I am an extraordinarily good pedicure tipper what with the rest of my running feet issues. I am also going to miss wearing sandals this summer. But I do get to look forward to losing the other injured toenail when it finally suffers enough trauma to decide to say au revoir to my foot. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the lucky one to get a text on that occasion.

A Word On Nomenclature

As you may know, oftentimes transgender people choose to change their names even if they have a perfectly cromulent, mostly gender neutral name like Sam.

You may see where I am going with this.

For a while now, some of us have been calling her by the name she has chosen, but she recently came out with that name to her teachers and many other people in her life, so this will serve as notice that the artist formerly known as Sam will now be referred to exclusively by her chosen name of Katherine or Katie or Kat or even Kitkat if you are feeling particularly whimsical.

Blue-haired Katie

Introducing Katie, now with blue hair.

 

Too Many Ideas to Fill Up a Weekend

You know how sometimes you have weekends when you have nothing to do and you kinda sit around and stare at your family and no one can think of fun things to do and the only options you have are to go grocery shopping and think about how you should probably consider vacuuming?

Well, if you ever have one of those weekends, I have some suggestions for you based on what I did last weekend—a weekend during which I went everywhere and did everything.

Friday night: Realize Your Baby Is No Longer a Baby

Friday night, I gave Quinn snack money and dropped him off at a party for sixth graders going into his middle school next year. You should be aware that he is my wee little baby and I just dropped him off and watched him run into the building all by himself. I didn’t even remember to shout, “Don’t get kidnapped!” at him.

I arrived two hours later to see him “playing basketball” with a couple of his friends. This involved a lot of hurling the ball at each other and not a lot of actual playing of basketball. Once he spotted me, he briefly ran into the dance part of the party to spend the last of his money on snacks before I could demand it back and then returned to the gym.

Photo taken through a window of Quinn throwing a basketball.

Quinn is sportsing!

He bought a cookie for me though, so I have forgiven him for growing into a large, independent person.

Saturday morning: Run a Trail Race for the First Time

I have run races put on by many different organizations and therefore I get emails from all of them suggesting that I register for more races. One came across my inbox a couple of months ago that seemed all kinds of fun. It was called the Nanty Narking Nearly 9K and that alone seemed like a reason to run it. It also described the course as running past historic sites and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail and I was all, “sign me up!” before it even occurred to me that running past historic sites means you don’t get to actually look at them for more than about 30 seconds.

But that is okay because this race was, in fact, nanty narking (the race description claims that is a Victorian expression meaning “great fun”). It was a trail race, which I’d never done before. You know what? Trail races are fantastic. It had rained heavily the day before so there was all kinds of mud and there were hills to climb and rocks to step around and piles of horse shit to avoid and just a crapton of fun. Seriously.

It was a really small race too, so during the about five and a half miles, there was a lot of time when I was just out in the woods without any other people in sight. It was seriously the best. I think I understand why people like trail running.

Selfie of me and Lyda before the race.

My friend Lyda ran with me. Neither of us tripped and fell even once.

Saturday afternoon: Ice Skate for Special Hockey

Saturday afternoon was the Montgomery Cheetahs’ Cheetah-thon, which we happily attended. (Thank you to all of you who donated. You make Jack and me so happy.) Jack, of course, is a super rock star at the Cheetah-thon and had a blast skating in literal circles around his family.

Jack ice skating.

I cropped Sam out of this photo because the event was for Jack. Sorry, Sam.

Everyone else had a good time too. Sam did a great job skating and was actually the member of Team Stimey who stayed on the ice the longest. Quinn worked hard at skating and definitely made improvements over the course of the evening. I suppose he’d get even better if he skated more than once a year.

Jack and Sam standing face to face on the ice. Alex helping Quinn skate. The whole picture is reflected in the rink glass.

I ran around before we left making sure everyone had socks and helmets and long pants and sweatshirts so they could skate and I forgot my socks so I had to stay on the edge of the rink and heckle them.

The ice is not where Quinn shines though. The raffle is where Quinn shines. There are so many prizes up for grabs at the Cheetah-thon—and Quinn wants to win them all. Last year, in addition to some other stuff, he won a basket of Girl Scout cookies, which was like the greatest thing to ever happen to him in this lifetime. Wanna know what he won this year?

Quinn holding a basket of Girl Scout cookies.

A basket of Girl Scout cookies.

We also won some other stuff and Jack got to hang out with his people and I got to say hi to a lot of people and then I got to sit quietly on a bench and try to not get overwhelmed by all the people and we also bought all of the Cheetahs’ merchandise up for sale and the Cheetahs raised a ton of money and I’m pretty sure Team Stimey contributed about a third of it through raffle ticket purchases for that basket of cookies.

Me wearing a Cheetahs hat and Jack drinking out of a Cheetahs water bottle.

Jack and I showing off our Cheetah gear.

All worth it for the team though. So worth it.

Saturday evening: Chill Out After a Busy Day By Heading to Costco on a Weekend

We go to Costco pretty much every weekend for milk and lettuce and stuff, so Alex thought we could get it out of the way by stopping by after the Cheetah-thon and no one had the nerve to tell him no, plus there is a delicious chicken place for dinner next to the Costco, so that’s where we went after ice skating.

Well, Sam and I went to Target first to return some shorts, but then met up with everyone else at Costco. Side note: Do you realize how short girl shorts are? Because I am living in that world now and I don’t know when a 3-inch inseam started being classified as LONG shorts, but jeebus, there is sooooooo much leg for teenage girls to show these days. Consequently, whenever I see shorts that pass my Mom Length Test, I buy them. And then Sam doesn’t like them and we return them. It’s like a fun little game we play that involves a lot of eye rolling on both sides.

Also, do you know who else goes to Costco on a Saturday night half an hour before it closes? EVERYONE.

Sunday morning: Drive 45 Minutes Each Way For Your Kid’s Bassoon Lesson

When your kid plays bassoon, you take your private lessons where you can get them. For us, that is a solid 35-45 minutes away. Every Sunday between 9:45 and 12:15, Sam and I take the long trip to bassoon lessons. On our way there, Sam tries to read on her phone and I try to have deep, meaningful conversations with her because she’s my captive audience. Guess who wins.

I have to say though, even if someone offered us bassoon lessons next door, we’d still go to this teacher. She is awesome. She has really done a lot to push Sam and to help her play with groups she wouldn’t have otherwise. We like her a lot.

Sunday Mid-day Chicken Interlude:

Quinn eats very specific fried chicken legs for school lunch every day. Every weekend, we have to go buy at least five chicken legs from a specific grocery store. Sometimes they don’t have chicken legs when we’re there and we have to go back later. It is ridiculous. Every once in a while we try to sneak in a leg from a more reliable, closer store. He is never fooled.

Sunday afternoon: Attend the Finale of Listen To Your Mother DC

This year was the last year for the fantastic Listen to Your Mother shows in DC. Having been in the first one, I absolutely wanted to be there at the end.

I’m so glad I was. Per usual, it was an amazing show full of laughs and heartwrenching stories and truth.

Sunday late afternoon: Run. Then When You Get Tired, Run More. Try To Run Through Three Jurisdictions.

I am running the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Even though it is a loooong ways away, I am already doing some hard training to make sure I am able to run it the way I want to run it. That means that I am doing long runs every weekend (with mid-length runs every three or four weekends to rest).

Because my weekend was so busy, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get my long run in or that I was going to have to wake up early to do it. (Gasp! The horror!) Then I had a brilliant idea: I could run home from Listen to Your Mother!

The show was at a theater in northern Virginia near a Metro station, so I Metroed down there and plotted a route home that would take me from Virginia, all the way through DC, and then to my neighborhood in Maryland. (I wish DC was a state so I could say I’d run through three states.)

Regardless, it was a little more than a 12-mile run and because I was running north, it was all uphill. (Just like all rivers run south, right?)

Elevation graph. It shows the elevation getting higher as I go, then it decreases some.

My Garmin says that I actually gained 732 feet. Just in case you ever wanted to know whether it is uphill or downhill into DC.

Now I understand why I was so tired when I got home.

Sunday evening: Collapse

I arrived home and sat down. I ate some food. I had to decline an invitation to ride my bike with the family to get ice cream. I took a bath and tried not to sink under the water. I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. It was awesome.

So, now you have some ideas of how to fill a weekend. I think this coming weekend will be similarly packed so I should have more ideas for you after you do all of these. But whatever you do, don’t forget the collapsing part. That is very important.

The Magic of Special Hockey Reprise

Jack and I went to Jamestown, New York, for his hockey tournament almost two months ago now. I’ve wanted to write about it ever since, but, well, you know the kind of laziness problems I’ve been having. Because our annual Cheetah-thon is this weekend, this seemed like a good time to tell you about it. (You are officially invited to said Cheetah-thon and also supplied with this here link to our fundraising site in case you are so inclined to donate to this fantastic program.)

So after Jack took the year off from the Cheetahs last year and re-started this year, Alex has been taking him to practices. Prior to this year, it was almost always me who took him, but Alex really enjoyed hanging out with him the few times he took him so he volunteered to be Hockey Parent this year, which was great with me because I don’t like getting up at 6:30 am on Saturdays.

Alex was even going to take Jack on this hockey tournament trip but then *work something something work grumble work something* and I ended up going with Jack instead. At first I was a little annoyed because I LIKE TO STAY INSIDE MY HOUSE AND NOT GO OUTSIDE OR CHANGE MY SCHEDULE OR INTERACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE, but I am so happy and lucky that I got to go because it turns out that The Magic of Special Hockey is still real and happening and wonderful and also because I wouldn’t have been able to do as much day drinking had I stayed home and Alex had gone on the tournament.

These tournaments do involve, like, a billion-hour bus trip, which isn’t the greatest, although we do get to watch hockey mainstay movie Miracle on the bus DVD player every time. Jack played video games with his friend for about a half hour and then started feeling sick. After the Bus Barforama™ from the tournament two years ago, neither he nor I wanted to experience that again, so he sat next to me and stared straight ahead for the next six hours.

Two photos. 1. Jack playing a DS. His index finger is straight up in the air 2. Jack staring straight ahead.

Jack’s two positions on the bus. Also, having that finger straight up seems to be an important part of playing DS for the kid.

This, of course, left Jack totally free to tell me all about all the video games he played as well as to harass others, like when one of the hockey dads stopped to talk to me and Jack was all, “Are you flirting with her?” (he wasn’t) followed with an emphatic, “SHE’S MARRIED.” Classic Jack.

Incidentally and ironically, Quinn was hit in the head by a hockey puck at school that day.

We arrived in Jamestown, checked into our hotel, and Jack finally got to play all the DS that I’d promised he could play on the bus.

Jack on a hotel bed playing DS.

Me: Jack, do you want to swim/eat/shower/hang out with a friend?
Jack: NO.

There were three eating establishments within a sightline of the hotel: a Bob Evans, a McDonald’s, and a gas station. (Yes, gas stations count as eating establishments.) That night a big group of us went to Bob Evans and then the kiddos went swimming and then we went to bed.

The next day, Friday, Jack didn’t have a game until 2:45, so we went to McDonald’s for breakfast, then went back to the room where he did the same thing as in that photo up there and I read for a while and took a nap and then we ate lunch at McDonald’s and then finally got on the bus to go to the ice rink.

Photo of Jack in his game jersey and pads and me next to him.

Traditional pre-game selfie.

It is here that I need to tell you about Jack’s new philosophy about playing hockey. A few months ago, one of Jack’s teachers gave the class an assignment to do something outside of their comfort zone over the weekend. Because he had a hockey game that weekend, he decided that the thing he would do would be to actually put effort into playing the game. Things turned out well for him and instead of lying on the ice and taking leisurely laps around the rink, he worked hard, scored a goal, made an assist, and generally rocked the casbah.

After such a good experience, he evidently decided that this is now his new comfort zone behavior for hockey games. I hadn’t been at that first game where he put in effort so I was really excited to see him work it here. And work it he did. He did such a great job. I was super impressed.

We had a couple of hours before the next game, so some of the players hung out at a table in the rink restaurant and some of the parents sat at an adjacent table and commenced to drinking, what with our not having to drive anywhere AND it being St. Patrick’s Day and all. Thus we waited out the time until the next game at which Jack also expended good effort. He is the greatest.

Because I am not the greatest, I don’t remember at which game that first day that he scored his goal, but he did and it was AWESOME. He’s come a long way. And not just in goal scoring. He chases the puck, he passes the puck, he is generally just an effort-expending hockey player. He is all kinds of cool.

After the game, not wanting to return to McDonald’s for a third time in the same day, another mom and I wandered around unsuccessfully looking for a place to eat until we ran into a couple of dads who were headed to a pizza place. We became taggers on and were rewarded with delicious dinner, which we consumed just in time to make the bus back to the hotel.

It was a really happy day for both Jack and I and it made me feel a little sad for Alex that he wasn’t able to experience it. I’ve always been the one to take Jack on his hockey tournaments, so he’s always missed out. But at the same time as I was feeling a little sad for Alex, I was feeling very happy for myself and full of satisfied emotions because I was so lucky to be able to spend this time with Jack.

Saturday morning we had a game at 8 am, so we had to get up and moving early.

Jack holding a cup up to his face. There is a picture of a mustache on the cup.

This is Jack waiting for the bus to the rink. He mustache you a question.

Because Jack is awesome, he scored two goals and continued to be awesome at that morning game. I insert these next photos so you know that going to a hockey tournament actually includes ice skating and playing hockey.

Jack in the locker room in all his gear.

“Stay out of the comfort zone, Jack…stay out of the comfort zone.”

Jack skating mid-game

Jack being a hockey player.

Jack at the center of the rink at the face off.

Jack loves doing the face-off and generally is kind of pushy about taking his spot there.

I don’t have a lot of memory of what happened between games. That is the problem with writing a blog post two months after the event. Did we go back to the hotel? Maybe. Did I feed Jack lunch at the rink? WAIT A MINUTE! I remember! We went back to the hotel where I bought Jack doughnuts and I think I took him swimming but there was no one else down there so he was lonely and we went back to the room before we went back to Bob Evans for lunch and I ate lemon pie for dessert. I never forget lemon pie.

Jack had his last game that afternoon. After steadfastly refusing to be a captain all weekend (I think he thought it might involve extra work or motivational speaking or something), Jack finally agreed to step up and wear the “C” that made him Captain Jack for 45 minutes.

Jack in the locker room all geared up looking at his coach who is bending down to talk to him.

Here is the head coach giving Jack a pep talk about being captain.

There is something about sitting in the stands with other special hockey parents watching your athlete play and seeing the coaches grin and encourage all of the players. It is really hard to explain, but there is something amazing there. I felt it so strongly that weekend watching all those terrific kids and young adults play.

Plus everyone got a medal because they are awesome.

Jack wearing his medal.

Triumphant. And tired.

From there, it was back to the hotel for more swimming in a pool that soon roiled with children, followed by a pizza party. You can’t get better than that. Or can you? What if your mom is half drunk and decides you need a late-night snack walk to the gas station where she will buy you a king size Big Kat? That’s even better.

Selfie of us on our walk to the gas station.

Because candy and soda right before bed is kind of a thing that Team Stimey excels at.

One of the teams had a game Sunday morning so Jack got to watch funny videos of dogs and cats in the room and then with his teammates in the lobby of the hotel. Then he sat on a bus for six and a half hours staring straight ahead again.

And that was Jack’s triumphant return to tournament hockey. We really could not have had more fun. There was a really fun group of parents there for me and so many nice players for Jack to hang out with, including his best friend, which is always a bonus.

Thank you so much to the parents who organized this trip. We appreciate your work so much. You made the weekend both fun and magical for us—that’s not easy to pull off. And to the coaches, you skate every game for three Cheetah squads and you wear genuine smiles throughout every one. You are my heroes. Thank you.

If, after reading, you (yes, you) would like to support the team, please head over to https://www.crowdrise.com/annual-cheetah-thon where you can make a donation. Jack and the rest of the Cheetahs would be so grateful. This team has made such a difference in our lives and I know we’re not the only family who feels this way. This is a really unique and incredible team and we appreciate so much your emotional and financial support.

Alex’s Triumphant Footrace Debut

As you know, Alex has been running lately. He has worked his way through both Couch to 5K and Couch to 10K apps. At this point, his regular run is probably about 5 miles. He’s doing SO well. It has been really cool to watch him turn from a reluctant fine-this-is-good-for-me-so-I’ll-do-it runner into a huh-running-is-super-fun runner.

He has long maintained that he’s not into races, but as his goal is a half marathon at some point, it seemed smart to get him used to the race environment. Also, he has been less scowly lately when I ask if he wants to sign up for races. In fact, he even said I could look for a 5K for him provided that he could be kinda surly throughout and wouldn’t have to talk to anyone he knows before or after the event.

Challenge accepted.

It was surprisingly difficult to find the right race for him, but I finally chose the GW Parkway Classic, largely because it was far enough away that my Maryland running friends would not be there and because it offered both a t-shirt AND a medal, which is not something most 5Ks do. (There was also a 10-miler version, hence the medals.)

Alex grew surlier and surlier as race day approached, especially when he learned that because it was a point-to-point race, we would have to park, take a shuttle to the start, run, then take a shuttle back to our parking place. He did a lot of dramatic sighing when he heard that.

Then, when I told him we would have to leave the house at 5:45 in the a.m. because we had to drive to Virginia AND take a shuttle bus, he expressed surprise and alarm about the fact that we had to get up that early. I guess he never noticed how early I sometimes leave for races because he is sleeping right through my departure.

So he was already in a bad state about the whole thing when I heard the weather forecast for race day. I was all, “Alex, you’re going to start hearing words like ‘soaking rain’ and ‘Sunday’ together. Don’t freak out.”

To his credit, he didn’t freak out. He did, however, give me one of the most effective stink eyes I’ve ever seen him give.

Fortunately, by the time race day arrived, the weather had calmed and it was clear and cool. THANK GOD. I would never have heard the end of it had Alex had to run through a monsoon.

Also fortunately, this race was super well run and offered copious amenities. Catching the shuttle bus was super easy. And they weren’t even awful school buses, like at many races; they were regular city buses. It was delightful. We really wanted to pull the cord to request stops at lots of places, but we managed to restrain ourselves.

The bus let us off near the start line, which was at a beautiful green area next to the Potomac.

Selfie of Alex and I in front of the Potomac river. There are even geese in the background.

Many races start in a parking lot. Alex doesn’t know how good he has it.

There were also actual bathrooms there, which was nice not only because bathroom > porta potty, but because it was warm in there. Unfortunately, there were very much not enough bathrooms or porta potties for everyone at the start. That was my one complaint about the race.

After our stop at the bathroom, we took a trip down to the shore, where we were whale eyed by this guy:

Photo of a goose on the shore.

This goose has nothing to do with the race. I just like the photo.

We wandered over to the race area after freaking out the goose, where they had every amazing thing you could possibly want before a race (except a bathroom). They had space blankets to protect us from the cold wind coming off the river. They had giant blueberry muffins. They had bananas. They had hot coffee. It was unprecedented.

I took a space blanket, Alex took some coffee, then we wandered around, stretched, and Alex complained about the long wait until the start time and the fact that the DJ wasn’t playing his favorite music.

Goodness. All those paragraphs and we haven’t even run a step yet.

Start time finally arrived. We shuffled toward the start line together, crossed it, and Alex started putting distance between us. I had him in my sights for about a quarter of a mile and then he was gone.

It was a nice little course. Very pretty. Almost entirely flat. I was pushing my pace because of my goal this year of becoming speedier. I ran a speedy-for-me 34 minutes flat. Alex ran it in 31:26. Like a boss.

It’s been a week and the official race photos haven’t gone up yet, which is disappointing because I wanted mid-race photos to show you. You will have to make do with this one, which I forced Alex to pose for after we met up post-race.

Selfie of Alex and I post-race. He's holding up his medal.

Me: Hold your medal up.
Alex: *grimace*

I’m super proud of him. He totally killed it. I think he might have caught the race bug. While I was napping that afternoon, he was looking up his race results. Adorbs.

Way to go, Alex. I couldn’t be prouder of you.

Welcome to My New Effort to Write More Often

First I’ll tell you a story.

Monday I was wearing socks in my house, which I guess I shouldn’t do, because I have wood stairs and I slipped and fell down.

It was a catastrophic fall.

I just slipped down two stairs, but somehow at the end of it, I’d snapped a railing spindle, hit my back and arm hard, and clonked my head on two different stairs as I went down. I do feel a little bit like I’ve been beaten on with a baseball bat, but don’t worry too much about my back and arm because my skull took the brunt of it.

Also, I was holding a glass bowl of water when I fell because of course I was.

I pretty much still have a headache, but I seem to be mostly okay. In fact, I don’t even have a single visible bruise, which is a bit of a bummer because I can’t get adequate sympathy.

But enough about me being clumsy. Let’s talk about me being lazy.

Lately, instead of being a fully functioning member of Writersville, I sit on my couch and watch TV every night like the loafer I am. I would really like to write more often. I contemplated forcing myself to write every day for a month to get me back in the habit, but that seemed like setting myself up for failure and setting you up for any number of hideously boring posts about what I am watching on TV right now.

Instead I’ve decided to try to write at least a couple of times a week, focusing even on things that happened a while ago as long as I want to remember them in this digital scrapbook of mine. Either that or I will entirely give up on writing altogether. It’s really like a 50-50 shot.

I have a whole list of topics that I plan to work my way down. Here’s hoping I’m back soon. If not, it’s been lovely knowing you all.

Wherein Sam is Fabulous*

* Posted with full pre-approval by Sam.

I have exciting news! Sam would like me to announce that she is trans and would prefer us to all use she/her pronouns. She also understands that some of us have known her as male for a very long time so she won’t destroy you if you slip up and use a masculine pronoun, like I do 800 times each day.

But yay Sam! Yay for being you! Yay for being bold! Yay for taking up your space in the world! I am very proud of you, my love.

Sam standing in our living room in shorts and a shirt that reads, "mongay tuesgay wednesgay thursgay frigay saturgay sungay"

I love every part about you, Sam.

Also, who was brilliant enough to give her a gender-neutral name?

Sam has proudly identified as being gay (quoiromantic asexual) for a while now, but I haven’t written about it here as I considered it her story to tell. (I know. The irony after ten years of blogging about my kids. Let’s just say I’ve evolved.) But! She started asking why I hadn’t blogged about it and started outright demanding that I do so and it started to seem less like me respecting her privacy and more like me ignoring her truth. Also, now that she is out as trans, I didn’t want to give anyone whiplash by suddenly changing pronouns on all of you with no explanation.

So, proud us. Brave Sam.

She is out at school and everything, which had to be a scary transition to make. Fortunately, she reports that people—students and teachers—have been great. Jack and Quinn are all good about it too. They were like, “Okay. Can I play video games now?” This generation gives me hope.

I’m sure that she will face challenges as she ages and goes into the world, but I think that one of the best armors against bigotry is a strong self-esteem and love of self. As with my other kiddos, Sam seems to have those. We will continue to nurture her and teach her to be proud of who she is. And she will continue to teach us about strength and pride and who she is. I look forward to seeing how she evolves and I feel so lucky that she trusts us enough to let us share that journey with her.

Photo of Sam with rainbow-dyed hair.

Flaunt it, friendo! (Also, for the first time, Sam had someone else dye her hair for her, which felt a little bit like a stab in the heart, but at least she let me bleach it, so I get the crumbs of attention at least.)

Also, any locals who might have suggestions for resources/support that we can look into would be great.

Posted in Sam