My son Kris just turned 30 today. And at this point in time, I want to wish him the happiest of birthdays and all the best in this world. 30 is a good benchmark for age; it’s a time to look back at what you’ve learned and accomplished, reflect on things, and work forward toward the future.
And you’re thinking… wait a second. Chuck’s been blogging for putt’near 6 years with the TU, and now he’s talking about a 30-year-old son?
Well, I’ve talked about Kris for years. I even had a dedicated category on the blog for Kris.
Here’s what happened.
Over the last year or so, Kris struggled with a major life decision. And what happened was, after much thought and counseling and soul-searching and reflection, Kris began the complicated journey of transitioning from a girl to a boy.
That’s right. Kris was once my daughter Cassaundra.
At this point, if you feel any urge to make Caitlyn Jenner jokes or Renee Richards jokes, or think that I’m going to start reviewing La Cage Aux Folles, please close your browser, turn off your computer and go stand in a corner. Because I won’t have any of it.
Because now the questions and more questions that any parent asks when their child decides to transition between genders are now the questions I must ask. These are the questions I must resolve.
There are many questions. And I don’t have all the answers. This isn’t a closed-minded father who thinks that if you’re born a man, you should stay a man. And this isn’t a “try-everything-in-this-world-because-yolo” father.
I’m just a father who wants the best for his child.
And I’m sure I’ve heard all the questions. “What about public bathrooms, what bathroom should Kris use now?”
Simple answer. Whichever one he feels comfortable using; and thankfully Kris knows how to use a bathroom. Do your duties, wash up afterwards.
I’ve heard the questions. “Does this mean that Kris changing from Cassaundra is a failure on your part as a father?”
Simple answer. Kris is 30 years old. Kris is living and working and previously served our country in the Army National Guard. Those values came from dear old Dad. I may not have been the greatest father, but I certainly did my best. And nobody can take that away.
I’ve heard the questions. “Is Kris a he or a she?”
I don’t presume. I asked Kris directly. He responded back. I don’t need to ask again.
Now granted, I’m going to slip up. Heck for nearly three decades I had a daughter named Cassaundra, and on occasion I’m going to – by force of habit – call my child Cassaundra. That doesn’t mean that I’m disrespecting this journey. It just means that I’m old and it takes some time to train my almost-52-year-old brain to replace “daughter Cassaundra” with “son Kris” everywhere. Trust me. I was born before there were “find-and-replace” macros in my cranial software.
I’ve heard the questions. I may not have the answers, I may NEVER have all the answers.
But there’s one answer that will never waver.
I love my kid. I was there at 11:09 a.m. thirty years ago to this day, when a little bundle of joy was placed in my arms. And I’m there today, celebrating what is essentially a 30-year-long journey to a new birth.
I didn’t know what the future held in 1986. And I don’t know what the future will hold in 2045. That’s assuming that I’m around in 2045.
But I do know this. My son Kris is taking new steps and new journeys, heading on a path that was not previously explored. And with that, as a father, the most I can do is offer support, consultation, a helping hand and a strong shoulder.
Are there moments where I will be confused or not understand what’s going on? Hell yeah there will be. You know what those moments are called? Being a parent. You become a parent the day your child is born, and you don’t stop becoming a parent until the moment you get lowered into the earth. And inbetween that time are a multitude of highs and lows, choices and decisions, reactions and repercussions.
And you never stop loving your offspring. Because that’s the one constant through everything.
Happy 30th birthday to my son Kris.