I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our family has evolved since C.J. swished and flourished into our lives. So, I decided to interview Grandma Colorado via email. I hope her evolution is apparent to you. She went from not knowing what a blog was to being one of Raising My Rainbow’s biggest fans. She knows the blog’s frequent commenters by name. She tells her friends about it when she is playing mahjong at the community center and while doing pilates at the rec center. I’m proud of her evolution…
C.J.‘s Mom: When did you first notice that something was different about C.J.?
Grandma Colorado: When he was about three years old.
Mom: What was different about him?
Grandma: He always had a lego person or a stuffed animal and always wanted to have a conversation with you with your toy. He would always say, “how are you today, what do you want to do today.” He always wanted to be the girl. I would say I’m the girl and he would say I could be a girl or a boy but he was definitely the girl in our conversation.
Mom: Did you think it was a phase at first?
Grandma: I thought he was very bright and just showing individuality. He was always very independent.
Mom: Did him playing with girl toys or dressing up like a girl ever bother you?
Grandma: I thought it was unusual he wanted dolls only and girl toys. I guess I thought he would outgrow it. One of our friends had a neighbor boy who only played with the girls and loved the tea parties and such. He is now married with four children and very happy.
One Christmas C.J. only received boy toys and he was devastated. Our son said it was the worst Christmas ever because C.J. was so angry at Santa and didn’t get anything he wanted. Our son said that would never happen again. That really hit home with us. You don’t want to deprive your children. The toys don’t bother us. The dressing up was a little harder to accept. We worry more about how cruel other children can be. I’m accepting of whatever my child or any other person wants to be.
Mom: Do you or did you ever think we should make him conform?
Grandma: C.J. will be whatever he will be. I don’t think he has a choice. I think you guys have done a wonderful job with C.J. and his brother. We just want our children to be happy and well adjusted.
Mom: Do you think he was born this way? Is it his nature or his nurture?
Grandma: I definitely think he was born this way. I know many gay people who are happy and wonderful with lifetime partners. I don’t think you would choose this lifestyle. There are too many ignorant and cruel people out there. I just worry about his safety and happiness. Children can be so cruel. You can see this already in C.J.‘s neighborhood.
Mom: How has having a child like C.J. in the family changed you?
Grandma: It has made be much more understanding and compassionate for children that don’t fit society’s mold. I feel I have always been very compassionate, but now I am more vocal about it. I stand up for the underdog. Like I said before I have a child in my charity organization that is very gender nonconforming. Now I always point out his pretty headbands and how unique and special he is.
Mom: Do you feel like an unexpected advocate?
Grandma: Most definitely. I am so proud of you as parents and his big brother. I feel Uncle Uncle has made a huge impact on my son over the years. He has helped make him more sensitive and understanding. My daughter-in-love has made a huge impact on our family and we are very blessed to have her in our family.
Mom: What are your biggest fears for C.J., his brother and our family?
Grandma: C.J. is a tiger, but a totally sensitive child. I worry for everyone when he goes to school. I don’t want C.J.’s spirit broken. I want him to be able to stand up to the bullies. I fear for his brother because he is so kind, gentle and an absolute sweetheart. I don’t want him to have to change to protect his brother. I see this happening though and I see no way to change this. I see strong parents that are doing an incredible job. They have a difficult situation, but C.J. couldn’t have better parents picked for this challenge. Our family is there to back you four up. We are all lions circling our cubs.
Mom: How were things for LGBTQ kids when you were working at the local high school?
Grandma: The kids pretty well accepted them. I had an aide named B. who, as a senior, was fine and his family had finally accepted his sexuality. But, in his sophomore year he attempted suicide. As he tells it, it was a lame attempt, more of a plea to get his family to accept him as he was. Apparently it worked because his father was very accepting then and just glad he was alive.
At the other school I transferred to, they had a large gay and lesbian group. They had meetings on campus and were very open about it. I think kids have become more accepting of it and not afraid. At least in the high school level.
Mom: How do you think you would have parented a child like CJ?
Grandma: Certainly not as well as you have. I think I would have been very confused. I probably would have blamed it on myself for my child being like this. I would have wondered what I had done wrong. It would have taken a while to accept. But, then you become supportive and just hope your child is not bullied and hurt along the way.
Mom: What do you think C.J. will be when he grows up?
Grandma: An artist, architect or engineer. He is so exacting and a perfectionist when he colors and draws. I am expecting great things from him. He is so dramatic and artistic he could be in theater also.
Mom: What’s your favorite thing to do with C.J.?
Grandma: Run around and chase and scare him, draw with chalk, color, read to him, play dolls and hike (he has great stamina!).
Mom: Anything else you want my blog readers to know?
Grandma: In closing, I feel like my son and daughter-in-law have done a wonderful job with both of their children. They are lucky to have Uncle Uncle who can share and prepare them for what he has gone through. They have a supportive family that wants to love, share, help
and see their family grow to their highest potential for each individual. We fear for the ignorant people out there who are terrified of anything different. We have two beautiful and totally unique grandchildren. We want their safety, happiness and them to be whatever they want to be.
Love & Blessings,