C.J. From Another Person’s Perspective

The author of this post is my very best friend KK, whom C.J. knows affectionately as Auntie KK.

I love C.J.’s mom.  She is my very best friend and my soul sister.  We have been besties for more years than I care to say for fear of revealing our scandalously young age… Ha!

KK's kids and C.J.'s Brother

KK’s kids and C.J.’s Brother

I also love C.J. and his brother as if they were my own.  My husband and I have two children as well and they have all been raised together since birth.  Brothers, sisters, cousins…they may not have these titles officially, but they are family.  We are family.

As many families do, we have holiday traditions, non-traditions, random outings of all sorts and this holiday season was no different.  Our two clans came together just before Christmas at a local amusement park for some seasonal fun and the standard picture with Santa.  C.J.’s mom and I both agreed to dress the kids in festive attire so that we would have ourselves a great picture for years to come.

However, as I helped my nine-year-old daughter assemble her outfit for the day, I realized for the first time that I had reservations about her overly zealous use of accessories and things that glitter.  The fact was, we were going to be spending the entire day in public with C.J.  He would not be in full C.J. regalia and I did not want to make him feel jealous or uncomfortable.  I did not have to even explain it to my daughter, just the simple mention of who our party included was reason enough for her to tone it down.  Even something inside of her knew.

Our 2012 picture with Santa

Our 2012 picture with Santa

The day was crisp and the kids all looked adorable in their layers.  C.J. was wearing his dark washed jeans, holiday appropriate red henley and super cool black motorcycle jacket.  The other three children were also dressed in gender-typical chilly weather, holiday clothing.  The day itself was a success.  Us adults took turns riding different attractions with the kids as to not give any one parent total nausea from the spinning and jerking death traps.

Once all the fun was had at the park we set out for a conjoined family dinner at the nearby Mexican restaurant to conclude the day.  After dinner we went our separate ways and called it a night.  All things considered it was a normal outing enjoyed by all.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized that, in fact, it was not a normal day at all.  I could not immediately pinpoint it but there had been something off.  The entire day had an air about it that was just wrong.  After some more thought I decided to go back through my phone and look at the pictures from the day.  And there it was…in color right before my eyes.  I was staring at the picture of the kids with Santa.  All of them were smiling, looking as cute as ever.  And then there was C.J., smiling, but also fighting with himself.  Holding his tiny little hands together, fighting the urge to strike a fabulous pose and pop his hip just so…

KK's Daughter and C.J. having a fashion show

KK’s Daughter and C.J. having a fashion show

You see, I have been a passenger on this journey with C.J.’s Mom from the beginning but in many respects I am still an outsider looking in.  Our families are so blended that almost all of our outings, trips and week long vacations end with us in the comfort of one of our homes, together.  It is there that C.J. is able to be his true self.  Either wrapped in his own dress up clothes or in my daughter’s hand me downs, this is C.J.  It had been some time since we spent an entire day with “public C.J.” only.  And, as I stared at the picture my heart broke.  My heart broke for C.J. and for my best friend and for C.J.’s Brother and Father.  The trials and tribulations are just beginning.

Although I was witness to this day’s internal battle for C.J., they live with this day in and day out.  C.J.’s Mom and Dad will have to struggle every day with the public versus private C.J.  How much of his true self do you allow him to show and still be able to protect him from the judgment of others?  C.J.’s brother has many of these hard days in front of his as well.  How does he use his words — not his fists — to help the other children understand that C.J. is special because of his differences and not to be the subject of childhood tortures?  How do you balance a free and open spirit with a close-minded world?

I can only imagine what it is to struggle with the biggest part of yourself every day, your heart!  We all struggle each day with something, those pesky 10 pounds, a bad hair day or the cranky boss/toddler/husband/insert noun here.  But, to fight your true self each day at five years old?  That is earth shattering.

KK's Daughter and C.J. in Colorado

KK’s Daughter and C.J. in Colorado

As much as my heart is broken, it is also full of pride.  I am proud of C.J. for not letting the world quell his fire.  He is not at a point in his life where he has to claim a stake into one side of the fence or the other, although some may expect it.  But he is not allowing the expected to totally define him.  He is C.J…gender non-conforming.  My hope is that he won’t always have to struggle between the “Public C.J.” and the “Private C.J.”  If the two could just come together, the world would see one amazing child.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the overflowing amount of pride I have in my very best friend.  Not every parent is equipped to handle a child that requires more… more help, more understanding, more patience.  However, C.J. knew what he was doing when he picked her as his mother, there truly would be no better fit.  C.J.’s mom is a remarkable woman and I am privileged to be her friend.

A strong woman stands up for herself, but the strongest women stand up for others.  You my friend are among the strongest!

I love you.

KK

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About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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28 Responses to C.J. From Another Person’s Perspective

  1. Dmitri says:

    What a lucky kid–raised in a family with a dad and two moms! I wish there were a way to make reading this blog a requirement for everyone living on this earth: maybe we could learn to accept one another and all get along together.

  2. guiltymomma says:

    You are an amazing friend to C.J’s mother and family. This post from you brought tears to my eyes. I have only just stumbled on this blog today, and I am so intrigued! I feel I am much more open-minded, and will try to be much more open-minded as a parent. There is so much assumption we closed minded parents have, and after reading this blog, so much I want to change.Thank you!

  3. Kelly J says:

    OK, when I decided to take a look at RMR for the first time, today, I didn’t know I’d be crying at nearly every post I read!! Its because I see mine and my childs life in these blogs. The hardest part of this journey is others perception of you and your child. When you find friends that accept and support you, they are like gold.How blessed you are to have found each other.

  4. ally says:

    How blessed CJ and his family are to have such amazing friends. I hope one day he gets to read this blog and see that he has friends from all over, watching him grow up, laughing and crying with his mom. We may never meet but we have a special place in our hearts for you just the same with the wonderful way you’ve shared your family with us, it feels like we know you 🙂

  5. Dagny T says:

    Wow. Just wow. I’m so glad CJ’s Mom has such a remarkable friend as KK.
    It’s just too bad that her outlook is still in the minority, even in this ‘enlightened’ day & age.

  6. mothlit says:

    I think of how much richer and more meaningful the lives of so many for their relationship with C.J. For K.K. and her children, and for so many others who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience this sweet, sweet rainbow of humanity. Thank you, K.K.

  7. Grandma Colorado says:

    K.K. , you and your family are wonderful friends to my kids and grandkids. This was a wonderful and insightful post. My kids are lucky to have your family in their lives. We love you.
    Grandma Colorado

  8. insaniteen says:

    That was a great post. Not many people can see that internal struggle and comprehend just how difficult it is for kids to have to hide who they are and feel like they don’t fit. Good job to all of you for being able to see it and understand what it means because that way, you can help C.J. on his path, wherever it may lead him.

  9. Sofia~ says:

    OMG, I am in tears. What a wonderful friend and comrade!!!! I think CJ is the luckiest kid on earth……..S~

  10. EmmaJewel says:

    If only the rest of the world were as open and honest with themselves as C.J. is.
    At 5 years old, C.J. knows who he is – I’m 36 and still figuring it out. Way to go C.J.’s mom and KK and all others who accept each other for who we really are!!!

  11. Mom-warriors! When a child has a strong foundation to stand on, he knows that the waters around will not sweep him away. He always has his family and friends who love him and accept him just the way he is. He, his brother, and your children are destined to do something great, because there is a tremendous love planted in their hearts that can change the world.

  12. doubleinvert says:

    Friends like KK and family are priceless beyond words. CJ and family are truly blessed.

    – Connie

  13. Ellen says:

    What a wonderful friend…as always tears in my eyes as I read this beautiful post. I truly hope that the public C.J. and the private C.J. can be one and that the world around him will just be..accept everyone as they are, no judgement. Just embrace the beauty of individuality! I am so happy that C.J., his brother and his wonderful parents have such great friends….

  14. Mark says:

    would we all dream of having friends like this. well done sister, well done.

  15. pepibebe says:

    Wonderful friend and so brilliant that your kids get it too, without you even needing to talk about it your daughter was sensitive to CJ’s feelings in a way many adults wouldn’t think to be. You both sound like great mothers!

  16. L says:

    WOW!!!! Awsome insight. And for the record, I do think you totally “get it.” Love to you.

  17. MirrorMan says:

    You don’t get it, do you? You still don’t see it it. It’s understandable, I suppose, being so close to the problem, being so correct and not understanding why everyone else doesn’t comprehend what you see so clearly, plain as day. Being the loving, caring, empathetic and HUMAN being that you are…you don’t see it it.

    YOU see the wonderful person in front of you….and it isn’t just C.J.

    Your eyes have been opened to the wonderful spectrum of life that surrounds you…And it is Glorious! And even blinding in it’s beauty!

    It’s a small step on the path to a better humanity, a better human, a better person, who values the diversity that is presented to us not just that they are the child of our best friend, but because whoever and whatever that child turns out to be, they are worthy of love, respect, honor, and defense.

    You have joined an ever-growing phalanx of people, walking a lonely, rocky road, who know that love and acceptance are better balms for the ills of this world that hate and bigotry.

    Because you don’t see how hate makes a world better. And the road gets smoother as the march progresses.

    Because of love, you want a better world for C.J., and by default, your children, and children yet to be, around this globe.

    You don’t see it because your focus is small, but understandable. Paying attention to what is immediately around you.

    Your reach, on the other hand, will extend to your children, the children of others they, and you, interact with, and all that they in turn will touch.

    We all affect the world in some way, some for good, some for ill….

    I’ll be very blunt….

    Relax! You’re doing it right!

    Much love to all! And spread the vibe!

  18. Tommy says:

    I am glad to know about the extended family and the loving support. The discomfort you describe, that existential self denial, is pandemic. Where is the gender-bending superhero to liberate them all? When will it be okay for C.J. to come to West Hollywood and watch the Christopher Street West pride parade? I am wishing that for him. People do bring kids his age and younger. C.J. could be in a public place and be himself. It’s fabulous. You can get seating in advance. Please, can he come, please? Pleeeeeeaaseeeeee????????

  19. batmouse says:

    I am Proud that CJ’s Mom has a friend like you.

  20. rachel says:

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. CJ is so lucky to have so many supportive and open minded people in his life. If only everyone could be this way.

  21. strawberryquicksand says:

    Damned, now if only the WHOLE WORLD could see things this way – there wouldn’t need to be any wars. Ever.

  22. This is so heartwarming and wonderful! I’m glad CJ has such wonderful famiy and friends to support him!

  23. tabbimarie13 says:

    ❤ what an amazing friend!

  24. Stephanie Smith says:

    I am so happy that you have such a great
    friend! It’s important to support this
    amazing boy, but Momma needs support
    too, and she’s got it! Yay! Love to all!

  25. Carleen says:

    That was really beautiful. Thank you.

  26. alisha says:

    How wonderful to have such a supportive and understanding friend and children who accept C.J. for who he is!

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