Ah, Christmas season is finally over. The chaos has calmed a bit. I still have things coming up (it never ends), but I can think again. Speaking of thinking, I got to thinking about a few things this holiday season. One of those things being traditions.
My oldest daughter chose a name when she came out. She socially transitioned- letting her friends and our family know. Then we enrolled her in school with her chosen name as her preference. Our family has slowly but surely accepted her as the new name and all is well. Though, now she wants to change that name to a different one. My immediate reaction was, “Ah, man- I just got everyone using this name. How am I going to get them to accept this?” Then my immediate next thought was, “Wow, that was a selfish reaction. She is finding herself and sometimes finding yourself means changing your life.”
Why would it be such a big deal if we “change” her first name again? Everyone might be confused at first, but they were last time too. I feel like experimenting with a name is normal in this situation (and confirmed on sites such as this) but I still find myself scared to tell the family and friends that may have been on the fence with acceptance, that we finally got comfortable with it. I can hear them questioning already, “If she isn’t sure about something like a name change, how can she even be sure about a whole gender change?” or something like that. Though, going by a name and identifying as a gender are significantly different. I don’t know. Is this even a “tradition?” Either way – I think I need to be a supportive mother and accept my baby by her new name, and stand behind her when she decides to tell family and friends.
Maybe when I get married this year and I’m changing my last name anyway, I could change my middle name. Lead by example and show changing our names isn’t that big of a deal. People change and shift over time. Sometimes a name change can be a door closing on that last chapter of our lives, and a door opening into the new chapter. Why not? Now that I think about it, one of my male cousins is already paving the way a little. When he recently married, he hyphenated his last name to his+hers, while she solely kept her last name. That’s not traditional, that’s for sure (and I support them fully!). Whatever makes you happy and comfortable, friends.
Another thing popped up over the holiday season- discussion of some baby showers being planned this year. I have both a sister and a cousin welcoming in new additions to the family this year. Neither of them are traditional people. Both are opting for a co-ed baby shower. Child-rearing isn’t just a mother’s role anymore. I think some older ladies are feeling this is a little awkward, strange, or we just don’t do things the same as we used to – but isn’t that a good thing? When we find struggles in life in general, we should evolve and adjust to a better way. Gender roles are outdated. Fathers should change diapers, care about the items received for a baby shower, help with decisions being made about the child, and help to raise them. Parenthood is a partnership.
I still support traditions. Traditions make us feel cozy and comfortable, with something remaining the same over the years – but they can evolve. Have a tradition in your life that makes you think of how things used to be in a fond, nostalgic way but it just doesn’t serve you? Evolve it. Have the baby shower, but invite people no matter their gender. Stop making peanut bars like you did with grandma, and continue the baking tradition – but make what you like! Remember that time with grandma while you bake the new thing. We don’t have to stay the same forever. Change is good. I’m going to be re-evaluating all of the “traditions” in my life and adjusting them to serve me and my family better. There’s no reason to live in the past.