Portland Life is busy.
Charlotte started gymnastics. She’s been begging to do gymnastics since we lived in the valley because B (her best friend) did it but we had so much going on that I just couldn’t do it. Oh man, she loves it. Her little body is a gymnast body. I’d estimate she has approximately 2% body fat and if given the chance, could lift an SUV with her pinky finger. She continues to stick to the boys – that rough and tumble play, the avoidance of conflict, basically she’s chill and hilarious and awesome.
Ollie has turned into the sweetest (yeah, even sweeter than she was), most energetic little thing. She’s so funny and just LOVES. She just loves. Everything. Everyone.
Francesca. Oh……..Francesca. She is something else. She has three friends: Rosie, Taco and Flower. She constantly asks me if she can take hand-drawn notes to their houses. Of course I say no because, well, these people don’t exist and it’d be just like her to walk to a random house and ask for Taco. Then she screams. Then she hits me. And then I tell her she’s being sassy and she screams, “I don’t want to be sasssssssyyyyyy!” and then the other kids tell her they’re gonna call the police and she freaks out all over again. Then she poses for a picture. Pops that hip. She’s something else, like I said.
James is amazing. The thing we miss the very most about the valley — Miss Amanda and Ms. Zipse. Ah, they are so amazing and we’re reminded of that every day. Unfortunately, the special ed program here is lacking. Lacking a lot. James doesn’t feel like he has a relationship with his “case manager” as they call her. He doesn’t like her at all and yesterday he told me that she doesn’t respect him and that just breaks my heart. We had an IEP meeting and it became quite clear that they didn’t believe his diagnosis or that any of what I’d explained as struggles for him were real. They wanted certain things off the IEP and that wasn’t happening so now they know that I’m not a pushover which is fine, but holy hell I miss Amanda and Marilyn. But James is beautiful and he has made a couple friends and had a few sleepovers and he’s funny and witty and so, so smart.
Luke has had an amazing first part of the year. First, he was invited (personally) by Chris Mosier to be his special guest at the Nike/GLSEN Youth Summit at Nike Headquarters. There, several groups of LGBTQ+ athletes spoke to junior high and high school students about their worth, their value, and their participation in sports. They also spoke about their experiences both in sports and out of sports. We saw Lacey Baker and Brian Anderson and got pictures and autographs. It was so amazing and Luke was on cloud nine the entire time. I try so, SO hard to give Luke everything he needs to feel happy and ‘normal’ and included and being a cis female makes it impossible for me to give him everything he needs. He needs role models in the LGBTQ+ community, HIS community, and ours too. I have no words to express how thankful I am for Chris and others like him who have shown him love and acceptance and shown what he can be and how to stand up for himself. Watching Luke in a setting like that is really beautiful as his mom, really emotional.
Maria is almost a teenager and it shows. Not in a bad way. She is still the mature, kind, patient, and beautiful girl she has always been but she spends more time with friends. She has an iPod that allows iMessage so she talks to her friends a lot through that. She has an Instagram “for her art” but we all know it’s really her way of getting a social media account. She has friends over all the time and we don’t mind at all because they are lovely. She’s a member of the GSA (gay-straight alliance), Feminist group, We Got You (a group for black and brown students and allies), meditation group (I have no idea what that’s actually called) and has stood up for herself and her friends to adults who have mistreated students or peers for unjust reasons. She’s also silly and loves fashion and fake nails and makeup and has caught on to all the teen lingo and it’s hilarious to watch. She’s a good egg.
Danny loves his job. LOVES it. He works at a PNW company that sells outdoor gear, mostly ski and snowboard stuff. They host events and art shows and all the employees are fun and easy going and have been so great for Dan. He wears skate clothes to work every day and doesn’t get any shit for his hair or beard (except maybe from me). He won a trip to Montana and is there now doing some cat skiing (is that what it’s called?) and hanging out with Burton peeps. His energy is calmer. He comes home from work happy and he’s able to leave work behind and enjoy the kids and me and his friends. He is the Danny I started dating 17 years ago and it makes me so happy to see him back in his natural habitat. 🙂
I’m back in the stay-at-home-mom role. It feels strange because I feel like I should be doing something and getting results, tangible results that others see. That’s my own anxiety speaking, because I know that the little things I do here and there are seen and appreciated but when you’re at home doing laundry all day or trying to figure out how to email all 1st grade parents without every single email being shown on the “to” line or taking walks with little ones, it’s hard to see those results. I started running but then got sick and that was a really good excuse for me to stop (I’m good at excuses) and I haven’t started back up again but I know I should. I obsess over it. For someone who struggles with OCD, that’s not a good feeling to have, it feels all-consuming.
The friends I’ve made here are gold. I’m so thankful for Jenna and Chad, probably two of my closest friends here. They are fun and smart and real and are up to have fun or down to just watch tv and eat food. Those are the best kind, right? Leni and Luca and Jennifer and Nina and Evie and Molly — they’re amazing. And old friends who live here – Alex and Chris and Fran and Jordan and Simon and Chip and Carrie. I’m really lucky to have everyone. All the people. Oh, and Josh is here. He makes life pretty fun, too.
I shaved my head in October because I could. And now I’m just waiting for it to grow out. Typical Ruthie.
I’m attending Judaism classes and I love it. It resonates with me, all of it. I’ve been Catholic my whole life but it’s never been something that was really central to my being. I know that must sound awful to many people. I loved the traditions, yes. I loved the community, yes. But the teachings of the Catholic church are hard for me to accept and take as my own. I don’t agree with so many of them and it started to not feel right for me to continue practicing as a Catholic when I was really only doing it because it’s what I’d always done. I can’t be a part of a religion that doesn’t fully accept my son as he is: transgender. I don’t like that thought that something is wrong with Luke or he’s unnatural. That he doesn’t deserve the same rights as his Christian peers who are cisgender, straight. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around. I have found the Jewish community to be loving, accepting, diverse (I LOVE that they question their own faith, that they have so many different opinions on things, that they have room in their religion for questions). I have found that their view of the world and our part in it aligns with mine – it feels like home. We will see where these classes take me. It’s not a conversion class, so don’t freak out (if I know some of my readers, I know they will). It’s like a 101 class. <—(like how I just kinda threw in that ‘tiny’ update amongst all this?)
Also, Jewish baking is amazing.
And last but not least, I am SO PSYCHED that my parents are closer and closer to moving to Oregon!! We miss them more than anything and the kids especially. If my mom could just get fired, that’d be great. It’d give them an excuse to move over here faster 😉
So with all that, we’re great. We’re wonderful. We’re busy. We miss our valley friends but we’re making some amazing friends here.