Author Archives: ruthie1985

Thanksgiving Week and other things

It’s Thanksgiving week! I’m yelling that because I can’t believe it. October flew by like the murder of crows that fly by my house every morning (I’m serious, they freak me the eff out, and it’s like clockwork every single day). The kids are in the middle of “No School November” which is exactly what it sounds like: they have so many days off. The week before last they had a five day weekend and again this week. I feel like there’s another day coming up that’s off, but I could be making that up. So today is their Friday, they’re gonna come home and just TRASH MY HOUSE because that’s what kids do. Meanwhile, I’ll be doing things like reading, watching Netflix, and yelling, “Work it out on your own and please stop screaming,” from my couch. It’s gonna be nice. Reallllllll nice.

Dan has tomorrow and Thursday off and what do we plan on doing? A whole lot of nothing. Plus this class from Notary Ceramics where I’ll be making a floral arrangement in a really beautiful floral bowl. Check out the site, she’s quite the artist.

This is a year for firsts for us, obviously. And this week we’ll be experiencing our first holiday alone, without extended family. In addition to that, we’re not even cooking Thanksgiving dinner, we’re going out. (1) the kids will not appreciate the time and money that would go in to making the best Thanksgiving dinner, (2) I don’t really like cooking, (3) cleaning up suuuuuucks and (4) why not? And we’ll probably eat early then hit up the movie theater to see Coco and stuff our faces with more food like popcorn and candy. I can’t wait.

I’m so thankful, and since I probably won’t get back on here before Thursday, here’s my list of things I’m most thankful for:

  • The kittens
  • Danny
  • my family
  • Bravo
  • white chocolate mochas
  • memes
  • books
  • online coupon codes
  • friends
  • dan’s job
  • my weighted blanket
  • frida the dog
  • US weekly
  • live concerts and shows and brothers who sometimes buy tickets without thinking and always have extras
  • coconut chips
  • texting
  • Netflix
  • Larry David
  • buttermilk bars
  • Disneyland
  • skateboarding and skateboarders
  • people who make me laugh
  • anxiety and ocd medication

I mean, there’s lots more. I could specify my favorite sweatshirt or Netflix series’ or stores in Portland, but no one really even wants to read the existing list let alone one that’s three times as long.

What I’m saying here is that I’m thankful for lots. And I’m thankful for you, the people who support me and the people who make me think differently about issues I haven’t previously thought much about.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies.

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Update from PDX

We’re here. It’s been quiet on the blog – I’ve had so much I’ve wanted to talk about but it all just seemed too heavy. It’s hard to find light words for something you feel really deeply about; this is true for me at least. When I go that route, when I scream all the things that have been worrying, stressing, and have been hard on me, afterwards I have extreme anxiety that I have offended someone or that someone might think I’m talking directly to them, so I don’t do it at all. I’ve worked really hard to get over that, to remember to tell my story, all my stories, because they’re mine.

ann lamott

 

Now, I don’t blast people personally, but sometimes it’s easy to figure out where I’m going with a post, what experience I’ve had and with whom. This might be a little more straightforward.

Okay, so the kids are in school and it’s going well. Maria has a really great group of friends, Charlotte is having some difficulty with separation anxiety but she’ll be okay, James comes home happy each day and Luke loves it.

To those of you at Asotin who were faculty members and also supported Luke during his transition and us as a family and allowed (or wanted to allow) us to create a safe and happy environment for him at school through education: THANK YOU. You know exactly who you are.

The principal was always supportive of us. He went above and beyond to make sure Luke was happy and safe. Same with the school psychologist, Luke’s teacher, and several other teachers who were vocal with their support. There were some REALLY lovely families who treated us no differently and I just love them all for all of that.

The superintendent? He called in attorneys before allowing any classes to be talked to about my child’s transition. And after that, he didn’t even allow me to share this HUGE, gigantic, life-changing transition that Luke was going through with his peers and classmates in a way that was easy to understand and promoted kindness and acceptance rather than judgement. One of the 2nd grade teachers made it her mission (it seemed like, although I can’t say that’s fact, ha) to make sure her students heard NONE of it.  I remember quite well her saying, “You know what’s going to happen? Our class Facebook page is going to blow up with angry parents and I’m going to have to deal with it.”

Uhhh…guess what? You’re the teacher. You do, in fact, have to deal with hard things that come up with other students with your parents. It’s kind of part of the job. Mind all of you, the kids went to a public school in Asotin. It wasn’t a private school in which Luke’s transition went against its core beliefs. The reason I was unable to come and read a children’s book (“I Am Jazz”) to them was because it would “be like teaching curriculum and they don’t have parents come in to do that.” Teachers and parents spoke about us behind our backs, I got tattled on for writing a blog post (hilarious — because it meant someone went out of their way to try and stir the pot). People who were so nice to me and friendly before pretended like they didn’t know me when I saw them in public.

How different our experience was here in Portland. For one, Luke’s teacher asked me if I could come in and talk about our experience and what transgender means and answer any questions. I offered and even asked if I could do that at the old school. I think the principal (a really incredible man) would have been fine with it, but the superintendent (with some pressure from some teachers I’m thinking) said no. Instead, Luke told his class on his own. This shy boy told his class and then they went home without a clear understanding and without questions answered, possibly to parents who disagree and decide Luke’s not a good friend anymore. Yeah, that happened. We were dumped a few times. (so thankful for our lifelong, beautiful friends)

Luke’s teacher, when I asked if any parents would be upset, she said, “I don’t care. Maybe? But we’re teaching them something. We’re learning about differences and what makes us unique.” I asked if I could say the word “transgender” and she laughed and said absolutely. I don’t have to tell you what happened last year when the word transgender came up.

Children asked questions that were sensitive and inquisitive and kind, but real. “Will Luke have boy parts when he’s older?” “Did he always know he was a boy?” “Were you guys surprised?” and my favorite: “Is he happy?”

Yes. Luke is really, really happy.

And guess what, an 8 year old asked, “Will Luke marry a boy or a girl when he’s older?” and NO ONE LAUGHED. Because it’s a natural questions, something that even adults wonder I am sure. I answered, “Well, I’m not sure! I guess we will have to wait and see.” After I said that, NO ONE LAUGHED or gasped or giggled. Because children are good. Children are kind and accepting and inquisitive unless taught otherwise. Thank GOD for parents who practice what they preach, who value love and kindness over status and who teach their children to mind their manners and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

And what makes me sad is that my tiny hometown community will continue to live in a bubble if there are no advocates for change. Children will go out into the world and find it to be this strange and scary place with people who don’t look just like them if their only lessons in diversity come from school. Teachers who don’t learn about their own students, their own community, their own future leaders and choose not to attend information sessions given to them will continue to teach only what they think and know: that different is scary, different isn’t good, different requires a parent consent form before learning about it. But what’s hard to grasp is the fact that it takes more than just a few dedicated teachers, a few parents who are willing to do the work. It takes more than a hefty handful of hard working advocates of change. As cliché as it sounds, it really does take a village. And I think we all just hope our village is kind and diverse and accepting and willing to put in the work.

 


 

In other news, people are constantly asking how it’s going for Danny and work and commuting to Pendleton. It’s not. That wasn’t a good schedule for our family – for him to be gone 5 days/nights a week. The kids asked if he lived somewhere else. They cried because they missed him. I hated it, of course. Everyday I think of how lucky I am that I have Danny. It was a difficult yet simple decision to quit his job at Pepsi and find something in Portland. I’m doing some freelance writing stuff for random online sources and we’re pretty sure of where Dan will be working but it isn’t final yet. Basically, we’re doing great. I know that it’s a decision that many people in our position wouldn’t make, but it works for us and it’s really no one else’s concern. Our kids are happy and we are happy and we’re all healthy and that’s what matters. It really is, don’t let anyone else tell you any differently.


 

I made friends, you guys. I made several. Most came from Josh but whatevs. We go to trivia and we have porch drinks and meet at bomb places like Cat’s Paw and parks and we love it. Portland feels like home and I’m so happy. My anxiety isn’t as intense and that’s something I’ve waited years to say.


 

And just because I can’t pretend it’s not happening: Trump. WHERE THE HELL ARE WE LIVING?! In what wonderful, dreamy place is it okay to blame people going through a tragedy for putting our budget out of whack? How does a country full of dreams and opportunity decide guns and the KKK are okay? How can anyone be okay with the hatred and bigotry and stupidity spewing from our awful president’s pie hole? But I’m like everyone: what exactly can we do? It’s like we’re stuck and it seems impossible that if, by this point he’s still ‘in charge,’ he’ll ever be out. I’m really lucky to have people who inspire me and speak out, and lots of them. Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, James Cordon: late nights are using their platform to speak out. Thank god. Instagram accounts like @_stillwerise and @slaythepatriarchy and @agirlhasnopresident and TONS of other personal accounts who aren’t afraid to go against what’s socially acceptable and socially polite and speak out against hate. I want to be braver, to be more like them.

 

So, I mean, happy Thursday guys! LOL. I’ll leave you with some pictures.

Comfortable Spaces

I know about comfortable and uncomfortable spaces. I know how to make shirts comfortable (sometimes they need to be turned inside out because the tag is itchy). I know how to curate a comfortable space (fuzzy blankets, things to chew on, couch rather than a chair, make sure it’s not too loud or too crowded). I know how to make lots of things comfortable: restaurants, school, playdates, you name it. I know because I have an autistic child and things for him need to be comfortable or all of our lives’ are very uncomfortable.

I also know how to make my tween’s life comfortable (make sure there’s Hamilton music available and art supplies), my 6 year old (don’t ever forget Deedee), my 4 year old (smile a lot) and my 2 year old life’s comfortable (don’t get in her way). One thing I have a really hard time making comfortable, though, is my transgender child’s life: his every day going out, his thoughts about himself, his thoughts about what others might think about him, all of it. I know a lot about being transgender. I’ve read almost every book on the subject. But, as I learned at Gender Odyssey, I know absolutely, literally, nothing of being transgender. And sometimes that makes me feel helpless. Being transgender is a huge part of my child’s life. I want to give him what he needs.

Last weekend we went to a conference put on by Gender Diversity and I think maybe we found a comfortable space. A space where there was no need for Luke to explain himself or defend himself or a space where I need to be careful who I talk about and how (my transgender son makes some people uncomfortable). We found a place full of so many different people who accept diversity and celebrate it. People who don’t care if you believe in god or if you don’t. People who only care that you are an accepting person who doesn’t judge based on appearances or lifestyles.

I’ve had an incredibly hard time with the way the Catholic Church looks at the fact of being transgender. Or, as the Church might put it, the choice of being transgender*. I’ve had people tell me it’s basically child abuse to allow my eight year old to be his true self. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is bullshit. But I get a lot of that. I’m now used to it so I just dance around this huge part of our life so I don’t make people uncomfortable or so I don’t get my feelings hurt.

I wish I had the words then to explain. To question.

I’d ask, “Does your 8 year old know he’s a boy? Does she know she’s a girl? Did you at all question it?”

When someone says, “He’s way too young to know or make that choice!” I wish I had the words to say, “I’m so sorry you’re so uncomfortable with my child knowing his gender. That must suck. But it’s okay if you go feel uncomfortable somewhere else because I know that behind that statement is really this question: “How is it possible? It’s hard to understand.” And to that, I might be able to see your point.

More than anything, I just wish so much that people would take the time to look at the scientific parts of this; the parts that have evidence and proof, the parts that explain that 8 year olds don’t suddenly choose to be a boy instead of a girl because they want attention or because it’s cool or x, y, or z. My heart cries because the people I love so much, my friends, they’ve decided that now we’re crazy and now we just want attention or we are misguided or lost.

I want to let everyone know that we aren’t. That after this weekend, I see that there are so many families who feel the same way we do. I know we have a community, a comfortable space. I know that we are in the right place. I know that behind harsh words and judgement is just a lack of understanding, fear, and lack of knowledge and experience.

Do you want to learn a little bit or expose your children or students to different families and people and lifestyles? Check out these books:

  • Worm Loves Worm (Oh, this is the sweetest book about two worms who get married)
  • Tango Makes Three (Once, a family member took one look at this book and declared it would never be seen in her home. And I knew it was a good one.)
  • George
  • I am Jazz
  • No One Can Ever Steal Your Rainbow
  • Red

 

 

* There are many, many, members of the Catholic Church who are incredibly accepting and loving and don’t question our parenting or our choices. I know lots of them. I just speak about the Catholic Church as a whole.

 

 

 

Settling in and some feelings.

We’ve been here a month (almost) and it feels like home. I knew it wouldn’t take long.

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Our house is tiny. I’m talking 1/2 the size of the one we had before, not exaggerating. 3 bedrooms and a big semi-finished basement. One tiny tv/family room. 2 bathrooms (there’s no such thing as a “master suite” in this house). Our house is perfect. Scratch that, if we had A/C it’d be perfect. We got rid of most of our things and it felt incredible. The kids have most of their books and their most favorite toys. We have bikes and outside toys. They share spaces and share things and sometimes it’s really loud. But mostly? Mostly we are content and we are so happy and we are together. And I joke a lot about being with my kids too much and yadda yadda but the truth is that I really love being with them and being awfully close to one another doesn’t bother me at all.

I don’t miss the LC Valley. Ouch, yeah? It’s true. I do miss my people there though. I miss Lala and Papa of course. I miss seeing Tara and Christian and the girls every day. I miss Hogan’s and the people there. I miss recording Lewis and Snark with Jackie and then our chats before and after (and our random get togethers at Reuben Cafe). I miss Inland 360 meetings and I miss Blues and Brews. We miss Dawn and all the Hansens horribly. I miss knowing that Whitney will get me in for a haircut or for any of my 6 monsters and then act like it’s no big deal (I know it is, you faker). I really miss prank calling Alicia at work and I miss so many people.

I have never experienced the cliquey drama, reminiscent of high school, like I have in my home town. Amongst adults. Adult women. Living there, I constantly felt misunderstood, judged, and a novelty; someone who is fun to have around when you need me but when I’m not providing you with exactly what you want, I’m out. There will be people who call bullshit on this, but it’s been my experience, something I’ve felt pretty strongly and that’s not something you can really call bullshit on; someone else’s feelings. While my anxiety definitely exacerbated the feelings, they were still there. It basically only happened with women my age, and it’s not like I have a list of people in mind and I’m checking their names off in my head —  I saw it happen to other people, too, in different groups, different circles, so I don’t think I’m that far off. I have lots of friends who are older than me, 10+ years who I felt so much more at peace around. And I do have a few really authentic, solid, wonderful friends my own age who not only understand (or try to understand) hard things I’m going through, but empathize with me and my family and offer continued support (and it’s reciprocated) regardless of whether or not I’m able to give them all my time, attention, or effort and for them I’m so forever grateful and I know we’ll be friends for a long, long time. SnapChat and Instagram are certainly good for that. Granted, I had lived my whole life (except for a short stint in Seattle for school) there, so I have little to compare it to other than experiences of people I know or have read who live somewhere else.

I feel like my kids are safer. There are more people who are willing to accept Luke for exactly who he is, not because they think they should because of who he is for fear of being labeled judgmental or those who just are judgmental and choose not to accept it at all, decline playdate invites, question parenting, question faith.

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There are places here that are just for him. Playdates and get togethers and an actual, physical space for people in the LGBTQ+ community to be because the support and resources are necessary. And more people here know and understand that. I think my other kids benefit from all this, too. We make a point of going out of our comfort zone to experience different things with different people and sometimes it’s really hard and it takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.

So that was going to be my transition into what I feel in Portland but it turned out to be longer and complainier (I made that word up) than I intended. While I’m sure there are cliques here (there are everywhere) and mom shaming and people I will never understand and who will never understand me, I can tell you with 100% truth that we’ve only been met here with kindness. Anyone can be nice. You can say you’re a nice person and that doesn’t mean much. Some of the worst people are nice at times. But being kind is different in my eyes. It means going out of your way to make other people feel happy and peaceful and at home. It means being generous any way that you can. It means introducing yourself with a smile and happy sentiments so new people feel like they already have friends in a giant, new city.

We love our change.

Also, I over analyze. Remember that. My brain needs to slow down. Chill out. Ruthie, you’re not a poet and you know it. Wait, did you read that? Maybe I am.

Where we live now, people do things, wear things, express themselves a certain way, etc., because they want to or they truly believe it. It doesn’t matter that what they’re saying or doing or wearing might be a-typical, out of the norm, not up to societal standards. It’s hard to live in a small community where this type of thing doesn’t happen. Where your home, yard, appearance seem to be a pretty big deal.

I don’t want to be a novelty. I don’t want Luke to be the token trans kid. I don’t want Jamie to grow up with few options. I don’t want Maria’s faith questioned because of her love for her family. Charlotte and Olive and Francesca have a chance to grow up and start school with kids from different backgrounds and cultures and languages. I don’t want Dan to work a job he’s not passionate about just for money.

We only get one shot at life and raising our kids, just one shot, and it took us too long to really believe that. The people I love know I love them and I know they love me. Those who are mean and rude and disrespectful for no reason just don’t hold space in our lives, and that’s new for us too. Life is hard, man. For everyone.

We have visited park after park, splashed in numerous splash pads, road tripped to the beach, hiked in the mountains, gone to the zoo (over and over again), played with new friends, visited with old ones, planted trees (someday we’ll be making so many fruit pies and having amazing olives and figs), eaten mochi, ridden our bikes, visited food carts, gone on walks…..

…it’s really great here. The kids love it. They’re content and happy. Of course, I’m playing up every aspect of our new community and how great it is, telling them about all the awesome stuff they’re going to get to do here so that might be helping. But I truly think they’ll be happier, more successful people because of our move. There’s the Q Center where we can walk to for resources and events for Luke. There are tons of activities here that Jamie will love and Maria can take drama classes, Charlotte and Ollie and France can play and play with the neighbor kids (although they’ll never replace B and Stella and Cleo, duh).

And Dan. Ah, Dan’s in his element. He’s close to great friends and doesn’t feel like he has to have a work personality and a free-time personality. He’s so much more himself and I’ve missed that. He’s more laid back here, he’s excited to explore and do more things. He can skate a different park or spot each week and he might even go snowboarding this weekend. Portland is good for Dan.

It’s good for us. We find ourselves looking at each other and saying, “Dude (yeah, we call each other dude) we actually live here. We’re actually doing what we’ve always wanted to do!” often and it feels really, really good.

And you guys back home, the ones I miss…you know who you are and I love you. I miss you and I was going to delete Snapchat in a very dramatic “someone was mean to me so now I’m gonna get rid of this” way and then remembered I’m an adult (only just a little too late because I’d already posted on IG about it. Even that was such a dramatic move. Ruthie, STOP! Dammit I hate it when that happens and I just write and post everything I’m feeling. No, just no.) and decided I can act like an adult. I’m not sure that being on Snapchat really means being an adult (ha…haha..hahahah) but I do love seeing snippets of my friends’ lives. And staying in touch and genuinely caring is an adult thing to do.

Oh and I really missed Chrissy Tiegen’s snaps. The girl can cook. And she’s freaking hilarious. And beautiful.

 

Know what else I’ve discovered? Having lots of Instagram accounts is really fun. And you can follow if you want, or not follow if you have no interest in them, I really don’t care at all. But here:

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@theiggynamedfrida — Oh, man, my Italian Greyhound, Frida Kahlo, is pretty badass.

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@hygge.in.pdx — lots of hashtags, so you might really be annoyed and hate it and that’s totally fine. But it shows our new adventures, places we visit, things we eat, etc.

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@dearlucian —- this is for Luke. I write him little notes about things happening in his life and later, I’ll put them in a little blurb book for him. This one is really personal, and is really just a place I can put my thoughts for him plus pictures together, but if you’re interested, you’re more than welcome.

@ruthiepizzle — just pizzle stuff. Lots of kids stuff, some selfies (is it really an IG account without some selfies?), some videos, just us.

 

All this? It’s because I really, really love to write and put pictures together with thoughts and not writing for Inland anymore has left a little hole in my creativity so I’m filling it with mindless Instagrams. Because I can. And Instagram is so much better than Facebook, so many fewer debates in comment threads and mean posts. Don’t you worry, I don’t think I’m doing the world a huge favor by adding more ridiculous IG accounts. If you know me, you’ll know what emoji I’d place here. But actually, world, a little more Frida and hygge never hurt anyone. So I guess you’re welcome. bahahhahaha.

 

**And can we remember that if you’re reading this and think I’m labeling everyone in the Valley except for my close friends as awful, stop. I’m not. I know there are SO MANY great, wonderful, generous, amazing people there. But sometimes a girl just has to complain and get shit off her chest, am I right?

 

 

LWS –> PDX

If you follow me on social media (Instagram, mostly, as I rarely post on Facebook) you have probably heard that our family is moving. It’s all true, I don’t lie, we are leaving the LC Valley for something a little bigger, more accepting, more willing to understand and embrace.

 

First, if you are an LC Valley resident and this offends you, I’m sorry. This isn’t personal and isn’t meant to hurt anyone. It’s just kind of a fact. Look at the demographic here. White, republican, Christian seems to be the majority. That’s not wrong, but what tends to happen is that this particular demographic, as a whole, tends to have a hard time accepting and embracing those who don’t fit the mold. There are exceptions to this for sure (NOT EVERY WHITE, CHRISTIAN REPUBLICAN IS THIS WAY…did you hear me? So you can’t say I said “they’re all like that”), but it’s hard to argue that I’m wrong. I’ve had to talk to my kids more times than I should that the people yelling on the corner of the blue bridge are racist. That the bumper sticker in front of us is offensive. That the tee shirt being worn at the grocery store is not appropriate.

 

In Portland, I wore my “No Human Being is Illegal” tee shirt and in 48 hours do you know how many people mentioned it? Seven. Seven people said they liked my shirt and one man in his early 30s told me it was “just beautiful.” Not one person out and about has commented on it positively here.

 

Anyway, my heart swelled with love after Luke came out publicly as being transgender. I had people ‘like’ my post, more than any other post. I had people text and call telling me how brave we were, how amazing we were, how wonderful Luke was. But as time went on, that support remained, but the judgement also came creeping in, slowly. First, a teacher at the school, of the other 2nd grade class, refused to hand out invitations to his party unless they were in white envelopes and even at that, posted something on her class’ Facebook page “warning” parents about what they were going to see. She freaked out when I wanted to talk to the kids and explain that Luke is still the same friend even though he is changing his name. I assured her that I’d never go into details about what Transgender means and nothing would be talked about as far as sexuality (dude, these are 2nd graders for God’s sake). But still, no. A children’s book, “I Am Jazz” wasn’t allowed to be read because it said “transgender.” The concern was the teacher’s Facebook page being blown up by parents who were unhappy, not that the children would learn something.

 

Little girls in the other class, ones who I thought were so wonderful and sweet, ones who were friends with Luke last year (good friends!), started reminding Luke weekly (if not daily) that he’ll never be a boy, he’ll always be a girl and that they will call him Alice.

 

Some parents told me that it was okay for them to be school friends, but they couldn’t get together outside of school. I pushed, because that’s what Ruthie does when she’s hurt and offended, and asked if it had anything to do with him being transgender. She won’t text me back.

 

Comments from friends told to other friends behind my back, questioning why we would “let” our child do this. Not having another family here with a young transgender child to connect with. The lack of resources here for both Luke and myself – no support group, no counselors well trained in this area, nothing.

 

If we stayed here, Luke would grow up being the token trans kid in the valley. He’d be the one everyone knew (I grew up here, my parents grew up here, we know many people in the valley) and the one thing they’d say about him before all else is: he’s transgender. He’d likely have a hard (if not impossible time) dating when he is old enough. School dances would be rough. Traveling for medical appointments would suck. Living in a very small community would Just. Plain. Suck. This is just the way it is with small towns — there aren’t enough resources to pull from, not enough experiences to relate to if you’re a bit different.

 

We’ve been so incredibly lucky to be able to support our large family. We don’t take that for granted and it’s something we are very grateful for. But here’s something money can’t buy: it can’t buy the feeling of acceptance or security. Money can’t keep your child from crying after school or when he hears he’s been denied yet another play date with one of his best friends. Money doesn’t make it so that Maria has to defend her younger sibling all the time to people (children!) who feel comfortable telling her how weird our situation is, using God to try and make her feel less-than. Maria needs to worry about herself, be a kid for the small amount of kid-time she has left. She loves her siblings and she would do and say anything to make them feel safe and happy, but that’s something she shouldn’t have to always be doing. Money doesn’t buy my friends back who have quietly and slowly pulled away.

 

Change doesn’t magically happen.

 

I’m tired. I’m tired of creating this bubble for my kids where I tell them they can be anything they want, they are loved regardless of what they look like, how they feel, how they act and who they are. And once they leave that bubble, they’re disappointed. They’re shocked. I teach my children about diversity not through living it in our everyday community. Not by having it be just part of life. No, here I have to seek out books and movies and we have to travel to other places. I have to have conversations with them about what it means to be gay and how everyone should be able to love anyone they choose. I have worked my ass off to ensure that when we see someone anywhere who looks different, whether it’s because of the color of their skin, what they are wearing, how they dress, or a visible disability, my kids don’t flinch. They can ask questions, and I’m okay with that, but they aren’t surprised or appalled or taken aback because that’s just not how it is in our small community. I’m tired of people telling me they support us but where are they, really, when someone needs to be called out for making an awful joke or when they’re aware of bullies but do nothing to stop them?

 

Let me say that I know it’s hard. And it’s okay for this community to be here, to function as it is, to continue to be exactly what is is. But it’s also okay for me to know that for our family, for my children, myself, it’s not okay for us to stay here.

 

It’s our jobs as parents to protect our children. To love them and make sure they are happy and healthy and if that’s not happening, it’s our job to make a change. Even if that change comes with stress and uncertainty and leaving our very best people and sometimes tears. It’s our job, our responsibility to do what’s right for us.

 

For us, we want every single one of our children to not only survive, but to thrive. Would we be ‘just fine’ staying here? Yeah, for sure. But I don’t wanna be ‘just fine,’ especially when there are other options. I want Ollie to be loved for being exactly who she is and I want Luke to be loved for being exactly who he is. I want to be somewhere, someplace bigger with more people who are different, so that James has a network of people who share his interests, who love him for being exactly who he is. I want Charlotte’s buzzed hair to not cause people’s jaws to drop and I want Maria to experience lots and lots. Francesca, she’s one who will do whatever the hell she wants, anytime she wants, so I’m not worried about her. I want to see signs in yards all over the place that say:

 

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So we are making a change. Because we can, because it’s our choice, because it’s what we feel and know is the best for our entire family. And you might have the same politics and feelings as I do but stay in the Valley and that’s okay. I don’t think you’re wrong for doing it, I don’t think you’re in denial, I don’t think you just don’t care. I think we all do our very best and we all do what is best for our family – and sometimes change isn’t best for every family. You might have completely opposite politics as I do and take all of this as an insult, but please don’t. This is a very personal choice for us.

 

And if you live in the valley and think I’m wrong and are are hurt by how I feel, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel bad, make you feel like I dislike you (we can have different beliefs and I can still really, really love you. I promise.) or make you feel like I’m bashing your beliefs and lifestyles. I’m not. I only know what we’ve experienced and from that, what we need. We love LOTS and lots of people in this community. LOTS. And we will continue to love them and respect them and I hope we will stay in touch and I hope that when we come back to visit, we’ll see all our friends.

 

And what has happened at school? I know that will happen anywhere. But I also know that where we are headed will have more people who can help, who can support and who will understand what we’re going through. I know there will always be people who don’t like how we choose to raise our children and I don’t think we’re just running away from it all and it will be magic. But I know it will be easier.

 

And let me be very clear: my friends are amazing. It’s not as if we have no one here who supports us and sticks up for us and who would do anything for our family. We do, we have many, some that have different beliefs than us and some who have the same. And the kids’ school has gone ABOVE AND BEYOND in making it a safe place for Luke and a place where Jamie can thrive. Mr. Nicholas is incredible and I’m sure received some backlash from teachers and parents for his continued support of Luke, but he kept it up, he never let us down and he helped more than he’ll ever know in making Luke feel comfortable transitioning. The exact same goes for his teacher, Mrs. Cook and the school psychologist, Mrs. Crockett. And 90% of the staff out there. Thank you, thank you – I’ll never be able to say that enough.

 

So there it is. We’re outta here. Some of you will cheer, I’m sure, but for those of you who like us, come visit. Follow us on Instagram (@ruthiepizzle) and Snapchat (@ruthieprasil). Send us good vibes and we’ll do the same for you. ❤

IIX (does that mean 8?)

When our 3rd was born, that baby was as beautiful as the two that came before.

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I think Jamie holds the record for most hair but this one came awfully close to beating him.

Sometimes I think about the first several years, when we called that baby Alice and how I insisted on dresses and not cutting that long and beautiful hair and finding hair bows that matched and insisting on posed pictures and dress up. And when I think of that, I remember how sweet that Alice was. How quiet and shy, but how nice and sweet and happy she was. How she just did what we asked, didn’t fuss too much (certainly not enough for me to consider it a battle not worth fighting), and went along with life.

And then I remember the quiet times, around four or five years old, when that Alice told us she really wanted to be a boy. And when that child, at six years old, put their foot down on dresses and skirts and talked me into a shorter haircut.

And most recently at seven, the courage it took to to tell us “I don’t want to be a boy, I am one,” and everything that has happened since. Now that child is Lucian Maureen and that sweet voice is still there. I never thought I’d be celebrating my third child’s 8th birthday with “he” and “him” and “his” but my heart is bursting with how happy I am that we are.

Lucian is 8 and what an incredible 8-year-old he is.

  • happy
  • funny
  • shy
  • silly
  • brave

Lucian wants to grow up and get married and have babies some day and it’s obvious that he’ll be the best daddy because he’s so great with Franci and when he spots a baby, he just melts. He skates up a storm and he’s not so bad on the snow, either. He has lots of friends and is the best friend in the world. Sometimes he gets upset pretty easily and has a hard time, but he always is able to calm down and talk about it, and that’s not easy. He loves cake and he loves lavender soda and his favorite thing is one-on-one time with mom and dad.

Without Lucian, I’m not sure who we would be. But I’m guessing our family wouldn’t be quite as great.

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Happy 8th birthday to our beautiful boy!

VI

Today I have a six year old. Charlotte Clayton is six.

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Charlotte is each and every one of the following at any given time of day:

  • fierce
  • quiet
  • patient
  • kind
  • sassy
  • loud
  • snuggly
  • chill
  • creative
  • cheerful
  • wiggly

Charlotte is so many things at so many different times of the day or week and sometimes lots of things at once. She is smart and she is SO. FREAKING. HILARIOUS. If you look too deep in her eyes, she’ll keep you there, so be careful. She’s striking, the epitome of fashion and her androgynous style and the way she pulls it off is pretty rad.

She’s our number four, our loudest girl, the most daring and the most confident. She is a really good friend and she’s such a sweet soul – she’s empathetic towards others’ situations and sometimes she catches me by surprise with the way she understands some really hard things.

She’s named after one of our favorite people and his spirit shows through her all the time. She’s fun and she’s full of stories and she wants to be friends with everyone.

Without Charlotte, our lives would be quieter and more boring. We’d laugh a little less and we’d probably use 1/2 as many Bandaids.

Happiest, happiest of days to our sweet, fun, and sassy Charlotte Clayton.