Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 121: Reinforcements

Bloom (The Survivor): Okay Mom, I’ve gathered the rest of the family!

Libra (The Friend): I’ve been gathered! What’s up?

Mom (Me): In the last scene we talked about my trouble with criticism and how I didn’t think we could manage it alone.

Ivy (The Partner): I used to think my partner criticized me quite often. I feel like I should be the one leading the charge on growing past this, but… Recognizing when it happens is really difficult for me.

Lark (The Dreamer): Even I have a hard time dealing with identifying criticism, honestly. I think we all have a tendency to take uncritical comments as criticism.

Aura (The Professional): Goodness knows I do. Even when someone’s comments don’t feel like criticism, I tend to feel like criticism is just around the corner… And every shortfall is an opportunity to grow.

Mom: This is what I’m talking about. Ordinarily I’d approach a particular hangup of ours by figuring out which of us dealt with it first, or which of us feels it most strongly, and work with that family member to process our emotions. But this issue with identifying criticism is something *all* of us deal with, and it seems to be rooted *deep* in our past… Maybe even before Bloom.

Bloom (worried): My memory doesn’t go back that far… I’ve tried, remember? Trying to remember our childhood really hurts.

Libra: All of us had trouble with that… We all tried back in Scene 77, and it ended in tears for all of us.

Lark: All of us except Mom, anyways.

Mom: Only because I cried all my tears out before bringing it to your attention. It hurts me too.

Aura: So if we can’t work with our youngest self directly, what can we do?

Mom: I have an idea about that. There’s a fact about me that I’ve hinted at in the series, but hasn’t come up very often… I have a child of my own.

Ivy: I’m aware of that because I’ve watched the memories, but parenthood was after my time, and I’m the oldest… Apart from Mom, of course.

Mom: Right, because that’s the event that marks the end of your time and the start of your older sister’s: The birth of our child.

Bloom (excited): Wait… When you said you couldn’t process this criticism stuff alone, you didn’t mean us, did you?

Mom: No, I didn’t. I meant your older sister — the one whose life was completely upended by learning to care for a child every hour of the day. The one who found themselves completely overwhelmed by being “on” 24 hours a day, and had to adapt to one new situation after another as her child grew at an astounding rate. I mean the woman whose life started anew at the age of 34 when she became… The Parent.

The Parent: Whoa, where am I? What is all this?

Bloom (ecstatic): SISTER!

Ivy (tearful): Big sis…

The Parent: Hang on, are you calling *me* sister?

Mom (smiling): Welcome back. You’re me as I was in my late thirties, after I became a parent. We’re all me here — versions of me from different points in our life.

The Parent (overwhelmed): That’s… Nope, I’ll think about that later. Did they call me “sister”?

Mom: Of course… You’re the eldest, apart from me. You’re their big sister.

The Parent: But “sister” is usually used for women and girls…

Mom: Ah yeah, about that. You know how when you were a child, you’d go to sleep each night wishing you were born a girl?

The Parent (shocked): Sure, but what does that… Wait, are we *trans*?

Bloom (surprised): Wow, that was fast.

Mom (happy): You catch on quick! Yes, we’re trans… We transitioned at 40 years old.

The Parent (tearful): Oh my goodness I’m… I could never put the thought out of my head, you know? It just kept taking up more and more space until… Until you, I guess.

Mom: Yup. After years of anguish, I saw myself in a trans woman’s writing, and that was the last straw. Within days I knew I was a woman and I started my transition.

The Parent (crying): I just… Was it worth it? I was worried it would be so hard, or that transition would ruin our life…

(I approach The Parent and put my hands on her upper arms, rubbing them gently with my thumbs.)

Mom (grinning): It was more than worth it. It was better than we could ever imagine.

(The Parent breaks down completely as joyous but overwhelmed sobs rack her body. I pull her into a tight embrace as she cries, letting her tears soak the shoulder of my dress.)