My brother did become my sister this fall. But a lot has happened to get to this point. Of course, more developments every day. Two years ago Sis started taking female hormones and let his hair grow. My brother was always very handsome, I thought. His hair was kept a short length and had some curl to it. He always had a ready smile and an easy laugh. When his hair started growing, the family started to wonder what was going on – it was not a good look for him. We wondered why his wife, Faith, didn’t suggest that he get his haircut. But they doted on each other. Though they also kept very much to themselves. My husband and I had never been to their house until after we knew “their secret”. My mother said her sisters would ask why was his hair so long but she would just say “He was weird”. My mother has always said what she truly thought. Long hair was just the beginning!
I was the first one to leave home two months before my 19th birthday! I am very lucky to have found a love at that age that has lasted so far for 34 years next month! We are still going strong…even stronger! (I am getting wiser!) My four siblings would still be at home with my mother which was a good thing! At 54 years of age, my father was a victim of a hit and run driver. So it really was good my brothers and sisters were there for my mother! My youngest sister would later leave as young as I did to get married but my brothers stayed home until they were in their 40′s before getting married. In fact, I wasn’t sure they would! My other sister got married later as well and my mother lives with her! Over 10 years ago, my sister called a family meeting to tell us that Sis’s preoccupation with “dressing up” and going out was really getting to be a regular routine and she was concerned! We weren’t really sure how to react! A short time later, Sis came to our son’s high school graduation party and brought a date – Faith. Faith was lovely, we were happy and thought my sister was overreacting – - again! They would marry and we thought be happy ever after!
I only remember one time that my mother was hollering at my brother to stay out of her drawers as he would try on her lingerie. I really didn’t think too much about it – maybe it was a phase. My brother remembers that I read his diary and took him out for ice cream to talk about what I read. You don’t really have to be old to forget things that happened when you were young. It also is a reminder you that you never know what people will remember from their daily encounters with you! I looked out for my brothers since they were the closest to me in age. Walking them to and from school was my responsibility and I took that seriously – like everything else. We had a lot of ups and downs growing up – mostly financial upsetments as my father never kept a real steady job. He was always the dreamer – he understood that life really had a deeper meaning and he wanted to find it! My mother was more practical – she needed to be sure that we were taken care of and having one child makes me think about what it took to provide for 5! Mostly our growing years revolved around family as my mother was the middle child of 11 so we always had lots of cousins and parties to attend! A good time was had!
Today I was reminded I am a woman. I had a D&C and a hysteroscopy. Sis doesn’t have those physical reminders. She has lived as a man knowing she “was” a woman for 52 plus years. Now, following surgery that is to take place soon, it will be official. But I am getting ahead of the story – too far ahead. I am the oldest of five children. My brother was born 1 year and 12 days after myself. My mother tells me I would stand in my crib and look over at the fuss being made over “the new addition”. I am sure I didn’t mind! The earliest memory that I have of my brother and I is that we were trying to climb over a ride-on firetruck that was placed in the kitchen doorway to keep us out! My great-aunt was babysitting us while my mother was getting ready to bring home our next sibling – another brother. We were later joined by two more sisters. Through the years, I was a big help to my brother – I sent him to the hospital for stitches (accidentally) while I had hot chocolate and marshmallows at a neighbor’s house and we played doctor. As my patient, I prescribed and dispensed enough baby aspirin so that he had to have his stomach pumped (thankfully they took him first) and when I heard him screaming, I assured the doctor that I had not taken any orange “pills”. He did give me a scare – one Saturday night we were wrestling and he cracked his clavicle. I went to church the next morning and when I came home I learned he had been taken to the emergency room since he was still complaining of his shoulder. But once again I was there to go to his class in the afternoon and be sure to get his homework! As we grew, brothers stick together so I was more on my own! I have always admired my brother for his easy going way and his ability to enjoy simple things. I wanted to be more like him! What I didn’t know was the private hell he endured just living every day with his secrets!