Yesterday I wrote about working to make your marriage last — and much of the advice holds true whether you are a crossdresser, transsexual, or all Y chromosome from top to bottom.
Today I was browsing through older entries on a fellow CD blogger’s page and I read about how his dressing nearly broke up his home life until he got things sorted out (N.B. this is a GROSS oversimplification and I urge you to read the blog entry in its entirety for a far better explanation). By way of mentioning that things are more stable he also says the kids are grown and gone now, and that made me start thinking about my own relationship with my kids.
I have two, one of each flavor, and as I have mentioned elsewhere the one condition Mrs. Ralph puts on my dressing is she did not want me to dress when the kids were around, even after they knew. Now that they have moved away I can dress any way I like all day and all night long, but while they still lived here we were under a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” arrangement.
My daughter had one of those unbreakable personalities that lets her come out smiling no matter how many curve balls life throws at her, but my son quickly turned into a very angry young person who would do whatever he wanted whenever he thought he could get away with it and hated us for trying to stop him. Petty theft from family members, blowing off school constantly, disobeying any rule we put up and any that were direct consequences of his behavior. You get the picture…
Now that he is gone (and being on his own a few years did wonders for changing his personality) and I rarely see him, our relationship is reasonably friendly but no more so than it would be with a coworker you get along well with or a member of your club. And what’s worse, I fear much of the damage to our father-son relationship was done by my own selfish stupidity.
I didn’t play with my children nearly as much as I should have, not because work or other commitments kept me too busy but because going outside to play with them meant taking off my girlie clothes and putting on jeans and a t-shirt. I’m glad to say it wasn’t as bad as *never*; I did manage to play with them but on the order of once a week instead of nearly every day.
Also forever seared into my brain is the guilty image of going out for a snack late one night in my nightgown, only to come nearly face-to-face with my son, at that time perhaps 4 or 5, wandering out to see what was going on in the kitchen. I was caught with my pants down, so to speak — no hiding what I was wearing. I simply had not expected him to still be awake, much less openly flouting bedtime by going AWOL like that. My defense was to go on the offense: I screamed at him full volume like I had caught him smuggling heroin to kindergarten or drowning kittens. That was 15 years ago, and my eyes are tearing up now thinking of the shame and disgust I feel at the way I behaved.
That wasn’t the only time he was on the receiving end of disproportionate anger, although to my knowledge it was the only one directly related to my obsession with crossdressing. I remember catching him stealing candy (from within the house, not from a store) about the millionth time and then lying about it until I confronted him with the evidence, and I unloaded on him so hard he couldn’t complete a sentence in reply… and I believe it was that day that his stuttering problem began which lasted the next 12 years.
We have our whole lives to indulge our private fantasies however we please, but our children are only with us for a short time. Don’t make them take second place behind your dressing, or your computer games, or whatever it is that gets the bulk of your attention. Trust me, as soon as they load the last of their belongings into the moving van you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
My daughter is having trouble finding work now that she is out of college, so she will be moving back home while she regroups and figures out what to do next. I have a second chance for a year or two… let’s pray I don’t blow it this time.