trans rats!

The Kids' Table

(or, why holidays feel strange)

My family doesn't have a kids' table anymore.

We watched some old family movies the other night. A lot of them were just centered around me, as a small child, as a baby. There's something magical, in those movies of me as a baby. My mom and dad, the youngest of each of their respective siblings groups, the last to start bringing children into the world. And there I was. a perfect baby girl.

Watching those movies is- strange. Sure, maybe it's the intense gendering, what with all the lace and cute little dresses and constantly hearing my deadname. But I think it's also... how many people there are.

When my mom gave birth, both her AND my dad's mom were there right after, to meet me. This, in theory, sets them up to have an equal role in my life as grandmothers. They lived about the same distance away from my parents at the time, after all. And yet, I don't even think of my dad's mom as a grandmom. My maternal grandmother helped raise me, babysat me from when I was 3 months old, lived with me for a few crucial years.

The relationship I and my immediate family have with my dad's mom was strained, and uncomfortable, and she wasn't great at boundaries or respect or any of that- and now she's gone.

At my mom's baby shower, in those movies from 20 years ago, there are relatives and friends I've never met. People who either passed away shortly before or after I was born, people my parents fell out of touch with. Some of them, my parents could barely even remember. They'd look at a woman sitting right next to my mom, shoulder-to-shoulder, and ask, "who in the world was THAT?"

My grandmom was still married to her third husband. He did the editing for those old movies, and it can be seen in the background music and the CD case covers and the slide transitions. After she divorced him, the home movies become much more sparsely edited. Then they stopped being made.

We have so many family videos with my cousins. When was the last time I saw them? Do they know I'm trans? Am I still (REDACTED) in their memories? Do they unwillingly deadname and misgender me while reminiscing?

Holidays are getting more and more sparse. My dad has fallen mostly out of contact with his side of the family; many of them are either too busy or too homophobic to come to our house anymore or invite us over. Plus, his mom and dad have passed. Long time family friends from that side also don't talk to us anymore. Why, I couldn't say- I guess it's not really my business, after all.

My great-grandmother passed away in 2018. My grandfather moved down South after his second wife passed, and I haven't seen him in over two years now. My aunt and uncle from my mom's side are mostly estranged now- I can't remember the last time I saw my cousins. We're basically strangers now, despite spending so many summers together.

Holidays now are just my mom, dad, grandmom and brother, and then my great-aunt and great-uncle show up for a few hours for dinner and hanging out. Sometime they bring their son, who I suppose is my second cousin, though I just call him my cousin. Our Christmas dinner has been minimized to only eight people; sometimes seven, if my cousin is away for the military.

On one hand, I don't particularly *care* about any of this. This is extended family I'm talking about. People I was never particularly close to, people I only ever saw on holidays or during the summer. Hell in some cases, it's better this way, for my own wellbeing, transgender-wise.

But it's strange, isn't it? There's no kids' table anymore. No more running down to the basement to hang out with cousins. No more showing them around the neighborhood, comparing our experiences and our parents. The only kids are my brother and I- and I'm 20.

When my grandmother was this age, she had just become a mom. I don't think I'll ever have children. I'm very resolute in that idea, have been for years. But it is a little bit sad, knowing these holidays are getting smaller and smaller, and there will likely not be anybody to repopulate them.

I never aged out of the kids' table. It dissolved. The children all left. And I was left behind in the role of a child, and my brother was pushed ahead to the adults' table, and neither of us know what to feel about the whole ordeal.

And watching family movies is strange. Because our family used to be so lively. And now there are only eight.

♥ Jay(click to go back!)