Our suitcases have been unpacked, the last bit of sand has been shaken out of our bathing suits and the kids are back at school. Summer is officially over.
The end of summer was sad for me (for more reasons than no longer being able to sleep in and eat my weight in ice cream). Eli had the freedom to be who he was this summer. He wore girls' clothes every day. No one, not even any of our beach house neighborhood kids, gave him a second look. In fact, they seemed to always be clustered around him, jumping in the waves by day, playing Manhunt in the connecting yards by night, the kids always calling his name to come and play.
I loved this freedom of his, loved this easy, effortless acceptance, loved the mornings spent without struggling over what to wear, free of the burden of wanting to do one thing but feeling pressured to do another. I worried that with the start of the school year, this bliss would come to end and that Eli's inner battles would return.
Imagine my relief when Eli confidently marched into school on the first day dressed in a girl's version of the first day of school uniform. He was so sure of himself, that I forgot to be nervous for him. His teacher welcomed him with a warm hug and he sent me out of the classroom with a half-hearted squeeze around my legs. I've never been so happy to be passively dismissed.
As the subsequent days have unfolded, Eli's confidence in meandering his path has been building. I expected tantrums and tears, fears and frustrations, but I've actually noticed a calmer Eli who seems to be more in control of his emotions. I am content to let him take the lead on how he manages his social interactions and becomes more comfortable with "being out of the closet", but he knows that on his journey, I am never far behind him.