While reading Faline's post about attending an event at her daughter's school I found myself thinking of something that happened with my own son last December.
When I first told my partner and son that I was going to be transitioning we discussed how we were going to handle his school. Although there aren't many events that we need to go to there are a few, parent/teacher evenings, school trip briefings. We decided that unless it was vitally important then my partner would go and then she'd tell me about it when she got home.
Where it was unavoidable then I'd slick back my hair, wear some androgynous clothes and no make-up. We've only had to do this once.
All of this to avoid putting my son in the situation where he might have to deal with his classmates or school friends finding out about me and possibly ending up with people making comments, asking him questions or even with him being bullied. We discussed all of this with the school prior to my transition and agreed that this is what we'd do. The school were of the opinion that it was very unlikely that he would be bullied if people found out but then they would say that, nobody really believes that he wouldn't be given a hard time, even if only for a short while.
Over the last year he seems to have grown more comfortable with being out places with me and we've done lots of different activities. Even so when we are out and about generally if we come across someone that goes to his school we've usually had enough time for him to distance himself from me before he's seen with me.
Which brings us to last December.
We'd been shopping in our local Tesco supermarket. Just the two of us as my partner was doing something else that evening. As we were wandering around the store he went off to get a few bits and pieces that he needed to take to one of his youth groups for a Masterchef/Ready Steady Cook activity that they were doing.
I carried on getting the rest of the shopping and then went to find him. He was exactly where I thought he would be, in the sweet aisle. Now normally I'd have simply walked up to him but on this occasion I noticed to other teenagers stood nearby and something in my son's posture must have stopped me from doing so, instead I simply walked on and stopped a bit further down the aisle. After the two boys had selected their purchases and gone I walked back up the aisle to my son. I asked him if he knew the boys and he said yes, they were in some of his classes at school. A very close call.
As much as he feels able to be out and about with me doing things where the majority of people don't know us, he's still not ready to deal with his peers at school knowing about me, other than those who we've known since they were in nappies and even then most of them have only seen me from a distance in the last year.
I do look forward to the day that when we are out and about and he meets a friend from school or one of his youth groups and he feels able to give me a hug and say this is Jenna and she's one of my parents.