As I write this, note that I refer to Chris as Chloe, because in each of the photos of her, she was not yet Chris.
I've written on this blog about how difficult it was to stop calling Chris Chloe. I wrote a post a few years ago titled "The Second Gift", wherein I define that a child's first gift from their mother is life and their second gift is their name. When I was looking at the photos today of Chloe from all those years ago, I never saw her as Chris, because, for all those years and a few years into college and beyond, she was Chloe.
There was a time before where I am now in Chris' transition that seeing those old photos would have made me nostalgic, made me emotional. There was a time before where I am now in Chris' transition that I could have never imagined a day that I could look at those photos without regret, without sadness, without fear. When I looked at those photos today of Chloe, all I did was smile. Even now, when I think about it, I have no sadness, only happy thoughts and memories of the child I gave the name Chloe as her second gift.
People say, "Time heals". They also say, "When one door closes another one opens." And then there's the saying, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was." All of these sayings are true. Time has healed what I once thought was a broken heart. The door we all closed on Chloe, allowed for us to help open the door for Chris. And ... the last saying is the most true for me, as it truly feels as though when I finally allowed Chloe to be set free, she helped bring Chris to me.
I'm aware that Chris' journey has impacted and affected a lot of people and I am completely aware there is no one it has transformed, tried, destroyed at times, defined, reinvented, tortured and triumphed more than him. However, I am also pretty confident he is unaware of how his transformations have often affected me in these same ways, to the extent or magnitude. And it's not that he wasn't or isn't sensitive to my survival on this journey, as he is and has been. I think it is mostly because he was and is in constant survival mode, moving forward and running as fast as he can, and likely is not aware how hard it has been, sometimes, for me to keep up with him. The main thing I know about this journey is ... I never lost sight of Chris and he never lost sight of me. Through it all, he gave me strength by making me confident in who he needed to be.
When I looked at all the faces of Chloe today in all those many pictures, it was maybe the very first time I looked at her and didn't wonder who she could have been. I looked at those pictures easily, contently, one year after the other.
Maybe I am now completely at ease and at peace because I truly never imagined or even believed Chris could offer Chloe a better destiny.
But ... he did.