So I wasn’t planning on meeting my parents or my sisters….yet. However fate has a way of sorting things out all by herself.
Dad wasn’t in tip top shape. Just back from hospital for a few days after he had a fall. We were told to watch for warning signs when he was discharged. And then one night he started slurring. I rushed over to see him and make sure he was OK.
He really needed to go to hospital. But being his stubborn self (so that’s where I get it from!) he refused to go, and said he’d see how he was feeling in the morning. I wasn’t going to make him go. I’ve had these discussions with him before and he knew the risks.
However there was one risk he didn’t know about. And I thought that before I went home that I should attend to it. “So Dad one last thing. If tomorrow you need to rush off to hospital. And if I need to rush from work to visit you, then you’ll get to meet your fourth daughter. Because at work I’m a girl.” Both he and mum smiled a bit in disbelief and he thanked me for letting them know and that he would keep that in mind. I wished them both a good night and went home hoping that I was very wrong about my assessment of Dad’s health.
The next day dawned and off to work I went. Black pencil skirt, with a salmon top with white horizontal stripes, and a black peplum jacket and black mid-heel pumps. I remember the outfit well as I call it my meet the parents outfit, only I had to substitute black flats for the pumps.
I’m an early riser so I had gotten through half a day’s work when I got the call. “You have to come NOW!” It was my sister, Dad was in an ambulance and on his way to hospital. I let her know that I’m on the way and that she’d be meeting my girl side shortly. I think she was a bit worried given her response, but I think it was more about following the ambulance to the hospital, as they seemed a bit lost.
I grab my handbag, change into my black flats and off I go. I make a call to my other sister to let her know she gets to meet dad’s fourth daughter today. This confuses her no end, until I tell her “Me. I mean me!”, and the penny drops. It’s going to be an interesting second half of the day.
The best way to the hospital is actually by train so I’m heading to the station. Now by this stage, I had been a girl at work for a whole ten days. And was just getting comfortable in the office. But heading out to the train and the hospital was a whole new experience.
The thoughts running through my head. “Is my wig on straight? Don’t walk like a boy! I hope Dad’s ok. Will I have to go home like this? Oh god, everyone can tell I’m a boy. Try to blend in. I hope my sis is OK following the ambulance. Oh I hope mum is coping. How do girls stand when they’re waiting for the train?” All of my senses are on hyper-alert. It’s a bit scary but nice at the same time.
At this time of the day there’s lots of room on the train and I can pick a seat where I’m not in everyone’s view. I am very sure that someone is going to figure out that I’m a boy, and I try my best to blend in. My worry over dad overtakes any other thoughts now that I’m settled. And I will the train to go faster… It doesn’t help.
I arrive at the station and I get up as gracefully as I can. I slip my crossbody handbag on and flick my hair out from under the strap. And I’m off again, very self-conscious and thinking “Blend! Blend!”. The walk to the hospital is uneventful, however I am very glad that I swapped to my black flats. I don’t think I would have made it halfway in my pumps.
I now have to get into the emergency wards. Which means I have to talk to the nurses at the front desk. I manage to squeak out that I’m here to see my dad. She doesn’t bat an eyelid and lets me know where he is and then lets me in. Either she’s very good or maybe I can actually ‘pass’ as a girl.
Once through the doors though I think “This is it!”. It’s not like I can’t believe I’m doing this because it’s exactly what I thought would happen last night. But I’m worried. Worried firstly that dad’s heart may not be strong enough for this. Worried that my family aren’t ready for this. Worried that this is the wrong place and the wrong time. And then I’m there.
I’m feeling very shy as I come around the corner. My family look tired and worried, but are very happy to see me and I immediately get hugs all around. I go to talk with dad and he has a bemused look on his face. I tell him “I did warn you that you that you might meet your fourth daughter today” And he chuckled as he squeezed my hand. And he was fine with it all even though he was lying there all hooked up to the medical equipment that goes beep.
My mum looks very tired, I don’t think she slept much at all. She tells me that we should have come last night. And I tell her we’re here now and that’s all that matters. I ask if she’s ok with me here dressed like this. And she says that its ok.
Later on, mum does discuss my clothing with me. She said that it’s too tight. Oh! She’s worried about me sending the wrong signals by wearing tight clothing. My sister did pick up very quickly that I had nipples (note to self: buy t-shirt bra). And my sister confirmed that they all had this ‘wrong signals’ conversation with mum in their teens. Oooh! That can only be good right?
My sisters are also very accepting and my sister jokes about me being the tall skinny one. And as the three of us stand together mum remarks that we all look the same. I wonder what my sisters think of this. I mean, I am a boy you know. It’s not like we don’t all know this. I hope they’re not offended.
With not much to do but wait, I got to reveal a bit of the life of Loretta. Starting of course with my name. Through the course of the evening I got to meet a brother-in-law, and 3 nephews. Everyone was cool with me. They all knew about my girl side because I had emailed them all a few months back to explain.
The tests they do on dad are positive and they release him, thank goodness. And he’s itching to go home. Fate played her hand in my meeting the family. And it was such a positive experience, even given the circumstances. To be honest I don’t know when I would have met the family if this didn’t happen. Even now I don’t get to see them as Loretta unless there’s something urgent and I need to go from work.
I thank my lucky stars that my whole family were so accepting. And that I was strong enough to let them all know about me in the months before. It made meeting the family all of a sudden like this so much easier.
But I still had more hurdles. Starting with a night trip on the train and a 10 minute walk through a park with no lights. As a boy not something that I would be worried about. As a girl I must say that I was looking over my shoulder. The bigger problem though was that my black flats were starting to rub my heel. And was enough to slow me down. I survived, just a small blister.
Thank you so much family!