I’m not really old enough to remember when my mother Leila was my “father” Leonard. Because my birth mother died at childbirth, you see. And mom began her transition to being a woman when I turned two.
My first memory of her was her lovely, luxurious locks of dark brown hair – it seemed that once she gave up her male haircuts and began the hormonal treatments, her already longish hair became almost like pure silk. I loved playing with it as she held me in her arms. I also seemed to be interested in the bouncy things on her chest.
She never did have plastic surgery so the hormones gave her a delicate cup size; she speculated that I instinctively wanted her to nurse me. She said she would have given anything for that to be possible, as she completely accepted her motherly role. I was the center of her universe.
But my aunties were eager to have her get out into the dating scene, and after taking her shopping, they set her up on a blind date with Ed, a nice local merchant.
Mommy looked so lovely with her pretty sundress and her hair blowing in the wind. Ed didn’t stand a chance – he was hooked. Mom was so nervous but the aunties insisted that they would watch me.
But as soon as the couple left, they took me into the bedroom where they washed and combed my hair – I guess I also inherited the luxurious locks gene – and then had me step into a pretty princess dress, and added a flower headband.
“Oh look at you, Peter, you look as pretty as your Mama! Oh but we need a girls’ name for you!”
So when Ed and Leila returned , hand in hand, they saw the debut of little Miss Portia, the three year old with the loveliest, most luxurious locks in the world! Even at my tender age, I knew I was hot stuff!
Mom wanted to be angry with her sisters, but she couldn’t stop whirling me around in my pretty dress or playing with hair – how ironic. The die was cast, and within two years Mom had her operation – a new husband, Ed – and a daughter to raise.
And this week, as we are getting together to plan my wedding in June, we’re going through our photo albums. This picture reminds us both of that wonderful day when we became mother and daughter.
Of course nowadays – with our lovely long hair – people think we are sisters! ;)