I can do anything if my children are with me and, conversely, I feel as if everything will be hopeless if they aren’t with me. My two boys, Lane and Ezra, are the most beautiful things in my life. I am horribly torn between utter self-loathing at myself for transitioning and thus hurting them and their image of their father, and excitement at telling them and sharing with them something so wondrous and new that there’s nothing else to do but to share it.

The time has come to talk about IT, the big IT, and Mary Jo and I have talked with other trans-couples about telling kids, have posted on MyHusbandBetty about it, have talked about it, have talked with our therapists about it. I began to realize that I’m just going to have to follow my gut and do it however I can, as I’m beginning to have trouble living with myself knowing I’m maintaining a lie to the two people who matter the most in my world.

This afternoon, we all jumped on the trampoline for a very long time, playing every sort of game we could think of. It was a beautiful blue sky, 70-degrees and breezy (in the dead of winter, no less!), and we were rolling around and feeling very close. It’s something I love to do with my children.

We were lying there, tired, watching the clouds, and I said, “Can I tell you a secret?”

“Sure, Dad,” said Ezra.

“I’ve had this strange feeling all my life, even since I was your age. I’ve always felt that I had a girl’s brain in my boy body.” Pause, while they both get quiet and look at me as if I’ve been beamed to their location from a flying saucer hovering above us. “And when you’re like that, you know what it feels like? It makes you feel weird because you’re really not who you feel you should be. Over the years, being like this makes you feel sad and angry and helpless, and that’s the way I’ve been for years.”

Utter silence. Lane has rolled over, face down on the trampoline. Ezra is looking out into the cotton fields nearby. I wait for questions, but none are uttered. “Do you ever feel like you’re you’ve got a different kind of brain — maybe an alien brain or a sports brain or something?” I ask, racking my girl-brain for something to keep us talking. “No, says Lane,” flatly. OK, I think, at least they’re not screaming, but they’re not dancing for joy, either. I decided to hold off on the next part, the part where I tell them I’m changing. Maybe I should have plowed ahead, but their silence told me they were mulling over this possibility that their dad had a girl’s brain, and maybe that will need time to be processed.

They both sat up, looked around, and announced, “Well, we’re going inside,” and jumped off the trampoline and went into the house. Meager progress, I realize, but I’m not unhappy. I figure it’s a start and the subject is there for them to mull over. It’ll give me something to build on.

I’m a little disappointed, but also relieved that I didn’t have to break their hearts entirely today. There will be plenty of time for heartbreak later.