♪♪ ♪♪ -Two days before Thanksgiving, in 1997, I said, "What's going on?"
And then you said, "I can't tell you, because if I do, you'll leave me and take the children, and I'll never see them again."
And I said, "You'd probably better tell me, then, 'cause you can't leave it hanging like that."
-You can't leave it like that.
So that's when I told you.
-First thing I remember is you said that you were in the wrong body, that you should be a man.
-And if it had seemed to me that I was going to lose you and I was gonna lose the kids, I would have said, "Okay, I'm not transitioning."
But you told me that we'll work it out.
You know, we were walking through a territory without a map, because we didn't have anybody ahead of us.
-And we just kind of fell out of holding hands when we were walking along the street.
-Spontaneous affection -- we couldn't do it comfortably anymore.
-A lot of it was me because it became clear that I would be perceived as gay.
But, at one point, I realized that I didn't fall in love with a couple of body pieces.
I decided, "This is the person."
-And I was still the same person.
More like the fun person I remembered from 30-odd years ago than before the transition.
-Amanda was 7 at this point.
And I explained to her where this was going.
And she burst into tears and threw herself onto my lap.
And she says, "Oh, please, don't change into a man.
If you have to change into anything, couldn't it be a cat?"
And that was not a question I had prepared myself to answer.
I mean, I was kind of stunned.
Do you remember, Amanda?
Like, I was 7.
-I think I was 11, right?
-I was really worried about you not wanting to be my mother anymore.
So it was pretty intense.
-Did you guys ever feel like maybe it was your fault, that something that you guys had done -- -You made that pretty dang clear, that it had nothing to do with us.
-What were you most concerned about when you told us?
-Well, you know, girls learn how to be women from their mothers.
-And I was terrified that I was gonna totally screw you up.
And my only defense against that, in my mind, was to go, "They'll see love," and have that be what makes a relationship work.
-So, and this is a little scary for me to ask, were you ever prepared to not see us again or...?
-No, that was never, ever an option.
-I mean, it's just been amazing to watch you.
You stuck with it.
And every year, my -- my respect for you grows and grows.
[ Both chuckle ] ♪♪ ♪♪