Proud of my Mama!

23 06 2012

 

I know that I have been writing stories about my experience as a mom of a bisexual son… but today I am going to write about my mom. We had Montana Pride last weekend – and we went, as we did the year before as a family. All the way from Grandma to our youngest kid who is 10. It was a great day and a great weekend.

I love my mom but never more than now. When I told her about my son being bisexual a few years ago I wasn’t sure how she would react. After all, she is the one who took me to the Southern Baptist church all my life! She actually received the news better than I had! She has been one of his biggest supporters ever since.

The man in the background of the picture had a loud-speaker and was proclaiming us all to be going to hell – and hell is 12000 degrees by the way. I assume he has visited already to know such a fact! ha! BUT there is my Mama – a few feet away from him with her sign ” 1 Proud Straight Christian Grandma”. I love my Mom!

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Closets and Elephants

19 06 2012

Montana Pride was AMAZING!! It was tons of fun. Pride for me is more than fun though – it is about the stories. There were some doozies this year. I know it seems like a repetitive theme, but I hear the same stories over and over again. Loving caring families suddenly split and estranged when their child comes out to them. It is so sad. I feel bad for the kids – but I understand the parent’s feelings too.

One of my favorite things from the weekend was the Interfaith Service on Sunday morning. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. There was a beautiful part of the service where we lit candles for sorrow, then later in the service we lit candles of thanksgiving. I lit one of each. My sorrow candle was for the people who are not loved and accepted by their family exactly as they are. Apparently I was crying too hard for anyone to understand what I said though… that explains the deer in the head lights look the people had as I looked out at them. My mom was out there, she said, “I couldn’t understand you, but  ___ did and she told me what you said.” I mean when your Mama can’t understand you it is pretty bad. To be honest though, when I sat back down in my seat I was not sure I was gonna be able to pull it back together. The pain I feel for these families completely consumes me sometimes if I really dwell on the pain.

When it came time for the Thanksgiving candle I knew exactly what I was going to say. “When my son came out of the closet I went into the closet, slammed the door, and curled up in the corner.” I lit my candle in thanksgiving for the people who came into that dark closet, took my hand, and shared their courage with me until I could find my own. They eventually led me back out into the light of the world and I have been fighting to keep people out of closets ever since.

I have a friend right now whose son has recently come out to her. She is in the closet big time. She will hardly talk to me and has pulled back from our friendship. I think I must scare her – maybe I remind her of what is happening. You can probably guess by now that I am not one of those “beat around the bush” kind of people!! I pretty much tell it like it is and I believe in getting to the bottom of things. I do NOT believe in throwing a doily over the elephant in the room and calling it a table. She will get tired of that elephant eventually, and when she does, I will be here to hold her hand and lead her into the light again. I mean if we can’t help one another through hard things – how would any of us ever survive this crazy life?!!





Diversity Dragon

14 06 2012

Pride is almost here!! Do you love this picture of our 40 foot Diversity Dragon?!!! It will say PFLAG down the side!! That is me in the middle and my sweet mama waaaaaaayyy down the hallway holding the tail. I can not really explain the excitement in my soul about this dragon!! Can’t wait to see it in “action” swerving down Main St USA this Saturday!!!

We had so much fun working hours together on this project. I LOVE the people God has brought into my life over the past few years since I became open-minded. Honestly they are so much more fun that the people I used to hang out with! I find it very ironic that I have spent hours and hours with gay men, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals – and NO one tried to convert me – not once! I am being a bit sarcastic here – but that is honestly one of the things I was taught in my homophobic church growing up. Maybe because the church’s mission is to recruit people they assume everyone has that agenda? I have no idea the truth about why they teach things like this – or that we will somehow be corrupted. It is all just a false, fear based mentality.

Here is the truth that I PRAY people begin to realize – there is no “gay agenda” other than wanting equal rights. Which only seems fair since these adults pay all the same taxes the straight people are paying – shouldn’t they have the same benefits? Also, I hope people will realize that queer people are JUST LIKE US straight people. They really and truly are. As humans we all just want to be treated with dignity and respect and to find a happy place in this world. We want to leave a mark on this earth and hopefully make a difference. That is what we all want.

I have some amazing friends – and I am finding the more open-minded I am, the more fun friends I find in my path! Fear robs us of a lot of things – I am not going to let it rob me of people any longer. The more diverse friends I have, the more enriched my life becomes. It is beautiful, just like a rainbow. A rainbow of a single color isn’t very fun to look at – and neither was my circle of friends most of my life. I am now getting more and more colors in my friendship rainbow – and it just brings more joy and fun to life!!! This weekend is gonna be AMAZING!!!!





Pride

6 06 2012

Pride will be here in a week and a half!! I am so excited!! Last year was our first time to attend a Pride event. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as a straight person at Pride. It was a blast!! I think all we ever see of Pride is the craziness of the parades. Pride is so much more than that! Amazing workshops, fun entertainment, and stories… oh the stories.

I was really touched this week by a video and news report about a large group of Mormons marching in the pride parade in SLC, Utah. The video made me cry. I know first hand what it is like as a person of faith to be supportive of LGBT people. It is so rare for them to see that side of us. People are usually so busy trying to “save their soul” that they rarely even take time to find out who they are. Their stories are beautiful.

Last year, in spite of all the fun, I left Pride with a very heavy heart. I had gone to Pride wearing a T-shirt that says, “Hurt by the Church? Get a st8 apology here”. I had A LOT of response to that shirt. Only a few people actually asked for an apology – but it did open the door for many to share their stories with me. Stories of how they have been hurt. Many have been totally rejected and cut off from their families due to coming out. I had a heavy heart because somehow over the weekend I started carrying some of their pain. I also feel so sad for the parents. Parents who are missing out on the joy of being in their kid’s lives all because of a messed up understanding of the bible. I wonder when their child was born if they held that little one in their arms in awe like I did my children? Did they think “I will do anything for this child, as long as they are straight.” I highly doubt it – but that is actually what they are doing when they turn their back on them. Imagine the child coming out – doing one of the hardest things they can do, tell their parent, and to then have their worst nightmare come true.

I have held many of these kids in my arms. I wish I could take away their pain, but that isn’t really my role. I can show them unconditional love, but that void of missing their parent will always be there for them – until the healing happens. I want THAT – I want to get to witness a whole bunch of stories of people who were estranged but have found peace and healing. That would be glorious!! I can’t wait for that day … for people of faith to not care what their Christian friends say or think. The day when they realize – “This is my kid, and I love them no matter what anyone else tells me or thinks of me!” That will be a day to remember!!! A day to be PROUD of!!





Closets are not for People

4 06 2012

I know this blog is about my journey as a mom of a bisexual son…but I am venturing off of that a little today. I have three kids, two older kids and a surprise. My oldest is a girl. She turned 21 yesterday. Another milestone – yes – she can legally drink now. I thought I might share her birth story with you. Mostly because 21 years later I can finally laugh about it, and secondly because it would be nice to have it written down someplace. This seems like as good a place as any!

My OB/GYN had told me to go to the hospital during my pregnancy – do the paperwork – check out labor and delivery, etc… Well, in  “Michele” fashion – I did none of that! What can I say? I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl! The morning I was in labor no one believed me. In their defense, I had been having false labor for about two weeks. I would start having regular contractions – they would go from every 10 min to every 8 to every 5 and we would start thinking it might be real and then they would stop. I also had some bizarre rash. A reaction to the hormones or something but I was covered in hives from head to toe and could only find relief in Aveeno baths. So, that night I had spent about 6 hours in the tub. My husband came into the bathroom to tell me he was leaving for work. I had just had my first “real” contraction. I told him I had a pretty serious pain. He said, “Oh it is just those false labor pains. See you tonight.” kissed me on the forehead and walked out the door.

About fifteen minutes later I barely crawled out of the tub and couldn’t stand upright. I got to the phone and called my mom. Me: “Mom, I think I am really in labor.” Mom:”OK – but I bet you aren’t and I have to go to work today so I will be over after I shower and get dressed.” By the time my mom arrived I was still naked – in a fetal position on the bed. She kept trying to help me get dressed, I kept screaming “don’t touch me!” I now realize that is a symptom of transitioning – something a woman does when she is dilated to about 8 centimeters. It only goes to 10 folks…

So, eventually we were in the car on our way to the hospital. There was not another car on the road that early, but my mom insisted on stopping at every red light – I was in the floorboard of the front seat by then. Breathing – man was I breathing!! Thank God I actually did go to the birthing classes!

My hubby worked in a refinery with no phone. Yep – 21 years ago we did not all have cell phones! My dad was sent to get my husband. My mom and I get to the hospital and find Labor and Delivery. I walked through the double doors just as I got a contraction. I bent over, grabbed my knees with my hands and yelled “is this where I am supposed to be?” To this day I can still remember the faces on the five nurses who were all standing around the desk doing paperwork. They all looked up together and one of them said “I would say so.”

They ushered me into a room, into a gown, into the bed. Began doing paperwork (remember I never went early to do that?) I was being fingerprinted with my legs in stirrups! I was at the hospital 28 minutes before she made her debut into the world! My dad and husband walked in the door about a minute before she was born.

She was 2 days ahead of her due date. She has been ahead of schedule her entire life! I am super proud of her for a number of reasons but I think it applicable here to tell you of one of the proudest I have ever been. There was a friend who said we were wrong as a family to support my son. They said we were “flaunting” him and “celebrating” his sexuality in front of the whole world. A number of other hurtful things were said. You know what my daughter did? She said a profound thing that I will never forget. She said, “You know the families that find out they have a gay relative and they stick them in the closet hoping no one will find out? Well, we are NOT that family.” I love that kid more than the whole world!! I “flaunt” and “celebrate” ALL my children not because of their sexuality – that is just a small part of who they are – but because they are my children. I am the luckiest Mother on this planet because I have three amazing people who call me Mom!!





Regret

1 06 2012

Last night I heard that a friend I went to high school with lost his son. He was killed in a car wreck. He was 14 years old. As a parent I can not imagine anything more painful. It makes me want to hug my kiddos. I still call them my babies sometimes, even though two of them are grown.

Being a parent is a gift. I am not sure I have always been as grateful as I should be. I can remember when they were younger losing my patience and feeling like certain stages would last forever. Granted, it is hard to be patient when you are a sleep deprived mom. Sleep makes a big difference. My first two kids are 14 months apart. There were several years of little sleep for us. At the time it seemed like we would never get through it – now it seems like it was just a short small blip on the radar of life.

I know kids whose parents have rejected them due to their sexuality. It breaks my heart. When these kids tell their stories, the pain in their eyes is hard to watch. I always leave with a deep heaviness – for the kids and also for the parents. It is heartbreaking. I wonder will something happen – like what happened to my friend’s son – and they will be left with the pain forever. They may never have the chance to reconcile, never be able to reunite and tell each other they really do love each other.

Have you seen the movie “Prayers for Bobby”? It is like that. After the son is gone the Mom realizes she was wrong – she begins researching and finds out what I found out – that what we have been told about the bible is not the whole truth. She begins helping other LGBT kids – but it is too late for her and her son. He is already gone. That regret would be very hard to live with for the rest of your days, don’t you think?