Breathe in the Love

8 02 2014

I was fortunate to have pretty easy labor and deliveries of all three of my kids. Don’t get me wrong, it was still the worse pain that I have ever gone through, but fortunately for me it was a short duration. Of the three deliveries of my most precious children, my son was by far the easiest. I wouldn’t even say there was a lot of pain. I had my first child twenty eight minutes after arriving at the hospital. To say that I was paranoid my son, my second child, would be born at home or in the car, would be an understatement. One morning I felt a sharp pain and then some contractions. We jumped into the car and headed to the hospital. You can probably guess that I was not really in labor.

It was ten days before my due date and since my sonograms showed that I was having a girl, apparently girls do better if born early than boys, my OB/GYN decided to induce labor that morning. They started the drugs. Then an hour after that they broke my water. Fifteen minutes later I was holding a screaming red-faced little boy. We were told the screams of “It’s a boy!” were heard all over the hospital. We were thrilled to have a boy in the family.

If I close my eyes, I can still faintly remember the smell of that brand new baby. There is something about love that involves all of our senses. I remember the smell of my Grandma’s house. It always smelled like love to me. During those years, when my children were small, I would come in from work so excited to see them. I would burst through the front door and they would run to greet me. I remember the feeling of their arms around my neck and I would just breathe them in as we hugged. It was like no matter what had transpired while we were apart, we were now back together and all was well with the world.

I often say that I did not know my son was queer. That is not entirely true. I can remember glimpses, as he was growing up, when a question would pop into my mind. I can still remember that paralyzing fear that would follow the thought. It was too much. The fear of the possibility that my precious son would be something that I had been taught and also believed myself to be perverted, bad, wrong, and broken, that fear was too much. Those words could not possibly be associated with my precious son. My boy was not perverted, he was innocent and pure. My son was not broken, he was fearfully and wonderfully made. At this point in my life, I had no idea that someone could be queer and love God. I thought those were two islands that could never merge. I thought God was just as disgusted by same-sex attraction as I was. I thought my disgust was actually God’s disgust, I falsely believed this based on the bible.

The day came when I had to face my fear. My son is queer. I don’t believe it is in God’s plan for a parent to reject their child. God would never ask that of me. Unfortunately, man asks that of me, the church sometimes asks that of me, but never God. Sometimes we humans mix God all up in misinterpretations of the bible, and legalistic teachings from our churches. As unfortunate as this is, it doesn’t change God. If we stop and step back from all of the opinions out there, take a moment to just wrap our arms around God’s neck and just breathe God in, we will smell love. Pure, unconditional love that is not mixed up with misconceptions or opinions. It is just love, healing accepting pure love, and all is well with the world.





Three Things to Know When Someone You Love tells you they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender

11 12 2013

I recently realized I write to process my pain. I have not been blogging much the past 6 months, which means my life is going pretty well. That is a good thing. A lot has changed since those early days of my son coming out. It no longer feels like a crisis or even like a negative thing in any way. I am so grateful for the people in my world who have helped me along the way to get to this place of complete peace with my son being bisexual. So many mentors and teachers and just friends, who held my hand through the past few years. I hope these three simple things might help other people in their early days of this discovery.

1)Stop thinking about sex. This was one of the 1st pieces of advise I received. When we hear someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, as human beings, our first thought is about them in the bedroom. I personally believe this comes from our culture and how we have been conditioned to believe LGBT people are all just about sleeping around. Regardless of why our mind goes there – tell yours to stop. Sex is a small part of who your LGBT loved one is, just like your sex life is a small part of who you are. So, get your mind out of the gutter, or in this case, their bedroom.

2)Take some time to just breath. As shocking as this news can be, and even though you may feel like the rug has been swept from under your feet. Life really hasn’t changed that much. Your loved one is the same person they were before. They have not changed, they were already LGBT, you just didn’t know about it. Take a moment to think about parents sitting by their child’s side watching them take their last breath. This may be shocking, but it isn’t the end of the world and there are much worse things to have to live through – so gain some perspective. It will be a journey and it will not be easy, but it is definitely not the worst thing that could happen in your family.

3)Your LGBT loved one has shown great courage in sharing themselves with you. They need to know that even if you don’t understand it all, you still love them unconditionally. They need to know you have their back. Because not everyone will, some people they love dearly will turn their back on them in the coming days and months. They will need extra love and acceptance from you. Be intentional about letting them know you are there for them, today, next week, and next year. That is really all that they need to know, that this new information doesn’t change your love for them.

So breath and take one moment at a time. This journey can be an amazing one of discovery. Discovery about yourself and your own fears, discovery about how strong family bonds can be, and discovery of ways to live without fear or judgment. Chin up, Buttercup, life goes on.





Accidental Activism

24 02 2013

I recently read a Facebook post from a friend. She was stating her surprise and also expressing her thanks to her high school friends for supporting her PFLAG work and her work to advance equality for her son and her gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends. I couldn’t help but have a sinking feeling when I read it. Not that I am not totally happy for my friend to have been shown such amazing support – because I am. I just feel sad that my experience has been so different. I can count on my fingers the number of friends from my hometown who have shown any support. Heck – you probably know who you are if you are even actually reading this right now.

People say: “don’t take it personally”. I try not to, I really really do, but then I look into the face of my son or any number of my friends whom I love so much and it IS suddenly personal. These are persons – persons that I love. People who are very important to me. Do you think I ever intended to be an activist of any sort? Let me just make this clear – NO! I did not have a burning desire in me to stand up, be laughed at, told I was being misled by satan and shunned by friends and some family. I wasn’t just waiting my whole life for the right cause to come along so that I could become an activist.

I stumbled blindly into this, and often have no idea how I got here or how to be a proper activist and spokesperson. I only know this, my love for my child was so strong that I had to find out the truth about homosexuality and the bible. I HAD to know if what I had been taught most of my life about it being a choice and a sin was true. That is how my journey began, it had nothing to do with the rest of the world. I had a conflict within myself, a conflict between what I had been taught and told and what I myself was finding to be true within my own experiences with my son. I knew my son was not a pervert or a misled sexually driven individual. Let’s just be blunt here, isnt’ that what is disgusting to us straight people? What they are doing in the bedroom? Yet my son had never even had a date when he came out – so I knew this wasn’t sexually driven. So, my activism days began around myself seeking truth. And just as truth often does – it was right there, in the open, I just had been looking in the wrong places and listening to the wrong voices.

So, even though at this point, I am sad that I have not had a lot of people I thought loved and cared for me rally behind me as I take a stand for equality, it certainly isn’t going to sway me or cause me to hang my head. You see, once you find the truth, you can’t go back to having your head in the sand. Why would I want to? The truth affords me freedom. Freedom to love and be loved in a way I have never experienced before. Maybe because they know exactly how it feels to not be accepted, I find my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and family to be the most loving, non judgemental folks that I have ever had the privilege of being around. Not, only that, they are FUN!!

So, whether you approve or not, whether you like me or not doesn’t sway me. I stand up because of love. I will never sit down and I will never shut up. And one day, when the truth finally seeps into that hole that you have your head stuck in, you will find this freedom also. You will wonder why it took you so long, just as I do, and you will experience some of the best friendships a person can have. I wish that for you…soon.





A Hard Promise to Keep

28 01 2013

I woke up this morning after very little sleep and realized I had that feeling again. The feeling of wanting to just stick my head in the sand and pretend today wasn’t here. I immediately wished with all of my heart that it was last week and I was once again surrounded by the beauty of Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Surrounded by peace, and quiet – no civilization, no cell service, just beauty and the feeling that all is well in the world. Then I realized that isn’t reality, nor is it really where I want to be at all. Today will be a hard day, but it is also a blessing.

I will never forget the feeling of looking into all three of my babies faces for the first time. It is not really something one can put into words. I looked down into each of those beautiful faces in awe. I silently made a promise. I don’t really know if I was promising them or just promising myself, but I promised to protect them. I promised to be their buffer in the world. I guess it came down to the fact that I knew pain and I didn’t want them to have to feel it – ever. I think this is one reason that when my son came out it was hard for me. I knew this would be a reason for some people to target him, judge him, ridicule him.

It wasn’t too long before the promise became hard to keep. Illness and hospitalizations, a kid in the nursery bonks them over the head with a block, they begin to experience pain. I should have given up the promise then and come up with another way of seeing it, but I was blind to the bondage I was putting myself in. I now have two grown children and another who is halfway grown and I am just now wising up! Sometimes I am a slow learner.

My job was never to keep them from experiencing pain. All that did was make me feel like a bad mom, riddled with guilt. My job was to give them tools and resources  and ways to deal with the blows that come. Today is going to be a hard day for one of my kids. Today we will walk through something that none of us expected or have experienced. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. You see, it isn’t my life, it is my child’s life. They get to call the shots. It was also never my job to make their decisions for them or to control what they did. I should have learned that lesson a lot sooner as well. That would have helped me and them as well. I should have never been trying to control things, I should have just been giving tools and resources and letting them do the rest. That is called living and learning and it prepares us a whole heck of a lot more for life than having everything done for us. This also helps the transition in accepting a LGBT child. I laugh when I look back and think of the way I had created some scenario for how my kid’s lives would turn out – like that was EVER up to me anyway! I have my own life to live – this one is theirs.

To be honest, I do wish I could have protected my child from the pain that has led up to today. Because the truth is, when they hurt, we hurt. I must come to grips with the fact that I could not protect them. I had no way of knowing, none of us did. It is back to this simple equation: it is not my life to live, but theirs. I can just hope that I have given enough tools and resources and must let it go. I can not live their lives – they must do that.

My job now is to come and stand beside them in the joy and in the pain. I no longer have the role of provider and guardian. It can be very freeing for all of us really if we transition. The relationship changes, but that isn’t a bad thing. It can be a very good thing. It will never be OK with me to see my children hurting, but I know that it is called living. And they are all three doing a damn good job of it and I am one proud Mama!





Parents

7 01 2013

Being a parent is not easy task… I once heard a comedian say “If it was going to be easy, it wouldn’t start with something called labor!” I have learned so much from my kids though, more than I probably actually taught them. I have had to deal with my own “stuff” in order to put them first and be the best parent I could be, which to be honest, was quite lacking at times. There are no perfect parents – and those who think they are, are probably far worse than the rest of us!

My friend, who is a therapist, told me once that if a couple comes into her office and claim that they never fight then she knows she will really have A LOT of work to do with them. It is normal to have conflict in relationships, even healthy. If there is no conflict, then one of the people in the relationship is not using their voice. I think from this perspective that it is ok if a parent struggles with their kid’s coming out. I mean one thing we tend to forget is that by the time a child comes out to their parents, they themselves have already had a lot of processing time. I would like to think that most parents come around, even if it takes a bit of time. I know there are sad exceptions to this rule, but it is true for most of us. We just need a bit of information and someone to tell us things like “get your head out of the gutter and quit thinking of sex!” and we will remember that this is OUR child. The one we fell madly in love with the day we first laid eyes on them.

Love will usually win in the end, even if fear tries to push it aside, and maybe fear wins for a while. Fear may win the battle, but Love will usually win the war. We are in this for the long haul, the marathon – so ignore your sprint time. I will forgive myself for crying for two weeks when my son came out. I am now running the marathon and I don’t have time to beat myself up about my 1st split time. Want to run with me?





Another Step for Equality

28 12 2012

Right this very minute it is midnight in Maine. Right this very minute couples are getting ready to be married – Same Sex couples no less. It gives me chills. This next Tuesday the new law goes into effect in Maryland as well. 1/5th of our states now recognize marriage for ALL couples – that is 10 out of 50 states. It is very exciting indeed.

I hate to always harp on the same thing – but I often find myself going back mentally to how far I have come in my beliefs of equality. I used to be such a bigot. I never considered it a Civil rights issue – only a moral one. I felt these people were disobeying God himself – so why should they receive the privilege of marriage. It should be upheld for those of us who were obeying the heavenly Father and living a moral life. What a farce – it is just still so embarrassing to me that I thought that way. So, prideful and high and mighty – considering myself so much more moral simply because I was born straight. I know I have apologized – but I must do it just one more time. I want to apologize for all of the people who have hurt you – openly and behind your back. All of the people who have considered themselves closer to God – more in sync with Him – simply because of who you love.

I feel like I want to write the exact words that would get the religious right’s attention. I feel a burden to do so. Yet, I know realistically that until they are ready within themselves to receive the truth, my words are not going to matter. I will put my energy into something that can be useful. I will hug the brokenhearted, I will be an adopted parent to those who are parentless, I will love as much as I can and continue to speak up and share my story with any who want to hear it.

I will rejoice – rejoice right now with the couples who have been waiting many years for the chance to publicly embrace the one they love. People who have paid taxes just like all of the straight citizens have all of their adult lives now have a civil right that the rest of us have taken for granted. It is a thing to rejoice and be happy about. One day at a time, one state at a time, one couple at a time.





Marriage Equality

10 12 2012

I am sure you know that marriage equality was passed in several states in November. These all have different dates that they come into play. For Washington State, it was this past weekend. Many places staffed their courthouses beginning at midnight. Couples lined up for hours to get their licenses. The images and stories were so touching. The picture that stuck with me the most was of a Sunday morning service at Seattle’s First Baptist Church. Twenty five same-sex couples were wed that morning.

As a Christian who is for Marriage Equality, it often feels it is an uphill battle and that we are a voice that isn’t heard over all of the louder, more prevalent voices in the Faith communities. It can feel discouraging. I think sometimes when you are in the middle of the fight, it is hard to have a good perspective of the big picture. I meet people of faith all the time with a similar story to mine. A story of transition and change for the better. I truly believe that we will see the day that marriage equality is accepted nationwide. I feel so hopeful for what the future holds!!!

 

seattle1stbaptist