My daughter is gay. She told me about 6 months ago, but I already knew. She’s 12 and I was just so happy she felt like she could tell me anything. She lay on the floor in my office at our house, and talked about feeling sad and confused, I had my suspicions, so I just asked her. “Do you like girls?”
After that day, things flowed and we talked a lot. I always wanted to be super close with my daughter, my only child. I wanted to be like my mother was to me, never judgey, always seeking to understand me better.
I had moments in those first few days where I felt sad and probably confused myself. I never doubted my support for her, but I wondered how this looked now for our family. Would people be mean to her? Would people understand or change how they felt about us? What would her future be like? Would I have grandchildren… seriously, I wondered this. And she’s 12. I was leaping way too far ahead and making this about me, when it had nothing to do with me.
So I decided to bring my focus back to today. What could I do today to make her journey better? Easier somehow? It really isn’t hard. My daughter LOVES art. She’s an amazing artist and loves to draw. And when she showed an interest, I supported her. I brought her to Blicks Art Supply and I encouraged her to be an artist! My friends supported her and showed admiration for her work. Why would this be any different? All I needed to do was support her and her journey would unfold exactly as it was meant to.
And with perfect timing, PRIDE weekend was upon us. So, we attended our first PRIDE parade in Atlanta. We met up with PFLAG and walked along side other moms and dads with gay kids and we celebrated! There is so much to say about the day, but mostly, I want to say how important that parade is for people coming out. She was cheered on in a way she’d never experienced before. I saw her pain and worry disappear as she was truly allowed to be herself. She walked the parade route where thousands of people gathered, and cheered and gave her hugs and high fives all along the way.
And it was important for me too. I had a childhood friend who is gay come along with us. Seems like something small, but having someone there who has walked the path made the whole thing more fun. Sort of like having a Sherpa. 🙂
I received lots of special knowing nods from parents along the route. A few people even came out of the crowd to hug me, thanking me for being there for my daughter. Maybe they didn’t get that at home, and they were happy to see someone else was able to. And my friends supported me. Sent me messages about how proud they were of us.
But there was a part of me that was really sad. I LOVED the support from my friends and I needed it! But why was this so unique and special? Aren’t we SUPPOSED to just love and support our kids? Just like when she wanted to be an artist, or an Olympic lifter like her mama (sadly… that WAS a phase). Shouldn’t this be seen as just ‘run of the mill, what a mom does’ sort of day?Aren’t we SUPPOSED to just love and support our kids? Tall or short, artists or geeks... gay or… Click To Tweet
Not yet, but maybe someday.
Update June 2016
I wanted to give an update in light of the Orlando shootings this past weekend. My daughter came out to me three years ago. She’s still the great kid she always was. Since that time, she now can now dream of falling in love and being able to marry. I can dream of being mother of the bride (you know it’s a big deal for me over here!)
But there is still so much hate, as we learned this past weekend. We were so overcome with sadness. As a mother, I was in pain for the other mothers out there. I was angry that there was still so much to fear and I was reminded that, although every mother has fear as their child grows up, begins to be independent and flies out of the nest, I have something extra to fear.
So just as before, we decided we needed to shift our focus. Focus on the good that could come out of the weekend. Look for the helpers, as Mr. Rogers reminds us.
And we decided to focus on what we could change. Maybe it’s not directly related to the shootings, but we can make the world kinder and help someone and it all matters. In the end, is all connected. So we reached out to homeless shelters and found places we could volunteer and have an impact.
We talked a lot.
And we found healing in art, since that is what my daughter loves so much.
Helping heals. Small things matter. Love wins.