Monday, February 28, 2011

This Way, Not That

A mother and child: who raises whom?


I remember when we were in the car, and you were talking about your son, and how you wanted him to be this way and not that. What “this way” or “that” was, you never fully explained, but I remember you emphasizing your point with a flimsy flip of your right hand. And that flip spoke volumes to me, because in that one small gesture, you summarized what it meant to be gay.

And I remember thinking how difficult it must have been for you to even begin to talk to me about this, considering how awfully hard it was for you to even say the word. Instead you flipped your hand again and again, knowing that I would know what you meant, because I knew where you were coming from, and because I knew your son.

Maybe you felt that speaking the words out loud would make them true. And you wanted so much for them not to be.

And I didn’t know what to say, or whether I should lie.

And so I said nothing. I wanted to hold your hand to say that your son would be more than fine, he is a decent, loving, caring human being who would no doubt grow up to become a fine adult, and this, this word you couldn’t even say, it doesn’t matter precisely because it doesn’t matter. In the general scheme of things, it is the least important of the attributes your son has been so blessed to be with.

And I wanted to say that I know that you are only worried about him, because he lives in a world that would no doubt think of him as abnormal, for a small trait that differentiates him from everyone else. And that your worry only underscores your love, but that it doesn’t change the fact that your son would rather have your support because, at the end of day, it is only when he accepts himself, and especially when the people he loves accepts him for who he is, will he be truly happy.

And I wanted to comfort you and tell you that you did not bring your son up wrong, he is a beautiful person, and that he is simply who he was meant to be. You could not have loved him more. 

Instead I remained silent, because, still, I didn’t know what to say, or whether I should lie.

And so we continued traveling, my thoughts a blur, imagining you in your corner, worried about your son in the inadequate and sometimes terrifying world he has to live in.


Photo taken here.

18 comments:

  1. L love this piece! It sopke volumes to me as a mother of two boys and the expectations and nonsense that we can put on them, even when we are trying not to.

    But it also spoke to me as a parent of a special needs daughter and how everyone so hoped she wouldn't turn out to be "diffrent" or "less than".

    I spent so much of my life trying to be "normal" or to fit in. I had to become a mother to realize there is no such thing and we as parents have no right to demand that which we can not accomplish ourselves. Thank you again for making me think. I love to read your blog.

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  2. Beautiful! I've thought before about what if one of my daughters grew up a lesbian and you know what? You are absolutely right.. it doesn't matter. Not one little bit.

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  3. Beautiful post.

    Before my daughter told me she was gay I had suspicous. In a way I wanted to know but then I didn't want to know.

    I knew the obstacles being different with physical disabilities. I knew she would be seen as different. I hated to know the animosity she would meet. However, I did not want to lose her so I told her no matter what,I love her and support her. Honestly, it is sometimes hard for me to see her show PDA to her girlfriend, its just not something I am totally comfortable with and I realize it is my problem. But I make myself think all that matters is she is a smart, loving daughter I always wanted. I want her to be comfortable with her girlfriend around me. A few weeks after she told me she said she was so relieved that I accepted her no matter what.

    Maybe it was easier for me to accept it because I know the feeling of unacceptance. I knew it was a moment that can bring us closer or apart. I didn't want to lose her. I thank God the way I reacted because when she told her father, he said things I am sure he regrets. It has put more of a strain on their already dismal relationship.
    Through the years I've realized that she is still the person I gave birth too. She is beautiful, smart, independent and loving. I've made an effort to know the girls she is with and take them in as my own. It makes me happy to see her happy. And that's all that counts..her happiness...
    I've followed you for a few months now and you either make me laugh, teach me something or confirm that I am doing right with my daughter. Thanks!

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  4. great post. Reminds me a bit of my dad really not wanting me and my siblings to be *emphasized hand gesture*, I don't think he has anything to worry about though really.

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  5. Lovely and bittersweet tribute.

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  6. excellent - what would I say? would I say anything?

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  7. Wonderful post. You have such a way with words.

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  8. that was EXTREMELY well written. it goes to show that when you write what you feel, amazing work will follow.
    Miranda<3

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  9. what a sensative expression of thoughtfulness :)

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  10. Indeed, we're faced with these situations when we're torn between sharing a risky truth versus succumbing to a comfortable surrender.

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  11. Should any of us attempt to control or manipulate any other person's choices or behaviour? Even the parent of a child? So incredibly hard not to, particularly when we think we see what lies ahead for them...but I do think we have to refrain...we are NOT them, we do NOT live their life. I feel there is a great need to respect the individual choices of every other person we share our space with, young or old...and if any of them make us uncomfortable...then that is down to us, not them. Beautiful and sensitive post, thank you. E x

    http://philosopher-without-a-cause.blogspot.com/

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  12. This is such a great post....it speaks about the worry, the love, the confusion...everything...truly touching.

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  13. That was a fantastic post. I love your writing style. You're officially on my blogroll now, because I would hate to forget to read you!

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  14. You talk honestly and openly and I like that.

    Unfortunately, mothers (and fathers too) tend to be overprotective in ways that could actually hurt their children. But they just can't help it.

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  15. I hope that this changed and that he did come to accept your truth.

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