Happy Mother's Day, mother lovers!
I’m not always an awful human being. I have a softer side. This month I want to talk about what it means to be a parent in our community. For our kids, it’s kind of a crap shoot. Some people will be accepting, some will not. We have to raise them to be compassionate and strong enough to endure the verbal daggers that may get thrown at them. I’ve raised my daughters to have a quick wit, and they do not disappoint. My oldest daughter reads O&AN, and she says of my column, “You’re not funny. I don’t know why anyone would read that.” She keeps me humble.
I’ve gone round and round about how to word this month’s column. I want to say thank you to my girls. You’ve made me who I am today. I knew nothing of the world until I met you. I realized the first time I laid eyes on my daughters that I had never actually, really known what it was to love another person. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t give them or do for them.
When I started coming to terms with my sexuality, I was most worried that they would suffer because I was their mom. I was worried that I had let them down by not being “normal”: the thought that who I am could impact them socially at school was a heavy burden. To their credit, both of my girls were happy when I came out to them. My oldest daughter judges the crap out of anyone who wants to date me, and my youngest daughter revels in making up rules for dating her mom. For example, “She must be able to juggle and have a pet dragon.” Good luck ladies! Unfortunately it seems like all the good juggling, dragon-owning ladies are always taken.
My kids also gave me the courage to come out. I wanted to show them by example to be brave, to be bold, and to accept who you are. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t or couldn’t love them through, and I felt that giving them the opportunity to show me that kind of love when I was in a transitional phase of my life would help them understand how deeply they are loved by me. It’s in giving love that we learn to receive it.
So many people go through life not knowing how to accept to love, and I don’t want my kids to go through life emotionally stunted. I try to be as open with them as is appropriate for their ages so they can see that people fall down and fail, experience heart break and let downs but also that pain passes, we learn from those mistakes and move forward. We move forward and become the stronger, better versions of ourselves we were meant to be.
We learn so much from our kids. A lot of personal growth comes from letting go of the idea that we are the center of the universe. We give over our highest aspirations selflessly to them, and we work to become people they can be proud of. My youngest daughter told me, “I love my weird mommy,” in her tingling bell voice out the blue one day and made me smile from my soul. She then spilled a slushy all over the backseat of my car.
I feel like that’s a great metaphor for interpersonal relationships: look at the sweet, well-meaning things, not the slushy all over the backseat. My oldest daughter set the toaster and a cabinet on fire this week trying to make breakfast for everyone. It’s important not to overlook the intention when examining the flawed execution. They have made me better at accepting others’ short comings as well as my own.
And that’s all love really is, accepting flaws and being inspired to be your personal best. Happy Mother’s Day to my daughters: thanks for making me a mommy to two badass, gnarly kids! I’m glad you picked me.
Y’all better act right, and call your moms and your drags moms and any woman who’s been important you. It’s not just about moms: let your partner or close friends know how much they’ve helped you grow as a person by giving you love and letting you love them. Lord knows we all need it.
Photo credit: Nora Cranfield