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How to be Your Kid’s Hero.

I started writing a blog post about intelligence and women and I was super into it. Then my week started and I encountered humanity at it’s best and it’s worst as is generally the case in healthcare. And I got irritated because I couldn’t finish my post on intelligence and women because I was facing life and death situations that deserve some attention.

Do you know how many times I have Mom’s of toddlers sit in my office and cry because they are wracked with guilt that they don’t always 100% love being a Mom. They feel guilty for getting frustrated with their kids. I tell them fuck facebook. Toddlers suck. There are beautiful moments interspersed with longer moments of insanity. That every mom of toddlers feels this way.

How many times I’ve comforted Mom’s of teenagers as they lament the choices their kids are making or the pain their kids are going through and they feel helpless and useless and failures as Mom’s.

Then there are the those few and far between times…thank God….when I find myself comforting the kid. Because their parents told them to get out of their house because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. Their parents told them their family’s reputation or their religion will not allow them to have a gay, Queer, or trans child.

Having a child who is different is the moment that separates the mom’s and dad’s and the Mom’s and the Dad’s.

That moment your child comes out to you is the moment you get to be the hero in their story. 

That moment will define your relationship for the rest of their life. Every LGBTQ identifying individual remembers their “coming out” story. I’ve heard them all. The heartbreaking stories that end in pain, tears, homelessness…well those stories just never get easier to hear or witness or pick up the pieces from.

As a Mom I can’t imagine looking my child in the eye and telling them to deny their true selves or get out of my house my life…my heart. I just couldn’t. It breaks me to even think of that.

It breaks me to see the heartbreak in those kids who don’t see their parents as their heroes but who yearn for that day still.

As a parent yes it’s scary to have a child who is different who will face adversity who may not be safe. But it’s not a choice. It’s who they are. And this is your chance, one of the few chances you will have in their life, to truly be heroic.

Mom’s and Dad’s question themselves about not spending enough time with their kids, about putting their toddlers in timeout too much, yelling to loudly, and all the other things that parents do on the regular that literally will not cause any harm (for the most part) to children.

But do you question what you would do if your child comes out to you? If your child wants to be a drag queen? If your child wants a new name, new body, new voice? Have you truly considered that? If you haven’t you should. Because your response to that can be the difference between life and death for your child.

If you cannot accept your child, even though I find it unfathomable, please know that you may have sentenced them to death. Through homelessness, murder, or suicide. The other side of discrimination and the taking back of what’s supposed to be unconditional love is dark, ugly, and the deepest pain you can possibly imagine that some just can’t recover from…the wound is just too deep, too scarring, too dark to come back from.

You may only get one chance to be their hero.

Don’t blow it.

 

 

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Fear and Vulnerability

Vulnerability: (I had to dictionary.com this shit to fact check) So per Dictionary.com…

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; as by a weapon.

2. open to moral attack, criticism;

3. open to assault; difficult to defend.

Fear: Again per dictionary.com

  1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
  2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
  3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
  4. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
  5. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.
  6. anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur

I’ve wanted to write a post about this for awhile. But haven’t figured out how. Also sort of hate being vulnerable so the idea of writing a blog post about it made me feel uneasy. But it’s important and I don’t like being scared of something. So here goes.

I think we all know instinctively what being vulnerable feels like but we may not be able to put it into words. Hence the dictionary.com situation. I knew that it feels scary/raw/open/fearful. I know how it feels because every single time I tell someone I’m married to a woman I feel it. Which is almost on a daily basis. Think about how many times you reference your significant other and/or children. On a daily basis right? Think about how safe and secure and without hesitation you feel every time you mention your husband or wife if you are in a heterosexual relationship. Think about mentioning your children a hundred times a day to anyone. That you don’t think twice about it, and then maybe you share this heterosexual moment of kinship about their Dad’s or their Mom’s or whatever.

I don’t have that.

I tell people I have twins and they ask if my husband helps out a lot. I say I have a wife. Then I wait. I wait for acceptance or not. I make that statement and I am vulnerable to attack on my person and on my marriage and on my business. Because I do own a business. It is woman owned and yes Lesbian owned. So take that:)

But for real. That maybe 5 second moment that I experience on the regular is the most fucked up/vulnerable/fear inspiring/awe inspiring moment. And no offense but hetero’s you just can’t comprehend.

Every single time I talk about my family I put my safety at risk. I put myself at risk.

EVERY LGBTQ individual who comes out to any one at any time makes themselves vulnerable in that moment in a way that only a minority who knows hate and discrimination and murder can know. It can literally be life ending. Sit with that for a second. Freaking deep right.

So honor that moment when someone has the courage to come out to you. Because they may look cool and calm but inside they are waiting. Waiting to see which way you will swing. They are vulnerable in that moment. Vulnerable to fear, hate, and love.

I won’t stop putting myself out there. I won’t stop writing a blog post that outs myself and my family. Because ultimately though the word vulnerable makes me a little squeamish I know the big picture is more important. The big picture being that there are LGBTQ individuals who have died after coming out. There are LGBTQ individuals who have been horribly beaten. Yet they still walk the walk. They still talk the talk. They have embraced the vulnerability and the fear and given it the middle finger. I am happily and fearfully and lovingly joining them.

Rest in peace. All those who have died to be LGBTQ freely. PRIDE month in the USA for me means being proud of all those individuals who have stood up for our rights and died for them. We will carry on.

 

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Coming out to Nana: “But I thought you were going to marry a doctor?”

My Nana was 81 when I told her I was dating a girl.

My Nana and I go way back. Obviously. She met me the day I was born. She lived close by when I was growing up. She came to my soccer games, she brought me to the aquarium (a lot) in our state, she brought me to a casino…thinking back on that I’m kinda like wow my Nana brought me to a casino….that’s weird. She loved the beach, and we spent a lot of time there also. She hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was much younger, and my memories in her home are warm and comforting.

When I was in high school and I had my license I would drive to see her at least once a week, and I even made her dinner once a week for my entire senior year. We spent New Years Eve at her house with my cousins every year, and we vacationed together in New Hampshire every Summer. She was a major influence on my life.

She and I had fun together, but we also could just chill and watch movies together. We also could fight. We were both stubborn. When she started using her walker I remember I wouldn’t bring her to the movies unless she brought the walker, and she was pissed. But she brought it, and afterward she thanked me for making her bring it.

Watching her age and go from being so active to not, has been very difficult for me. Losing the relationship we had has also been hard. Because I’m not just losing my Nana; I’m losing a friend.

The older she got the less politically correct she became. Meaning she asked me regularly if I combed my hair (it’s very curly) and when I said no, just in the shower, she would kind of make a face like it was wrong to not comb my mane down. She grimaced loudly when I got a tattoo and asked repeatedly what I was thinking.

When I started dating my now-wife my sister was already in a relationship with a woman and out as a lesbian. My Nana seemed okay with it. But I remember being very nervous about telling her because I knew she would say whatever she felt. I was worried about being rejected because I don’t care about many people’s opinions. But I cared about hers.

I told her about my then-girlfriend and she said she understood what I was telling her but she didn’t understand why. She looked completely shocked. She said about five times that day, “But I thought you were going to marry a doctor?” I didn’t really understand that. I guess because I was a nurse she assumed I would marry a doctor. Weird. So I told her that my girlfriend was an EMT, not a doctor. My Nana was by nature very polite to everyone outside of her immediate family. So my then-girlfriend now-wife was welcomed with open arms and told to call her Nana.

For the first year or so if we were alone, she would ask if I met any doctors. I would remind her about my girlfriend. She would say “Oh yes, how is she doing?” Then after a year she stopped asking about doctors. Later, when I told her about our impending marriage she was thrilled for me. She loved my fiancee by then, and never asked about a doctor again.

One day in the Spring of 2015 we were sitting on my parents porch and I told my Nana I was pregnant with twins. She laughed and clasped her hands together, and said “Well you always do things big if you are going to do them, I’m so happy for you.” I remember the joy we all felt sitting together knowing the wonderful times that would come.

By the time our sons were born my Nana was declining cognitively. She might not remember what day it was or who people were- in fact she often called me by one of my Aunt’s names- but she always remembered she had six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. And she never forgot their names.

She met the boys for the first time on Christmas 2015 and she held them and made up her own nicknames for them and as they grew into little toddlers she still loved to watch them play and try and hold them if they would stay still. Something that made it special was giving one of my son’s my Grandfather’s name as his middle name. As he grows we all can see the striking resemblance he bears to my Grandfather who passed in 1993. That meant so much to my Nana. When the boys were about six months we were visiting, and she held one at a time, and the one who looks like my Grandfather just calmly looked her right in the eye like he knew who she was and was at peace and content just sitting with her.

The last time I saw her when she was thinking clearly I told her stories about the boys and she laughed at their toddler antics. My sons turned two the day after she died. My Nana loved birthdays and cake. I knew she would want us to celebrate them and eat a lot of cake. So that’s what we did.

As I faced her impending passing I stepped back and looked at all she had been through. To have not one but two granddaughters identify as lesbians and to be able to accept that at her age and with her conservative background is nothing short of amazing. No one in my family made a big deal about us being lesbians because everyone just wanted to be accepting, but when I really examine it she pretty much kicked ass.

All my young LGBT clients fear coming out to their grandparents the most. They think they are the most conservative and the most rigid members of their families. I thought that way too, and was pleasantly surprised when she proved me wrong. Minus the whole asking about marrying a doctor for a year.

It’s sad that my sons won’t know her the way I knew her. It’s sad that I lost a dear friend. But I’m incredibly proud to have her blood run through my veins. Because she taught me that even age 82 is not too old to learn acceptance. Her demonstration of unconditional love for her two granddaughters will live in my heart forever.

I say the following sincerely and with much love and admiration; rest in peace Nana.