I am the Mother of a Gay Son

rainbow flagI heard my 7 year old child quietly crying. Roberto was wiping the tears from watery eyes. I wondered if I should say something. “Give him a minute,” I told myself. “Let him have a moment. Everyone needs a moment to work through their grief.”

As his breathing slowed and tears were blotted dry, I asked Roberto, a sweet innocent person, “Are you okay? You seem very sad.” Deep breaths, interrupted with quick short sniffles. “Heave-ho,” his chest physically vibrated.
“Some kids said I was gay.”
“Gay? Doesn’t gay mean happy?” I asked, allowing him to control the conversation.
“Yes, I think so, but… they meant boys-like-boys, girls-like-girls gay.”
“Why did they say that to you, why do you think?” I wondered.
“I don’t know. One of them said that the color of my eyes were not like theirs so I must be gay.”
The adult in me simply said, “They are just uneducated, uninformed”. The feeling miffed person said, “Ignore them.”

Gaily, life went on. Mostly, Roberto enjoyed happy days, with many days trying to figure out what life means – only in a way a young child is capable of.

___

I heard my 12 year old quietly crying. Roberto, almost a teen, was wiping the tears from watery eyes. I wondered if I should say something. “Give him a minute,” I told myself. “Let him have a moment. Everyone needs a moment to work through their grief.”

As his breathing slowed and tears were blotted dry, I asked Roberto, not so small, not quite a grown person, “Are you okay? You seem very sad.” Deep breaths, interrupted with quick short sniffles. “Heave-ho,” his chest physically vibrated.
“Some kids said I was gay.”
Why did they say that to you, why do you think?” I wondered.
“I don’t know. Some of the kids think I am different. One day someone is my friend, the next day they don’t talk to me”.
“How does that make you feel?,” I questioned.
“I feel bad. I just want a friend I can trust, be myself with.”
The adult in me simply said, “Just be patient. Somewhere, a friend is waiting in the wings“. The feeling miffed person said, “Ignore them.”

Gaily, life went on. Mostly, Roberto enjoyed happy days, with many days trying to figure out what life means – only in a way a preteen is capable of.

___

I heard my 17 year old quietly crying. Roberto was wiping the tears from watery eyes. I wondered if I should say something. “Give him a minute,” I told myself. “Let him have a moment. Everyone needs a moment to work through their grief.”

As his breathing slowed and tears were blotted dry, I asked Roberto, close to being an adult, “Are you okay? You seem very sad.” Deep breaths, interrupted with quick short sniffles. “Heave-ho,” his chest physically vibrated.

“I don’t want to ruin the dynamics of a nuclear family. I don’t want to disappoint anyone,” Roberto emotionally forced the words out of rather strong vocal cords.
“Why do you say that?” I soothingly asked, already knowing the answer.
“I am gay,” he stated, voice quivering. He fell to the floor, emotionally overwhelmed.
I knelt next to Roberto, told him to always be true, true to who he is.

Gaily, life went on. Mostly, Roberto enjoyed happy days, with many days trying to figure out what life means – only in a way a close to being an adult teen is capable of.

____

I heard my adult son, laughing happily, content with who he is. Knowing his family supports him no matter what, a family who doesn’t judge him based on who he chooses as a partner, but rather a family who embraces his warmth, his kindness, his love, and his life, without conditions.

valuable values

i value my parents, and how they modeled what it means to be a good person

i value love, patience, understanding
happiness, health

family, friendships, relationships

diversity, freedom, independence

nature

warmth
kindness
smiling faces

children and cats

i value simplicity
living like there is no tomorrow
teachable moments
making a difference in someone’s life

i value laughter, loud cheerful laughter

i value quietness

i value rudy, liz, roberto, and brad

i value me, the mirrored me
public and private

i value honesty
open-mindedness
concern for humanity

kisses
caresses
and hugs

i value life

a letter to 16 year old me

Dear Daphne,

Remember to be yourself. Believe in who you are. You don’t need to be like her. Or her. Or even her. You have as much to offer as they do. Maybe more. And what’s so bad about that girl. The one over there. The one everyone seems to be avoiding. She’s just being herself. Just wanting what we all want. Friendship. Go talk to her. She will appreciate your kindness.

It’s not about popularity, but rather about integrity. So, just be you. Speak up. Talk. It’s not hard at all. Just ask questions. People like to answer what they know. So ask them about them. Their life. And fit in your life stories. When you can. When there is a break in conversation. They want to get to know you, too. They do.

Go out. Enjoy hanging out with people. Stop worrying about what everyone is thinking. Who cares. No one, really. All the downs will make the ups so much more rewarding. Remember that. Life is a series of lessons. Lessons to help mold who you will grow up to be. A person who cares about others. About life. A person who is a realist. Someone who knows anything can happen anytime. Anywhere. To anyone.

So simply enjoy your youth. Laugh. A lot. Out loud. For the world to see. To experience. Fall into bed each night knowing, there is so much more to life. Than being an insecure young girl.

♥ Love your wiser, more mature, experienced self.

ostracize

True story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

2girlsarguing

Abby was a nice girl gone sort of mean. And uncaring. Not intentionally but because her best friend lied to her. Abby had money. Money she had been saving to use toward an investment in a new purse. But. Her best friend took it. Anna took the money. And ran. When Abby asked her friend about it. Did she know what happened to it? Anna just said no.

But, then along came another friend. Not the best one, but the Second Runner Up, and she said that Anna did indeed take the money. Second Runner Up friend saw her reach in and take it. Take it and shove it into her front pocket.

Anna cried. Said no I didn’t. But Abby didn’t believe her. She believed her best friend just lied. To her face. And that made her angry.

So she started to hang out with Second Runner Up. Spent time talking with her. Telling her how much she didn’t like Anna anymore. That she didn’t trust her.

Abby and Second Runner Up told everyone. And everyone told everyone. So now, everyone didn’t want to talk to Anna. Anymore. They didn’t trust her.

So, Anna sat alone. And as she pulled the stolen money from her pocket she wondered if she’d be someone’s best friend. Again. Some day. Soon.

He Likes Me and I Like Him

rudy:me wedding day
Our wedding day was a simple one. We were wed in a two-story Victorian house. As my maid-of-honor, wearing a forest green knee-length dress, walked down the stairs, she was greeted by seventy-five guests. When the piano player played the “Wedding March”, or more often known by its lyrics ‘Here Comes the Bride…” I, too, walked down the stairs in a traditional white gown wearing a veil, a string of pearls, and holding a small bouquet of flowers. I was greeted by my dad. He walked me to the front of the room, giving me away to Rudy, who, I must say, was looking quite dapper in his black suit and red tie. Rudy’s best-man stood to his right, also wearing a black suit, and my maid-of-honor stood to my left. Our bilingual priest stood in the front, facing us, centered. When the ceremony ended, the small crowd was encouraged to eat the buffet-style food and to simply enjoy themselves. In the most relaxing way.

When Rudy proposed to me, it really was just a question intertwined among the many things we were discussing. Kind of like, “How was your day?” “Fine.” “You want to get married?” “Yeah.” As simple as that. Within three months of that should-be-heavyquestion, we were married. We’ve never looked back. Our decision was our own. So easy. So simple. So us.

When our wedding day ended, when we woke up as a married couple the next morning, we knew that our relationship, our lifetime together, was truly beginning right then and there. For us, it wasn’t about the ceremony but rather about what lay ahead. Good times, and difficult ones, too. Of course, we could only imagine what great times we would have, but there was no way we even discussed any not-so-great times. Why bother when we didn’t know what was in store for us? All we knew for sure was that we both loved each other, and just as important Rudy really liked me (and still does) and that I really liked him (and still do). Loving each other seems obvious but, what we know now is that liking each other is what has cemented our relationship.

Years and years after our wedding day, Rudy and I were walking along, hand-in-hand, when he said to me, “I love you. You are so good for me. You make my life so much better. Without you… I don’t want to think about it.” I responded simply with, “I love you, too, Rud.” Then he continued. “What is really cool, though, is not only do I love you, but I really like you, a lot! I think you are an awesome person. I like the kind of wife you are. The kind of mother you are. I just like you!” I hugged him, hugged him tight. “I really like  you too, Rud.”

Ah, Parenting

“Mom, will you come with me when I move into the dorms, when I leave for college?” Brad asked me this question years ago as he was observing parents carrying luggage and pillows up the stairs, into the massive buildings, in anticipation of ‘letting go’, helping their children start a new chapter in their young lives. We were inside the campus bookstore at the University of Arkansas, browsing, when Brad’s thoughts meandered to his own future.

I remember when I first became a mother. I was young! Yet, I was ready. Elizabeth was placed on my chest eight days before our 2nd wedding anniversary. Roberto popped in three years later. And finally, Bradford, a whopping 8 years later. Definitely planned, planned, and planned! I embraced motherhood. I was meant to guide (yes guide, not control!) these children of mine through life, to help them learn new things. They were  continually raised with focused guidance, making sure peace, love, and happiness were being absorbed daily.

Elizabeth began at a very young age (year 3, to be exact) to ask very personal questions.  You see, when a child is that young, she has no idea that her questions might be hard for mom and/or dad to answer. That was the beginning of my understanding of what a very important job I had been gifted to undertake. Not only was I supposed to help the kids develop morals and values, and simply love them, I needed to be there (individually, and as a group) emotionally.

I honestly feel Elizabeth opened me up, way back when she innocently, yet inquisitively, asked “Where do babies come from?” She taught me, in that moment, what kind of parent I was going to be. Neither of us realized how great the relationship between my three youngsters and myself would develop over the years. I simply listen, openly. In the end my kids like having me around, like my company.

So, when Brad asked me if I’d be with him, I knew he asked because he likes me. “Of course,” I stated. “Good,” he returned. “Because I want you to help me.”

x is for xenophile

I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a xenophile.

I. AM. ATTRACTED. TO. FOREIGN. PEOPLE.

rudy

Specifically.
To.
Rudy.

Mr. Honduras.

A foreigner.

Who was foreign to me.
When we locked eyes.

Long ago.

But not anymore.

He.

With his chocolate skin.
Makes me swoon.
His don’t mess with me dark features.
That can just as easily turn into a happy, feel-good expression.
And the silken accent that flows off his tongue.
Oh, how it weakens my knees!

Yep.
I am a xenophile.

Enamored with Rudy.

Bill, My Brother

Repost from August 3, 2011

bill and me

Bill died when he was 19 years old. He was in a car accident while traveling home from Desert Hot Springs, in California, with his best friend and a hitch-hiking passenger.

I was a sixteen year old sophomore. A young girl who seriously idolized her down-to-earth, friendly, always-had-time-for-me, artistically inclined, nice looking, wild-long-blond-haired brother.

I remember as a small child, Bill and I were one of the four youngest kids in our family that took day trips with our parents. Fun times, for sure. It wasn’t until I was in high school, though, that I really began to realize what an impact Bill had on me. Specifically with the way I saw myself and the potential of being someone special.

Insecurity ruled me during those teen years. I was so focused on worrying about how I was perceived by others that I forgot to just have fun. When I was a freshman, Bill was a senior. He warmed my heart, pushed my I’m an awesome person button, simply by acknowledging my presence as he was walking within my vicinity. He would literally stop, his group of friends in tow, approach me, smile, say hi, and hug me before he continued his journey. So simple. Yet, so rewarding. He pumped up my confidence.

When two police officers walked up the drive, onto our unpaved, pebble-filled porch I was lounging on an aging, wooden outdoor chaise. Interesting, I thought. “What did one of my brothers do now?” I asked, jokingly. “Do you know Bill Palmer?” one of them asked me. Or maybe he used his full name, William. I can’t remember. Anyway, my heart skipped a beat. “Yeah, he’s my brother,” I responded quietly. At this point I began wondering if maybe they should be talking to my parents, not me. I was a too-young girl that loved her brother more than he ever knew. “He was in a car accident. He was killed,” the officer stated, without much emotion.

Did I hear right? My heart was beating so fast. I stumbled out of the chair, fell into the house and tried with all my might to scream, to alert my mom and dad that I needed them. “What is it?” my mom asked, or maybe it was my dad standing next to me. I’ve lost that memory. “There are some cops out there, saying Bill died,” I choked out. Their eyes grew wide, yet they seemed confused. I re-opened the front door without a word and pushed them towards the officers.

Life was a blur for quite a while after that. School needed my attention but I couldn’t even stay in my music class, to learn the graduation song for the upcoming graduates. It made me cry. I left the room. My brother, Kit, just watched me leave. I could see in his eyes he was hurting, too. The music teacher didn’t object when I quietly left the classroom, tears gently rolling down my cheeks. I don’t even remember what I did after that. Maybe I just left, walked the mile home. People were very kind, but I was so wrapped up in trying to figure out Why? Why did Bill have to die? that I didn’t let them in to console me.

I lost a very important person, someone who helped form the way I think, the way I am today. Sadly, he never knew. All I can believe is that he watches me, sees I’m doing fine. He’s everywhere. Even in some of the behaviors of my kids, especially in Roberto. He’s in artwork I see framed around my world. He’s in friendships I observe, especially the friend who is extremely charismatic, and in stories I read about brothers caring about sisters, sisters caring for brothers.

Here I sit, thinking about Bill, my brother. I am fortunate to have had someone very special in my life, someone who travels in my thoughts, reminding me to make the most of everything, and to take nothing for granted. Daily, I take the time to slow down, live in the moment, to observe my world, and appreciate the good things.

furballs

cassandra

skyler

kitties
cats

twins
fraternal

cassandra is dark chocolate brown
and
skyler is layered with a multitude of hues

both have green eyes

cassandra is an extrovert
knocking books off laps
looking for a comfortable place to rest

skyler is an observer
standing back
watching
occasionally
tucking herself in next to those who love her

girls:garageDoor

early in the morning
when the day is beginning
the girls
wait
for the garage door to open
just enough
for them
to peek out
before
spending their day
exploring
the
wonders of the world