Just wanted to take a moment to update the situation with my oldest son, The Sweet One. Thank you all for the kind comments to my last blog about him. It really meant a lot to me, to know that others understand where I am coming from :)
The situation is different now, but no less scary for me as a mom. February of this year, The Sweet One "came out" as bisexual. It was a scary time for us, especially for Hubby. I think we were well prepared for it because we had already been dealing with the bullying. At least it wasn't completely out of the blue. That would have been harder to deal with.
Originally, he told us he was gay. Well...he told me that anyway. I wanted to be cautious and urged him not to label himself at this age. Like I said before, our morals dictate our behaviors no matter what our preferences are! But, he felt like he needed a label. I understand that though. I understand the need to feel confident in your actions and even in your own mind. A label, even though it has the potential to be damaging, is solid and concrete. It sometimes can be used as something to hold on to when nothing else makes sense. This is totally not related, but I have used my title of nurse as a platform to stand on, and an identity to push myself to perform in situations I knew that I could not handle. It was the foundation I needed to help myself know that yes, I could do this difficult thing as a nurse, even when as a person it was too much to handle. I'm not sure that's what he meant, but that's how I understood it. For him to be able to stand up for himself, as a bullied person, he needed a place to start from.
He's almost grown. I can't make these decisions for him. I don't even think I can influence him anymore than I already have. I've done my job, I've left my mark. One of the things I have learned about and for myself is that the world is not black and white. Motherhood is muddy. I can have all the opinions I want about other people's kids, but it's not so easy when it's your own child. I'm here to tell you that right now. I would like to say that I handled it well, but the truth is that I did struggle. I struggled with my personal opinions about homosexuality (which were that it is a sin, but so is my mouth so who am I to judge?), I struggled with worrying that he was acting out the trauma of the bullying (he quickly set those fears at ease with a few stories dating back to elementary school) and I also, to be honest, struggled with my faith.
I'm still struggling with my faith somewhat. No, that's not correct. I am struggling with my faith "community". I have no problems with God. I have no problem with my son. I have a *HUGE* problem with other Christians' actions towards my son. Note to them: You are not being judged by him. You are not responsible for his actions, or preferences. YOU are not his mother.
I tried to keep quiet for many months about his orientation. I figured, it was his business and he will handle it as it comes to him. Mostly, that is still true. But, I find myself becoming more and more defensive as time passes. This is what I recently told a friend, I need my son to know that I love him. Period. I don't care about what others think of me for it. If I have to march in the Gay Day parade wearing a rainbow striped shirt for him to know that I love him....where's my shirt?? I don't care if my brand of faith differs from yours at all. In fact, I could honestly care less. I'm not asking anyone what they think about it, or what they would do, because in reality, unless your child is gay, you have NO idea what my family has gone through.
A very sweet older couple in our church recently came forward as having a gay adult son, whom they shunned and now are trying to re-connect with. They're advice was this: Love him. Never let him feel like you don't love him. Even if you have to keep your mouth shut about his life, his choice in partners, his choice in friends, whatever, make sure that he knows you love him and that is what is more important than being right.
I think that is advice that I can live by.
Since his announcement, he has taken the time and given himself the permission to "learn" more about himself, which is amazing considering I still can't decide if I like red peppers. He has dated a few girls and a few guys and has decided that he likes both, for different reasons. For now, he has chosen the label Bisexual. That may change with his life and experience. I may end up with a daughter in law, or a son in law. Both are wins for me, as long as he is loved.
For now, as long as he choses the label son and lets me carry the label of mother...that's all that matters to me.
I'm chronically late, I talk too loudly and too much, I don't exercise like I should, I complain a lot, I'm a terrible slob and a worse housekeeper (my house always looks like it was robbed), I make my kids wash their own laundry so I can have time to write, BUT I also love my family fiercely, I have a heart for women carrying emotional damage, have been a mother longer than I have been an adult, will do anything for a friend, am a beach bum, love God with all my heart, want the world to be a better place and want to write more than I want my next breath.