Once again, I stopped at Honey Baked Ham on the way, and this time they did have their most delicious ham salad sandwiches, which they were out of when I stopped back in December. This shit is delicious—as it should be for 660 calories for the sandwich alone. Who's counting?
On the drive, I checked in with my parents to see if they'd started receiving their daily hometown newspaper that I started for them as a Christmas gift. My dad said, "Yeah, those things come all at once, on Saturday. There's no room in the mailbox or the paper box for them. You can stop them." I guess the line dropped during the part where he said, "But that was a very thoughtful gift."
When my mom got on, she said, "We're really enjoying them, though. I've been looking through the obituaries to see if there's anything we know in them." This apple didn't fall far from that tree. Didn't even roll.
Before hanging up, I told her that my aunt and uncle (my dad's baby brother) had sent me a Christmas card and in it had let me know that their daughter had come out to them and that although they were a little upset about it, they still love her very, very much.
To which my mother responded in her inimitable way, "Well, it could be worse, she could have cancer."
I had to weigh that a moment. Let's see. Being gay? Cancer? Yeah, I guess cancer's a little bit worse. Bless her heart.
It always amazes me how parents say hurtful things, albeit often unintentionally, and things that make their child's sexuality about themselves. Things that can be so damaging if the child doesn't have a very strong sense of self. Things like, "We love you very, very much, but I'm upset about it." and "Well, I accept it, but I'll never be happy about it."
The right response is, "Thank you for telling me. I know it must have been very difficult, and I'm so glad you did tell me. I love you, and if you're happy, I'm happy." Period. No other buts. Unconditionally. If you're disappointed as a parent that learning your child is gay changes all of your hopes and dreams as a parent and a grandparent, deal with that without trying to make it the child's fault. They're not doing anything to you. You are the one who created all those hopes and dreams based on someone else's life. This is their life, remember, and you're the one who got it wrong. They are simply trying to live their own life authentically.
My response to my aunt about being upset about it is that there are so many things to celebrate about her daughter coming out at such a young age, a few of which are:
- It means she has grown up in an environment, where she can be honest about this with you. You should feel great about what that says about you as a parent and what it says about all of you as a family.
- She is not going to have to go through any more of her life worrying that people will find out and putting wasted energy into hiding it. You have no idea what a toll that takes on a person.
- Your heart will be opened, though it may take a while (and that's okay) about the diversity in humanity and all of its glory, and you are going to become a more open, loving, and accepting person. If you let yourself.
- If you truly love her unconditionally, and you let it, your relationship with your daughter has the potential to become exponentially closer. Again, because she is now allowed to be her true self around you and those she loves. People can't share deeply when they're hiding something all the time.
So back to the conversation with my mother. I said, "Well I'm just glad she did it young. So she doesn't spend a good portion of her life not being who she really is."
To which my mom did say, "Yes, I guess you made that easier for everybody."
I'd like to think so.
I was going to run a couple more errands, but they were on a totally different side of town, and because I feared I'd just keep putting it off, I went to work instead. I spent about four hours there, and got a good chunk of work done, feeling good about it when I left.
What I didn't get done that I really wanted to over this long weekend, however, was unpacking my office and getting some things hung up on the wall, such as my diploma, a couple of awards, and my year-at-a-glance calendar. Maybe tomorrow or Monday.
I responded to an e-rewards survey, in which, once again, my pet peeve was invoked:
I met Joe out at Flex at 10:30, where it was "Chasers Night." This was chasers as in "chubby chasers," not as in "drink chasers."
Brother and Bob were out, too, and the four of us eventually ended up over at CCs, where I haven't been in I don't know how long. It's been At least a year, I would say, if not longer.
There was a drag show going on there, but having been majorly over-served this evening, I can't say there's anything I remember to share about it.