Have you ever been stunned by something that you witnessed? I would imagine the answer to that question for you is probably a resounding yes. And more than likely it has happened on more than one occasion. If not, I’d say you might need to get out a little more often (wink).
The first time it happened to me I was six years old. I was in my pediatrician’s waiting room with my mom, one of my aunts, and one of my cousins. It was the type of office visit that strikes fear into all little children…vaccine (shot) time. When my kids were little, they literally asked me every time they had to go to the doctor if they were going to have to get a shot.
Well the nurse called both myself and my cousin back at the same time. You see he was two years older than me and they were going to use him as an example of how easy it was to get a vaccine. I can remember it so clearly. We each had our own chair to sit in and we were right next to each other. The nurse gently rolled up the sleeve of my cousin and said, “Ok brave boy. Let’s show your little cousin how easy this is.” Well instead of getting the shot, he shot out of his chair like his life depended on it. He was yelling and crying and literally running around the office while the nurse chased him.
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it was happening and even more shocking…that he was getting away with it. Another nurse then turned to me and said, “Ok sweetie. Let’s show your cousin how brave you are so he will come back and get his.” I took it like a champ. Was I scared? Of course I was, but I was a rule follower and I wanted to be brave. It didn’t work though. The other nurse was still chasing my cousin around. They practically had to lay on him to give him the vaccine. After everything was said and done, we both got a balloon. I remember at the time I thought that was unfair, but looking back I understand how traumatic that was for him.
Fear is a tough thing. There is fear of the unknown, but sometimes I think it can be even harder if you know what’s coming. I think that was the case for my cousin that day.
Earlier this week, I was greeted by a post on Facebook by one of my friends. A young man in her area was the victim of a hate crime. Both of his jaws were broken, he had shattered bones in his face, a broken nose, and his lip had to be sewn back on. Why? Because he is gay. Another friend posted that her son was beat up in a bar when the bouncer discovered he was transgender. And another posted that her daughter was refused the wedding venue that she chose because she is marrying a woman.
Unfortunately these things are nothing new to me or the people who posted them. Things that don’t make it on the national news. It’s a fear that we live with daily for our kids. It is really difficult not to let it consume us…or at least it is for me. I have to make it a daily practice to push fearful thoughts from my mind. I muster up the bravery of my six-year-old self. I know that living in fear isn’t healthy and it’s not how God wants me to live.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. And bad things can happen to anyone really. But those of us with LGBTQ kids live in this reality…our kids leave the house with a target on their back. I want my child to have the same privileges as straight kids. I want him to get a balloon too.
This picture was posted in my mom’s group today asking how we would title it. There were some really good ones. Some that were funny, some that were profound. The picture reminds me that sometimes we don’t know how strong we are until we have to be.
As scary as this world can be to a mom of a LGBTQ child, imagine how scary it is to them. They are the ones that have to carry themselves through it.
It’s why we should love whomever we meet and wherever we go…because love matters.