I got to see my great-nephew this week. He was born in Belgium and my niece and her husband just moved back to Maryland. I was able to see him briefly when they were here for the holidays when he was just a few months old. Boy has he gotten big! It was so much fun sitting on the floor playing with him. I was able to get that wonderful baby giggle/cackle out of him. There is no better sound! If you are friends with me on FB, look for the video of us. And can I just say that I’m secretly loving that when other people tried doing the same thing I was…he didn’t laugh. It’s our special play time. Well…I guess it’s not so secret now (smile).
It seems like yesterday that my kids were that little. It’s incredible how slow the days are when they are little, but how fast the years go by. I find that sadness creeps in every once in a while when the realization smacks me in the face that they are grown now. The memories are so vivid that at times I forget that those days are gone. Have you ever caught the eye of a parent in a store whose little one is giving them a fit? When that happens, I tell them that although this moment is hard it will fly by and before they know it they’ll have a teenager. This is the easy part (smile).
Easy…should that word ever be used when referring to raising kids (smile). In April of 2008, ten long/short (it seems like both at times) years ago, I learned a had a gay son. The first 5 years were HARD. There weren’t as many resources back then as there are now. At least I wasn’t finding them. But then again, I had myself in a Christian bubble that I wasn’t willing to break out of at the time. And it wasn’t helpful AT ALL. It seemed that the only “help” I was finding was conversion therapy and the realization that I had done something wrong. Of course I know now that isn’t true. Thank goodness!
Just like I remember the little belly laughs of my son as a baby, I remember the sadness, anxiety and depression that he lived through as a pre-teen, teen, and into young adulthood. I remember his screams as we walked out of a psychiatric hospital while leaving him behind because he was suicidal. I remember the sleepless nights listening for any sound coming from the hallway when he got home from the hospital…and long after. I remember the morning texts when he was away at college wishing him a good day and the gut wrenching wait to hear my text alert go off on my phone so that I knew he was still alive.
Five really long, hard years, but things started to turn around. I got my hands on the book Torn by Justin Lee. I wasn’t ready to accept everything in it at the time. It didn’t take long for my thirst for knowledge to take me down several paths of discovery. I started reading material about the history of the Bible, the context of what was happening historically during the time it was written, the political climate throughout history, the medical discoveries, the original language within the clobber passages. But most of all, God opened my eyes to how big He is and how much He loves us. All of us.
I have watched my child blossom into a confident young man. He is so outgoing (we used to think he was shy)! He has great friends all over the United States. He is happy. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that!
I never for one minute thought that he chose to be gay. Unfortunately, I did think it was a product of something that happened along the way and needed to be fixed. I’m so glad to have outgrown that thinking. I’m so glad that God plucked me from the mess. It’s made me a better person.
I can look at this anniversary with thankfulness now. It’s stretched me out of my comfort zone in so many good ways. I look forward to walking this journey with the amazing parents and LGBTQ people who I’ve met along the way. My life is so much richer with them in it.
I love the double rainbow pictures. I see it as the LGBTQ community and the allies that have their back. You don’t have to walk this road alone. I look forward to the next 10 years. I look forward to spreading the message that you matter and you are loved.
Because love matters…