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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Question A Parent Never Wants to Hear...Or Answer!!

  

    There are so many moments, completely unexpected conversations, that happen as a parent. I remember, before becoming a parent, how I worried about trivial things. Would my child be gay just because she is being raised by two gay parents? Nope. When Senia Mae was four she sat both of us down, worried that she was going to break our hearts with her heavy news, and said, Mamas, I'm going to marry a boy. What? That is the news? I thought she was going to admit she shoved a Barbie dress down the toilet. We told her, you love who you love and it doesn't matter if its a girl or a boy, but thanked her for being honest. Inside, I let out a sigh of relief as I crossed worry number one off the list.



    Since then, there's been a million times that worries, ones that used to keep me up at night, have gotten turned around on me. Sometimes I just have to laugh at how silly my old worries seemed. This year in school our daughter had the sex class. We always said she could ask us anything, we'd answer any questions she had. What did she come up with? Mama, how many people have you slept with? Oh, the innocence. The redness in my face matched the glass of wine I spilled all over the dinner table as I fumbled for the right words, not wanting to lie, but... isn't there an option B? My answer began with well, mine was a crooked path, I didn't know what being gay was....  Y'all, this parenting thing, I had no idea.

    This week, one of her theater friends is watching Heartstopper on Netflix. We sat down as a family and watched the first three episodes. I am so proud of Netflix for airing a show like this and what our new world has become. Heartstopper is a series about a gay high school boy who has a crush on a rugby player. There are scenes where the two boys are hesitant about texting each other, showcasing the awkwardness of communication in teenage years, as they type and delete, type and delete. When they finally get the courage to touch, their pinky fingers barely glancing each other as they attend a 16th birthday party, they show cartoon fireworks and exploding flowers around the boys' hands. I never imagined I would live through a day where I felt it was appropriate for me to explain to my twelve-year-old that those kind of sparks happen with straight people, too! Wow. My old list of worries? I can hardly remember what they were. But how proud I am of the new stuff, the real stuff.

    Sixth grade had been a little harder on Senia Mae than previous years at school. She got into band and a theater group as well as being in gifted and accelerated classes. When she started coming home with some Bs on her report card, Kim and I said we would accept those grades as long as it was the best she could do. Senia Mae claimed she was doing her best, but when Kim upped the ante, saying that if her final report card had all As she would buy her an Apple watch... suddenly, everything changed. I learned that effective parenting is not about just dangling a carrot, but dangling the right carrot. Again, who knew? Senia Mae bolted down the stairs to the house, proud as a peacock as she talked into her new Apple watch. Siri, call Mama, she said, a smile overtaking her entire faceSiri's reply? Which one? My chest became so big, full of all the love pouring into it. 

    I know this one little snippet isn't going to be the answer to all of my problems, or even a smidgeon of the world's problems, but at this moment, all is right in my sphere. I love this crazy world we live in, I love this kid, and now, I love you Siri!

    

4 comments:

Maria said...

I find myself constantly reading about other parent's experiences. And it is fascinating how we all struggled with same stuff.

Kim C. said...

This was such great timing for this article. My daughter who is 16 is in her first serious relationship and she is totally in love with another girl. Parenting through this has been more difficult because she tends to be very closed off. My oldest son did not come out until his first year of college, my middle son is straight, and Olivia feels she may be attracted to both sexes, which she has just revealed to me in the last few months. Helping each child navigate through the ups and downs of relationships has looked a bit different for each one. You and Kim continue to inspire me as I watch from afar you parent in such a fun, loving way and really demonstrate that love, kindness, and a healthy relationship is what matters with whoever you love.

mimi said...

Sounds like you're raising an amazing daughter!

Alli Kirby said...

We always say "you love whoever makes your heart feel the most", because thats the point, isn't it... to feel real feeling, real love. Beautiful story, and you two are GREAT parents!