I’ve been hit with an onslaught of parenting stories lately, more specifically, mothering stories. I owe this to my podcast addition, which happens to lean towards the heart-wrenching variety.
What strikes me in all of these particular stories is how Mothers respond to unexpected news. I should preface that with the fact that all of these stories revolve around kids coming out to their parents.
There seem to be two camps of Mothers (to oversimplify). One camp belongs to the Mothers that intuitively see their children fumbling about, trying to reveal something that’s uncomfortable; they stop them and say something like, “I love you, no matter what.” The other camp of Mothers also intuitively see their children fumbling about, but instead of creating a safe space they say something like, “I’d rather have a dead son then a faggot for a son.” This is an actual quote that only gets worse when you insert the very real image of a shotgun pointed at a 13-year-old.
These stories gut me to my core. How can a Mother reject her own child? How? It goes against everything I am as a Mother.
The worst part is that this 13-year-old, who is telling the story as an adult, still yearns for his Mother’s love and acceptance. The same Mother that handed him a shotgun after intercepting a Valentine from his admirer. The same Mother that told him to get in the car with the shotgun. The same Mother who did not speak a word while driving him out to the middle of nowhere. The same Mother that told him to go stand by a tree. The same Mother that pointed a shotgun at him and favored his death to the alternative.
A Mother’s love is powerful. In its purest form it can move mountains. It transcends reason. It is primal and raw. Try messing with a Mother’s cubs if you don’t know what I mean. Now, flip the coin and withhold a Mother’s love, you have the same profound effect but of the heart-wrenching variety.
People always tell me, “You’re daughter is so lucky.” These stories really magnify the truth in that statement. I’m not applauding myself for belonging to the better camp, rather I’m highlighting the reality that sometimes lies on the other side. Rejection. Heartbreak.Homelessness. Addiction. Self Harm.
I want to give that 13-year-old boy a hug and tell him he is perfect and loved. I want to tell him to do what he needs to do to stay safe. I want to tell him he will leave home for college and reconnect with a Dad that wasn’t around when he was growing up. When he can’t find the words to come out to his Dad, his Dad will stop him and say, “I love you, no matter what”. He will find an incredible partner and be welcomed with open arms to his loving family. He will never make amends with his mother, and this will affect him deeply, but he will find love and be loved.
I love you kid, no matter what.
-From a Mother