During a toast at my wedding, I tried explaining the love and admiration I have for my parents. I broke up and just didn’t get it out. I tried telling people at their 50th wedding anniversary, and I broke up again. Maybe I can tell you all here.
I could not have been an easy child, or adolescent for that matter. My mother tells me that as an infant I didn’t like to be held. I wonder what I “knew” then. But because of a lot (or too much) self reflection I can tell you this. (I don’t assume to speak for all gay people, but I suspect there are common themes/feelings.)
As a child I knew something about me was different. I was overly sensitive, overly needy. I know now that I was terrified of my father. It may have been that he was male and may have “known.” I ran from him hoping he would never see the difference in me and reject me for it. And as I remember, all I see is him trying again and again to find some common ground between us. As much as I kept him at arms length I do recognize that I wanted nothing more than his love and approval. The remarkable thing to me isn’t that they always and without reservation loved, accepted, and supported me…they loved, accepted, and supported all of their children who could not have been more different that each other. Each of us took wildly different paths and our parents loved us all the same.
It is my belief that the fear of being “found out” and possibly rejected causes us, unconsciously, to push our loved ones to the periphery of our lives—close enough, but not too close. I fear that a little bit of this still lives within me today. Michael and I perhaps did not handle announcing our engagement and/or wedding plans to our families very well. We did it cautiously via Facebook…and in retrospect I think a little of that fear of rejection played a major part in how and why we did it that way. We talked about eloping, wondering if that would matter to our families. I think deep down this was so important to us both that we were not about to give our families the opportunity to disappoint us with a wrong reaction.
What we really did was not give them the opportunity or the credit to do what they’ve always done, love us.
Speaking for myself, Mom, Dad…you overwhelm me and make so many of my actions petty and small. I never did them consciously to hurt or exclude you. And the most important point…you never ever gave me a reason to believe that there wasn’t anything I could tell you or share with you that would make you feel any different toward me. This is not always the case for people. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been. Everyone who asks about the wedding has me babble on about how amazing you all were and are.
I have never met or heard of parents like you.
I love and am grateful to you and for you