May 3, 2010

My mom has two mottos that, according to her, are the cornerstones for living a happy, healthy and productive life:”Remember who you are.” and “Make good choices.” Whenever I left the house, no matter what age or where I was going and no matter who I was with, she’d peek her head out the front door and yell out her two mantras to me. Being a snot who, by code is supposed to be mortally embarrassed by his parents and everything they say and do, I’d go about my business, trying not to let her unsolicited advice echo in my ears. But not matter how hard I tried to ignore it, her words seems to follow me wherever I went and influence whatever I did.

They were there when I was seven years old, stuck playing pee-wee baseball. My dad, doing what dad’s do with their sons, enrolled me in the local league, not realizing that I’d rather be on the sidelines in a mini skirt and a set of pom poms than stuck in right field in a pair of polyester pants, wearing a smelly leather glove. After I’d had enough of screaming and flinching whenever a ball was thrown my way or complaining that all the bats were too heavy for me to hold, I called my coach. “Sorry, coach,” I said with the courage only a clueless pre-pubescent could muster, “but I think my life is too short to waste it playing baseball.”

They helped me decide not to allow the Big Man On Campus cheat off my trigonometry homework in high school. When I transferred to a public high school from a small private middle school, I quickly learned that I had a social disease that even alienated me from the band geeks. When the BMOC nudged me in trig class one day, lamenting that he hadn’t studied for our quiz and he’d really appreciate it if I’d share my answers with him, I knew I had an important decision to make. I could let him cheat and, hopefully, weasel my way from social ostricization into the mainstream of high school pop culture or refuse his request and face the consequences. I chose the latter, and even though I spent the next year eating lunch by myself and spending every weekend with my younger cousin, Laura, I knew I had made the right decision. My choice was confirmed when, later that year, the BMOC and the lemming he scammed into letting him cheat, were caught, failed the course and had to attend summer school to make up for the lost credits.

And mom’s words were with me when, at the age of twenty, I sat across from Homo Honey in her dorm room and uttered the words “I’m gay” for the very first time.
But it never occurred to me that mom’s advice also applied to her.

My mom was always a die-hard Republican and social conservative. Although she loved her gay son, moi, and her gay brother, I’m sure she still believed in traditional marriage and, what I call, Rush Limbaugh values. She was even a regular contributor to a local radio program that lambasted Liberals and threw around the word “socialism” as often as Papa Smurf said “smurfy”. But that all changed two years ago when mom agreed to attend Atlanta’s annual Human Rights Campaign dinner.

At the dinner, we sat at a table with three other same sex couples and a single woman who seemed close to mom’s age; they sat next to one another. At one point in the evening, a young gay man approached the podium and delivered his story of surviving the social Darwinic halls of high school. As he spoke the woman beside mom started crying. Always prepared, mom pulled a Kleenex from her purse and passed it to her crying neighbor. They shared a few words then I saw a single tear fall from mom’s cheek, too.
Afterwards, we attended a post-dinner cocktail party where mom seemed to disappear for minutes at a time. Thinking she was going to the bathroom or topping off her cocktail, we thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until we arrived home that she told us where she’d been and what caused that tear.

The woman sitting next to mom was the young speakers mother. When mom gave her the Kleenex the woman told her that she’d loved her son so much, but had wasted too many years trying to change him because that’s what she thought God wanted her to do. And her disappearances at the cocktail party were to conference with a young man on how and when to come out to his mother. Her advice was just to tell her because mother’s always know. As mom finished her stories, she wiped fresh tears from her cheeks and pronounced “I think it’s time for me to rethink my political affiliations.”

And that’s not all she rethought.

Not only is mom a staunch Democrat now, bordering on Liberalism, she’s also become infamous in the hometown for calling into that radio program, promoting high taxes, gay marriage and universal healthcare.

Thanks, mom for remembering that you’re the proud parent of a gay child and for making the good choice to support him in everything he does.

My advice to mom: I have no advice for you, mom, as you are a perfect parent and friend.

My advice to everyone else: Be very jealous of me because I have my mom as a parent, and you don’t.


15 Responses to “Mom”

  1. marsha Says:

    Michael, Thanks for the best Mothers Day gift you have ever given me. Raising you has been my privlidge. And I will always remember who you are, and that is, a great son. Love Mom

  2. Lauren Says:

    What a great Mother’s Day gift, Michael! Nice job, Michael’s Mom!

  3. homo honey Says:

    Thanks for letting me share your mom all of these years. She taught me about curling my eye winkers and making the perfect cream cheese dip. She is an inspiration to me as I raise my Zoe-I think of your mom when I say “I am letting Zoe discover who she is-not what I want her to be.”

    Marsha, I love you, SA-WEEEETIE.

    • masha Says:

      Dear Homo Honey, Having you as Michael’s best friend has been a gift to me. Keep curling those eye winkers.Thanks for your reply, it brought a tear to my eye. Love Marsha

  4. […] time for who I love most. Beside my mother, whose awesomeness I’ve already covered in Mom, the blessed honor of favorite family member goes to UJR. Although two people, my mom’s […]

  5. […] night at dinner, my mom (for more information on her, read Mom) knew something was up. After a few rounds of her asking me what was wrong and me saying nothing, […]

  6. Jaylon Says:

    That’s way more clever than I was epexcintg. Thanks!

  7. […] stare and then “I don’t care.” I guess Menstrua never received a valuable piece of advice Mom gave me when I was ten years […]

  8. […] with my Mom, my Homo Honey and my Superhero Boyfriend, everyone reading this should be insanely jealous. […]

  9. […] crisis, but when Beanie Babies (BB) burst on to the retail scene in the final months of 1993, Mom went cray cray for them. And I’m talking CRAY […]

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