Yesterday I found myself watching Dr. Phil. (Go ahead and judge me). I only got the second half of the show so I’m not sure what was going on with the first girl but Phil did set up an inpatient treatment program for her to help with her bulimia and alcoholism so it was pretty intense, I’m sure.
The next story was about a girl (20 something, I think.) who was gay but her mom refused to accept it and thought that playing volleyball (could have been softball – sorry for the lack of details here but I was trying to cook dinner so I wasn’t 100% focused) was the reason for her being gay. The mom was completely convinced her daughter had chosen to be gay and wanted her to get un-gay last week. The daughter has been in a relationship for 10 years with the same woman and the mom is absolutely horrible to the girlfriend – calls her names, sends nasty texts to her, etc. It was pretty difficult to watch and truthfully, I wanted to smack the mom upside the head for being such a bitch to her daughter about something that (I believe) is out of her control.
This story got me thinking to a night we had with friends about three months ago where we got on the subject of our kids and them dating, discovering they are gay, dating outside of their race, etc. It ended with a lot of loud voices and very different views and opinions on what is “acceptable” for our kids. First of all, let me say that I love this group of friends and I totally respect their opinions even when they are different from my own. Second of all, I was raised in a very conservative family and when I would come home from KU my dad would tell me I was getting “too liberal” for him. As I get older I find myself questioning more and more of the opinions/views I was raised with because I am discovering they aren’t in line with my own. Sorry Dad!
The first subject: daughters dating guys with tattoos. Lot’s of N-O’s regarding tatts. My parents were this way – they felt tattoos were some sign that the person rocking them must be a bad person. (Maybe they figured they were in cahoots with the Hells Angels, who knows?). And then they had a daughter who got a tattoo when she was 18 and dated not only one, but two different guys, who had full sleeves. Imagine the horror. But you know what? They were two of the kindest, sweetest, honest, cool guys I ever dated. And guess what? This girl has plans to get two new tattoos in the not so distance future. Sorry Dad, I like tattoos. I think they are sexy as hell on the right guy. If my daughter ends up liking them too, what bearing does it have on me? As long as she is in a happy, healthy relationship I don’t give a shit. The tattoos aren’t going to be the reason it’s a happy or healthy relationship.
The next topic we
yelled at each other about calmly discussed was dating outside of our race (not everyone participating was Caucasian, just to be clear). Here are my thoughts: I don’t give a shit if you are white, brown, green, purple, orange (unless it’s from bad self-tanner because I have to draw the line somewhere), black or red. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want my kids dating anyone who treats them like crap and their skin color isn’t an indicator of whether or not someone is a good person. All I care about is my kids finding a partner who loves them, respects them and fulfills them. I want them to be happy in their lives. It’s hard enough to find someone who completes you; I’m not going to worry about what color someone is or isn’t as long as my kids are loved and happy.
Our conversation naturally progressed to the topic of finding out one of our kids was gay. Now listen, there are about 15 kids between all of us who were participating in this conversation, so the odds are pretty good that someone in that bunch will be gay, right? This is not an easy topic when opinions are so different and everyone wants you to see their point of view and come to the other side, but it is also so interesting to listen to what people believe and why. I’m pretty sure you can figure out what side I’m on given my opinions on the previous two subject but in case you are no Sherlock Holmes I’ll tell you: I don’t give a shit if any of my kids are gay. Sure, it hurts me to think of the prejudice and discrimination they may face, but I want my kids to know that I will love them, no matter what. I will support and accept them no matter their sexual orientation. I don’t believe that their sexual orientation is “who” they are. It’s who they love. And who am I to tell them who they should or shouldn’t love?
I know everyone has very different views on who they want their children to date and I’m fine with that. I’m not attempting to change anyone’s ideas, values, beliefs or opinions, I’m simply sharing my own - I’m not saying they are right or wrong. I want my kids to find happy and healthy relationships, regardless of what that relationship looks like. Just like I want to be my authentic self, I want that so incredibly bad for my kids. I want them to know that their mom is always going to love them and support them and want the best for them. That no matter who they are I am proud of them. That I will love them through any challenge they may face, through all the parts of their lives – good and bad. I pray they will be honest with themselves about who they are, what they need from a partner and be willing to not settle until they find the right person for them. Because life is too short to waste on living up to everyone else’s standards. I’m just saying that all I want for my kids is to find true happiness. To find someone who loves them, respects them, makes them incredibly happy and completes them.
That ultimately, I wish them love.