I am writing this nearly a year after my daughter’s admission and only with her permission. I do not wish to invade her privacy, I only can hope to help other parents understand that we should never turn our backs on our children.
May 2014. It had been a difficult year already. I was finally recovering from my bout with breast cancer, a BRCA diagnosis, a double mastectomy and my father was just diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor.
I was at my office and I received a text from my younger daughter. She asked me to read an email she had sent. She didn’t want to discuss anything about the email until we arrived at their apartment that evening. We were planning a trip into the city to see our girls. We are as close a family as you can imagine; we see each other at least once a week.
I opened my email and as I started to read the content the reality of something I had suspected on and off throughout my girl’s life was revealed. She. Was. Gay.
It’s hard to describe the myriad of emotions that ran through me as I read. It was that moment that so many dreams that I’d had about my daughter’s future were changed. I bet you thought I was going to say shattered. I will not say that – these were MY dreams, not hers. When we give birth of course we have dreams for our children, hopes that they will live a happy, fulfilled life.
Later that evening she explained that it had been about six months that she had been feeling this way. She worked with some openly gay women, she had started to develop feelings that she had same sex attraction. (For those of you who think you can control these feelings or that it is a “condition” or a choice, you can stop reading right here). She met a gal through a friend and it was then that she knew what she felt had been missing.
My girl had never dated a girl before. She’d had boyfriends, the last one prior to this for five years. I had thought they would get married and live the life that I envisioned was “normal”. I italicize normal as it is just societal conditioning to what is considered traditional, typical, the “norm”.
The beauty of my daughter’s coming out to us was the trust she placed in us to not reject her; to know that we would never turn our backs or try to change her. You’re gay, you’re gay. YOU ARE BORN THAT WAY. It’s genetics. You do not wake up one day and just decide to like the same sex. For a woman, it is genetically passed down through the father. Is there any coincidence that several family members of my husband are gay?
I was born with a genetic difference, I have the BRCA1 gene. Because of this, there was a high probability that I would develop breast cancer. And I did. Twice. This did not cause me shame or embarrassment because I am different. My daughters are both BRCA positive. Now I ask you, would I rather my daughter be gay or have breast cancer?
If I said that there haven’t been times I’ve been extremely sad I would be lying. But the sadness I feel is only that my daughter has to live in a society that despite great strides, still has zealots that denounce the gay community. I am glad that it is 2015 and not 1955, a time when coming out would never have happened.
I have read dozens of articles written by other parents of LGBT children. Some are accepting, some have turned their backs and many don’t even speak to their children. I look at it this way:
I gave birth to a beautiful, talented, smart and happy child. We have always been as close as a mother and daughter can be. She felt that knowing our closeness, she could tell us of this very big change in her life and we would never turn our backs. That is called UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. We don’t give birth to children to expect them to be WHAT WE WANT. They should be able to live their lives the way they feel most comfortable.
In an 18 month period as I have recapped before, I had breast cancer, a mastectomy, both my daughters were found to be BRCA1 positive, my father died, my favorite uncle died. And the thing I had left out due to her privacy was that my daughter came out. So in the scheme of the other things that happened, is that something to fret over?
My daughter is beautiful. She has an amazing job and is very gifted in what she does. She has good friends, a loving family and she is healthy. The most important thing is that she is HAPPY. Happier than I’ve ever seen her, she now knows who she is and doesn’t care what people think. Through this journey she has discovered much about herself and her past and I applaud her. It’s a great feeling to be comfortable in your skin and know who you are.
My greatest wish is that other parents can embrace their children for their ability to live their own lives, to not turn their backs and make this very difficult transition that much worse. We have children to watch them live their lives and journey on their own. Someday we won’t be here and those children will continue on without us. Wouldn’t you rather have your child remember you as the parent that was always there for them? Or do you prefer to be remembered as the parent that walked away?
I’ll take option 1.
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