Posted in Life, parenting, Teenager

My Daughter Came Out As Gay At Ten Years Old

In Honor Of My Daughter and Her Courage

It came out of nowhere for me. My daughter had her little, neighborhood friend come over and they asked me to enter her room. She took me into the corner and she was shaking. After a moment she said, “Would you hate me if I liked girls?” And, just like that, my daughter had come out as gay.

Of course I was shocked. At 10, the only thing I liked was dogs and books. Of course, I also hadn’t started my period yet, so I didn’t have the hormones flowing through me that she does. I responded, “There is nothing on the planet that would ever make me hate you. And loving someone is never bad.” I then proceeded to name all the people that I’m friends with that are gay. And then I moved onto athletes and the famous. Then I moved on to people I just speculated might be. Just kidding, I didn’t do that last one.

Photo via Unsplash

I reassured her that no matter what she decided to do regarding her love life, her family will always support her. Beyond that, I really didn’t know what to do. For the millionth time in my career as a parent, I had no idea on the proper way to respond, so I did what I always do. I just continued to wing it as I went.

Tears fell down her cheeks with relief at my response. And she did it did it again and again with her brothers’ support and her sister’s support. One by one, she made the decision to call every family member and everyone was supportive.

So I called upon my best friends mother, who had been like a mother to me my whole life. She actually has been a best friend to me on several occasions and there’s no one I can honestly say I respect more. I remember introducing her to my own husband while we were dating, anxiously awaiting her feedback. She is a lesbian and I knew she would be glad to offer any insight that I could not. And I’ve never been one to feel ashamed if I need to outsource, especially when I’m at a loss. I was right. Even though she lives two hours away, she was in town the next day to handle any questions I couldn’t answer.

Photo Via Unsplash

She spoke with my newly gay daughter and also encouraged her to never be ashamed of what she’s feeling and never to hold back from her family. She reaffirmed that we would all support her no matter what she decided. She also reaffirmed that puberty was a confusing time in someone’s life and that if she changed her mind, then that was fine too.

My daughter vigorously assured me that, although she was not interested in anyone romantically, she knew who she was already. So I told her that I would be leading the gay parade as grand marshal since I am her mother and biggest fan.

No matter what her sexual orientation, people always find a reason to be mean. But as long as I’m alive they’ll have to go through me first. I will continue to look for ways to support her. She will not, as long as I’m alive, think she is any less than anyone else. Love is a beautiful thing. Why it matters to others so much is beyond me.




Posted in Life

Life Lessons For My Children

Life Lessons For My Children
Canva

Two of my children have already suffered the loss of one parent. The pain they felt from that was agonizing and left me vengeful. The curtain I had put up to hide life’s darkness from their little eyes had fallen off and I didn’t know how to fix it.

Since then, my biggest nightmare has always been having to leave them alone in this world before they are ready for me to go. I know the day will someday come and I hope I will have been able to ingrain the lessons they need to know about life into them by then.

Maintenance

As a property manager, I am continually surprised by the number of adults that can’t take care of basic maintenance in their home. I don’t want my children ever to be dependant on someone else to do things that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves. Despite what my daughter thinks, she is not a princess and she can do whatever she is not too lazy to take on.

Identity

You will not find your identity in another person so stop trying to be anyone other than you. Just because your boyfriend likes hot rods doesn’t mean that you have to. You can have your own set of hobbies, strengths, and weaknesses. Common ground will show itself eventually, don’t try to force it.

Complacency

Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. Don’t get complacent in any area of your life. Always keep growing, loving, learning, and doing. When we stop doing those things, our lives become purposeless. We were not meant to be a stagnant species.

Boundaries

I wish I had learned this lesson early. It is absolutely necessary to set and maintain boundaries with every single relationship in your life. Draw your lines in the sand and do not compromise on this. Learn to say no and to say no more often. Unfortunately, takers will try to take more than you are capable of giving. Not everyone has the same heart you do.

Choices

Every decision we make or action we take part in has an equal reaction. Everything you do will affect your future self and your future circumstances. If things aren’t going right, look at some of the choices you’ve made instead of looking for someone else to blame.

Emotions

I hope they feel the emotions that are offered them, good or bad. I hope they never think the problems of others are less than theirs. No one’s problems are insubstantial. Everyone hurts and bleeds and deserves it to be acknowledged. We also can never know what someone is going through on the inside. Not everyone likes to whine and throw pity parties on social media.

The less fortunate

I hope they will look at the homeless, addicted, and fallen, but only see a beautiful soul. I hope they realize that the gold plated veneer of the beautiful eventually galvanizes and all that which was shiny becomes dull. I hope they learn that mankind is not a currency to be used to gain status. Do all good deeds quietly and with humility.

Obstacles

Every obstacle or difficulty is put in our path so we can defeat it. Through suffering, we all become wiser and more apt to grow and spark change. The passionate and driven will always replace the indifference.There are many, many other things that need to be taught to my children before they will be completely ready to be good and decent human beings.

I don’t want them to feel any pressure, but the fate of the world just may be resting on one of their shoulders.


Posted in Humor, Life, parenting

Is Your Child A Hypochondriac?

Is it a bruise or is it a horrible muscle disease treatable with only the blood from slugs
Is Your Child A Hypochondriac
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He was born dramatic. Any little twinge of pain would cause blood curdling screams to erupt from his tiny newborn lips. It didn’t get better as he got older. Instead, the screams got louder and the fury unfathomable. I clung to the hope that maybe he would be a singer or an actor.

Before the hypochondria set in, he was terrified of external items and situations. Trains were the first terrorizing thing for him and he was sure they were all out to get him. No matter where we were at, if he heard a train, he would absolutely go ballistic. He would alternately panic and run off or just fall down in a heap of dead weight determined to go on no further.

Fall, and October specifically, were a disaster for many years due to his certainty that pumpkins were out to get him.

After the trains, it turned to the weather. Any ominous clouds meant that our deaths were imminent. Any weather at all was a tornado. The beach was not a place to vacation, but a hell on earth where hurricanes murdered people daily.

The weather stage seemed like it had no end in sight. Years passed and then, at eight years old, my son was told about WebMD. As you can imagine, this was my worst nightmare. I would come home from work to his pleading to go to the hospital. He had confirmed his worst fear by diagnosing himself with elbow cancer or sickle cell disease. I spent six months trying to convince him that he did not have AIDS.

This child is number three of my four biological children and holds first place for keeping me green at this mothering thing. Every issue or trial that he puts me through is completely new to me and never to be repeated again. It is also a new scenario for my own mother and any other parent that I have ever asked how to deal with his shenanigans.

Fast forward to now. He is a tall, handsome fourteen year old with a slew of friends and a sharp wit. He is confident and popular and shows no signs outwardly of the social skills I was worried about him having. However, he still wrestles with this hypochondria/paranoia. I try to shield him from as much as I can, but he finds ways to listen or watch the news. He alternates now between worrying about what catastrophe will shortly end all of humanity and what ailment that I am not worrying enough about, which will turn fatal any second.

I wish I could end this article with a statement such as, the extract of hummus ended up curing this! Or, his blood was low on orange juice and a quick infusion fixed him right up.

He is still a ball of nerves, but it has gotten better. However, we are both certain that I am dropping the ball on something. I told him that he has plenty of time to figure out specifically how I’ve failed him. He can tell the therapist when he’s older. For now, I will continue to make him safe and loved. He has learned to laugh at himself when he becomes unreasonable and I think that’s as good a place to start as any.


Posted in Humor

The Tween Daughter And The Chamber Of Chocolate

Literally overnight, I lost my child. Her love and affection seemed suddenly and completely lost to me forever. She went to bed a sweet, loving child of ten and woke up with a period and an attitude problem. I don’t want to trivialize this. It was not just an attitude. It was awful. I was not prepared for this.

My oldest daughter didn’t menstruate until she was thirteen, just like me. I blame my youngest’s excessive diet of chicken nuggets. Silently, nature declared defeat in the battle against my nurturing.

Suddenly, smiling was only for losers. And I was Queen of the loser club, gathering recruits everywhere I went. Everything that anyone in our household did or said quickly annoyed her to no end. I tried to not get offended by her sudden spurning of me, but my heart ached for the child I knew was now gone.

I called my mother one evening and was whining to her like I tend to do on most days. I told her I didn’t remember ever having an attitude like this or having hormonal rages. She scoffed and reminded me of how I treated her real quick. She also reminded me how I cried and literally stomped my feet at fourteen after being told I had eaten enough chocolate for the night. I locked myself in the bathroom for four hours after not getting tickets to the NKOTB concert, clearing delighting my parents with a break from me.

I have come to accept this inevitable change, but every now and then, I get a glimpse of my baby girl. Even so, I know the monster is just sleeping. I also know, as the mother of a grown daughter, that she will come back to me one day.

She will suddenly find herself calling me every day and missing the things she hates about me now. That is what is keeping me from despair.

I also know that by focusing on the growing pains, I am unable to see the masterpiece that is forming right in front of me. Through this suffering, a vibrant and brilliant woman will rise up ready to change the world.

In the meantime, I still have my dogs.

Posted in Humor

Helping My Children Grieve

Father swinging his children
Jude Beck via Unsplash

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is to raise four kids while helping two of them deal with the loss of their father. Although we saw it coming, it was still not something they were prepared for mentally. And I was not prepared at all to help them deal with the raw emotions that grief brings. The people I loved most in the world had broken hearts and I couldn’t do anything to fix it this time. I felt helpless and didn’t know what to do.

I looked up ways to deal with it and read all about grief and its stages. I spent hours pouring over articles and requesting the advice of family and friends. At the end of the day, though, I just dealt with it as I went along and I’ve notated what seemed to work for me. Unfortunately, too many children have to grieve before they should.

Memories

Encourage children to talk about their memories and the good times that they had with the person in question. Also encourage them to talk about the bad memories. Encourage them to ask any questions they might have about the death and what led to it.

All memories are worth talking about. Talking and reliving those memories as a way to show them that keeping someone’s memory alive is one way of honoring them.

Emotions

Validate any emotions that they may have whether it be anger, apathy, or sadness. Make sure that they know that there’s no shame in crying. It’s also important to let them know that there’s no one way to grieve and everyone does it differently. As for crying, it is better to let it out than to let it build up. It’s a release that needs to happen and it will happen one way or another.

Let them help

Just like adults, children often feel helpless in the face of so much emotion and grief and don’t know what to do. Seeing so many grown people crying is terrifying for them. If the person that has passed away was an immediate family member, let them be a part of the funeral planning as much as they can be. Or at a minimum, let them do their own memorial that they can bring to the funeral or service such as a memory board or garden memory stone. It makes them feel like they are giving out a final gift and saying goodbye.

Whatever they need

Some will become extra clingy and need more time with you. Others may become distant and withdrawn and need time to themselves in an isolated environment. Neither way is wrong. Encourage whichever way your child or loved one wants to grieve.

Fears

Talk about death and dying and their fears even if they don’t bring it up. Death is scary for anyone but especially terrifying for children. When they lose a parent, or anyone they’re close to, it really brings death close to home.

Your child may become obsessed with death and finding out what happens in the afterlife. Others might not want to talk about it at all but gain a sudden interest in religion.

No matter what your religion or your beliefs are, explain to them how faith helps people deal with death. I think that is the most beautiful thing about religion. It is a light in the darkness and makes it possible for you to have faith in something that you cannot see. To believe without knowing.

Time

As with you and I, time is the best healer and it’s impossible to explain accurately that it will get better as each day goes by.

Just do the best you can each day and encourage them to do the same. Reach out to a professional if you feel at any time that your child is depressed or may need professional help. It’s especially important to teach them that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it.