My wife and I were sitting on the couch watching our favorite TV show when our seventeen year old son asked if he could talk to us. He was upset about something so we turned the TV off and invited him to sit in the chair next to us. He appeared to have been crying. As parents it broke our hearts to see him upset. My wife took our son’s hand and told him he could tell us anything. I then told our son we loved him very much and we would always be there for him.
Our son told us he loved us and he never wanted to hurt us. We listened intensely as our son said with tearful eyes,” Mom and Momma, I’m straight.”
My wife and I sat there in shock. It was as if someone had hit us with a brick. I was feeling so many emotions at that moment. I felt angry and sad at the same time. My mind was racing with so many thoughts. What does my son mean he’s straight? This has got to be a phase. What does he know about being straight? What would our friends think? What about his future? Did our son even understand what this confession could do to him and our family?
My wife and I began questioning ourselves. Where did we go wrong as two moms? We watched over our son and loved him. Suddenly, my wife and I looked at each other in a horrified way as it dawned on us that maybe our son had been molested. My wife leaned towards our son, took his hand and in a whisper asked our son if he had been abused by anyone to have made him turn this way. We were shocked at our son’s reaction to our caring question. He swore he had not been abused and angrily told us that just because he was straight didn’t mean he had been abused. He only kept repeating he was born that way as if we’d believe him.
My wife just sat there stunned by our son’s confession. She felt a range of emotions as I did. She reflected on his childhood. She started blaming herself for not encouraging our son when he was a little boy to dress up in my frilly skirts and to wear my high heel shoes. My wife being more masculine, she just didn’t think about it. She knew in her gut something was just not right when our son only wanted to watch football instead of figure skating on TV. I wondered if it was because we had allowed him to play with those GI Joe dolls and those miniature soldiers instead of with Barbie dolls like the other boys did. He was our only child and we didn’t think him playing with gender specific toys could change him but clearly we were wrong. It was our fault. We gave him those straight tendencies. What were we thinking? We should have forced him to play and do all of the gay normal things that the other children were doing. Instead, we allowed him to express himself the way he wanted and now look where that got us. It got us a straight son!My thought was interrupted when my wife got angry at our son and she yelled,” What do you mean you are straight? How can that be? You have always dated boys and you never wore a single, straight piece of clothing in your life!” At that moment it dawned on me that our son had been lying to us for many years. I asked our son about his boyfriend who he had supposedly been dating for 2 years. Our son told us they were just friend’s who pretended to be dating. Our son’s “boyfriend” was helping our son pretend to be straight because our son said we’d never understand the truth. Then, our son told us his “boyfriend” was straight too. My wife snapped with anger. She yelled at our son that it was his hanging out with those disgusting type of kids that made him straight. They influenced him. My wife told our son he needs to stop hanging out with those boys and with help he can change. She begged our son to get help.
Our son looked at me and my wife with an intensity I had never seen. He told us he didn’t need help and again he insisted he was born that way. He even had the nerve to twist things we had said in the past to benefit his lifestyle. Our son said we’ve always had a family rule to never lie no matter what it was and he didn’t want to lie to us any longer. He tried to give us a guilt trip by saying he had contemplated committing suicide if he had to continue living his life as a lie.
My wife started to cry. It pained me tremendously to see her so hurt and upset by the things our son was saying and for something he had the power to change. My wife was a wonderful stay at home mom who spent so many years nourishing our son. I couldn’t imagine how betrayed she felt. Maybe things would have been different if I took more time with him and didn’t work so much. I know it’s important for a child to have both parents around and especially the parent who is more feminine to help set a good example of who our son was to become. Don’t get me wrong I loved my wife but there was no way she could has given our son what he needed. Even so, the fact was our son was choosing the straight lifestyle. It was clear he was doing it to hurt and embarrass us. What did my wife and I do to deserve this from our son?
My wife, unable to deal with the situation any longer, yelled, “Holy crap! Our son is a breeder!” She looked at our son and said,” I raised you better!” Before my wife left the room, she made it very clear to our son that she would never accept or support his disgusting lifestyle.
When my wife left the room I looked at our son who was still sitting in his chair. He wouldn’t look at me. He only looked towards the floor and wept. As I looked at him I started reminiscing about his childhood in my mind. He was such a sweet little boy who only wanted to please his two moms. He used to talk about falling in love with the man of his dreams and adopting lots of children. He even drew us a picture of the family he wanted. He was the perfect little boy with all of the normal dreams of every other child. I loved him so much. What happened to make him be this way? How could he hurt us like this? What did we do to deserve this?
With one statement our son broke our family a part and changed our lives forever.
My purpose is to try to show our straight loved ones and friends how selfish and painful our parent’s words can be when our gay and lesbian children come out to them. It is so easy as parents to only talk about our hurt and pain and forget to see our child’s pain. Our children in many ways are being forced to live their lives as a lie so they may preserve a parent’s love and protection. We as parents make a great point to tell our children to never lie and yet in reality we don’t want to hear the truth. Why do we send them mixed messages?
We, as parents, can say the most destructive things to our children when they tell us something that’s not agreeable or different than what we dreamed for them. Are we being selfish? In many ways we are being selfish but now that I’m a parent I can better understand why. I place expectations on my own child and do because I love him so much and want only the best for him. And yet as pointed out to me recently, what I feel is best for my son may not be what he wants or chooses. Ultimately, I as a parent have to let go and let my son live his life as he desires even if it is something I feel strongly oppose. It all came to light when my sister in law said to me, “I am not going to just stop speaking or loving my children because they are doing something I don’t like. That would be dumb.”
I’ve thought long and hard about what she said. I wrote this story long before my sister in law said that to me. After hearing her I thought about my role as a mom. Is it my purpose to raise my son as a carbon copy of me with all of my exact philosophies? Well, as the preverbal Jewish mom, part of me says, “Hell yeah!” But in reality I know that just isn’t realistic. I’ve come to realize how can I write a story to tell parents to put their expectations for their children on the back burner (even when the parent disapproves) when I can’t do the same? In essence my sister in law has chosen the path of “unconditional love”. And by her allowing her children to live according to their own choices and desires means she is allowing (and accepting) them to handle their own consequences whether good or bad as a result. How can that be bad?
I suppose my biggest fear is losing my son to a partner who will take him away from me and his other mom. Love has that power. He’s my only child and my fear of losing him is huge. I suppose this is where my past haunts me. I know my son is only 7 but I too have to learn to slowly let go. I have to trust my son will make good decisions for what is best for him. I have to learn to live by the philosophy I am requesting of other parents. Now, I truly understand how difficult it is. But as I am asking from others, I too must rememberto put my expectations to the side and to allow my son to create his own path into his own journey in life.
By: MaLea Shved Breland