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In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to write a letter to my mom thanking her for the actions she took after I came out. I have never told her how much it really meant to me. I have decided to put this online because I hope it can serve as at least one model for a positive way to react. I do not speak for everyone, but I know for me, she could not have responded more appropriately.
I am writing this letter to say thank you. There are two main things I want to thank you for. Each of them has a story. The first is about you and Dad, the second is specifically about you.
It has been three and half a years since I told you I was gay. I know you somehow found out before I told you because you and Dad kept dropping hints. I remember that it was around the time New York legalized marriage because I walked down stairs that morning and you and Dad were so excited to tell me about reading it in the paper and the two of you were both so happy that it happened. I knew for sure then that you two both knew, but I still wasn’t quite ready to tell you.
The first thing I want to say thank you for is one of the first things you did right. Thank you for giving me the time and space to come out on my own terms, to tell you when I was ready. Thank you for working to make our house into a safer space for those few weeks between when you found out and when I felt ready to tell you. Thank you for making it clear that you wanted me to feel that when I was ready, you would accept me, you would still love me.
The second thing I want to thank you for is how you acted after I told you. This is the part that I tell all my friends when I share my coming out story. Logically so, when children come out parents have questions. Your vision for my life probably had to be shifted a bit. Thank you for not taking that out on me.
Shortly after coming out, I remember being in the car with you one Sunday morning. You had mentioned that you would be busy during the afternoon. Being the inquisitive, somewhat obnoxious teenager I was, I forcefully inquired as to what you were doing. Finally, you told me. You had a PFLAG meeting that afternoon.
Everything about that statement reflects what you did right, Mom. You had questions, but rather than putting them on me, making me have to be a walking encyclopedia and dictionary for what it meant to be gay, you contacted your old friend from Hadassah because you knew she lead the Indianapolis PFLAG chapter.
You sought out, on your own time, in your own way, the help you needed. Even you being hesitant to tell me showed me so much. You didn’t want me to know because you knew your questions and struggle was not about me. You didn’t want me to think even for a moment that you would love me any less, that any of your concerns or confusion was my fault.
You did so much so right, Mom. I am sorry to surprise you a bit with this and put it so publicly on the Internet, but I wanted to both thank you and use what you did as an example. You did what any parent should do when their child comes out to them; you showed me unconditional love. You recognized anything you were going through wasn’t my fault and you took measures to ensure that I would feel comfortable, welcomed, and loved in our family.
Writing this brings tears to my eyes: tears of joy at how fortunate I am to have a mother as caring as you, but also slight tears of sadness at knowing how many kids do not have that same experience. So I say again, thank you Mom for reacting so perfectly, for being so loving, and for allowing me an opportunity to write this and give an example of how to react.
Thank you, Mom. I love you.
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