Friday, August 19, 2011

A Mother Considers The Effect Her Post About Her (Possibly) Gay Son Has Had

Get some tissues.  Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 1.07.39 PM
Editor's note: Two days ago a mother wrote
a tumblr post about her six-year-old son's love of Glee's Blaine (Out's March cover boy, Darren Criss) and his relationship with Kurt (Chris Colfer). In the piece, the woman (who prefers to remain anonymous) and her husband pledge their unwavering support for their son, regardless of whether he ends up to be gay or straight or something somewhere else along the spectrum. I was a soggy, teary mess after I read it, and judging by the responses we got, so were most of you. After I posted my reaction to her story, she contacted me on Facebook (oh! the wonders of social media!) and after a few emails, she sent me this follow up in which she begins to consider the incredible (and emotional) effect her tale has had on thousands of people -- and the effect that effect is now having on her. For more from this amazing woman, visit her tumblr here.
It's 2:30am and I'm staring at my computer screen. In about four hours I will need to be up and moving to get my kid to school and myself to work. Instead, I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what to say a teenaged boy whose asshole parents are making his life a living hell.

My life wasn't always like this.

I wrote what I thought was a cute, innocent, little story about my oldest son and his love of a character on a popular TV show, and how that led to him telling me he wanted to kiss boys and not girls. I naively put it up on the internet, thinking maybe some fans of the show or the actor would think it was cute too.

12 hours later it had been 'liked' and reblogged more than 20,000 times.

24 hours later it was linked to main page of

36 hours later Dan Savage is blogging about it.

48 hours later the Trevor Project posts it on Facebook.

It's mind blowing. But more than that, it is heart wrenching. Because with all that exposure come comments and a full inbox.

I can handle the negative comments. People say my kid is way too young to be watching the show. I shouldn't be writing about my kid when he's so young. My jokes are in really poor taste. I can look at all those objectively and agree they have a point (even if I don't always agree with it.)

What I can't handle are 100s of people saying they wish I was their mom. 100s more telling me I deserve awards. And worse, people claiming I am a perfect parent.

I am just not that cool.
I work hard to be a good mom, but I'm not even in the top 25 of the moms I know. I'm that annoyingly loud mom. I've never even attempted to keep a baby book. I ska dance with my husband in the middle of stores when I get bored and make my kids want to die with embarrassment. And that's just the beginning.

But here are all these people online talking about how great I am. And what did I do? I said I unconditionally love my kid. Is that so rare people need to go out of their way to talk about how cool it is? I didn't think so, but now I am beginning to wonder.

Because the part that really breaks my heart are those messages in my inbox. The ones from kids whose parents have evidently failed at the most important part of parenting: Actually loving their kid. The notes are simple and devastating, and almost always end the same way: thanking me for loving my own child.

I write back to every single one, in my office when I should be working, in between checking email, and late at night on the couch when I should have gone to bed hours ago. Writing back isn't an option for me. I need to answer them. I need these kids to know I have read their words. That they deserve better. That they mean something to me.

It isn't all bad. A 14-year-old boy tells me he just came out to his parents this week. I write back to congratulate him and ask how it went. Then I sit with bated breath hoping he'll respond, and he pops back a minute later saying, “It went great!”

But unfortunately, the notes that make me smile and laugh are the minority. Most of them are like the one I am staring at right now. A heart broken kid who just desperately wishes his mom would just stop saying awful things to him. A kid who wishes his mom still loved him.

I'll figure out something to say to him, but I know it will not enough.

I want to live in a world where that silly little story I wrote is not special, but just an anecdote about a little boy and his love of a boy in a blazer.

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