When Frost penned the words to his famous poem, I'm certain the "road less traveled" wasn't the context in which I write today. That being said, I think the less traveled road can mean many things to many people. I recently had an epiphany about a very important part of my life: that of being a mom. Like many women, being a mother is THE most important part of my life. It's the job I've worked harder at than any other. It's also the job that I've probably screwed up the most. Even so, at the end of my life, at the very least, I hope my sons look back and realize that they were cherished. I hope they realize that, although imperfect, my job as their momma was THE most precious thing to me. Each of our children come with their own set of struggles and challenges. Some more than others. Out of my 3 sons, my middle son, Garrett, probably had the most uphill climb on his way from childhood to adulthood. It just seems like he always had a roadblock in so many areas of his life. Even so, from childhood epilepsy to dyslexia, he always seemed to rise above and find his way through it. But it wasn't until adulthood that he finally faced down one of his biggest challenges in his life. Garrett is a gay man. I won't go into his story in detail. That is HIS story to tell, not mine. But as his mother, I'd like to share some of the things I learned about being his mom. I won't pretend that it was an easy thing to process. As parents, we tend to picture our children having a traditional adult life, including a spouse (generally someone of the opposite sex) and 2.5 children. It wasn't until last weekend that I realized that I have not only processed Garrett's lifestyle, but have FULLY embraced it.
We were attending an out of town wedding with Garrett and one of his best friends, Lauren. On the way home from the wedding we were discussing marriage. Garrett made a comment that struck me. He said "I wish I weren't gay." I'd actually heard him say this before, but not until that very moment did it really sink in. He was being fully sincere. Despite what I guess some folks believe, gay people don't CHOOSE to be that way. It was one of those Oprah moments. Immediately my mind asked myself "Do I wish he weren't gay?". A year ago, I'm sure I would have answered YES! I wish he weren't gay. While I'd accepted his life choices, I think deep down I was still carrying a bit of sadness for him. Sadness for all the years that he kept this secret and the stress and fear that I know he carried around being unable to share with anyone. I wish I would have been able to help carry that secret and take the burden off of him. I look back at his adolescence and realize now that he struggled with happiness, in no small part due to this secret. I also had sadness for prejudices that I know he encounters in this world. No mother wants their child to be thought less of or encounter any hatred or bigotry. I once had a friend tell me that their child being gay was one of their greatest fears. Really? Not them being a rapist, drug addict, murderer, cheater, a bigot? There are lots of bad things a person can be. Being gay is NOT one of them. But this attitude doesn't really surprise me. There is much ignorance surrounding the gay culture and what it actually means to be gay. Anyway...back to my "Aha" moment. It wasn't until Garrett made that statement that I realized I'm actually HAPPY Garrett is EXACTLY the person he was born to be. I wouldn't change him one bit! For any of you who ever wondered or questioned whether a person is born gay, let me clear it up for you. Garrett was BORN gay. I raised 3 sons & I can promise you that Garrett was exactly who he is from the moment he drew his first breath. I would NEVER try to push my belief system on anyone else. Others are free to believe in any laws, rules, or sins they choose to. But for me, I know that GOD has given me permission and a directive to LOVE my children, UNCONDITIONALLY, just like He loves me. Garrett has certainly taken the road less traveled and I, as his mother, have struggled at times because I can't remove all the bumps in that road. But it's exactly those rough patches that have made him the man he is today. That man is one of the bravest, strongest & most loving human beings I've had the privilege to know. It's been my privilege to be his mom. So I guess that makes me taking a road less traveled as well. I'm the mom who is HAPPY that her son is gay & HAPPY that he has the strength to live his life on purpose, and nobody is more surprised about it than I am.