(Guest Post by Sandra, a.k.a. Mo’s mom)
To borrow a well-known phrase from a famous organization, I would like to begin by saying: “HELLO, MY NAME IS SANDRA AND I AM THE MOTHER OF A LESBIAN.”
At 62 years of age, I can honestly say I never expected to be saying this. But, after being introduced to this site by Mo, I wondered if perhaps there might be an audience out there to hear what one mother’s thoughts might be, especially if some lesbians have still not figured out where their own mothers stand. So this is my attempt to share my feelings with you.
Mo tells me that she talks about me often so I guess you already know some of the background. I was the oldest of 6, born in rural Nova Scotia. I became a teacher and taught in elementary school for 30+ years. I married Mike in 1974. Mo was the youngest of three children. I thought that we were just a regular family growing up.
Mo was the cutest little girl with a mass of curls and the biggest smile. As she got older, dressing up was not her thing and to this day, she is not one to wear frilly, girly things. Companies that sold make-up did not make any money off us. I still don’t wear any… not even lipstick.
When I received Mo’s coming-out email back in 2004, to say that it gave me quite a jolt would be to put it mildly. I thought that lesbians were all big brutes, lacking any type of feminine side. My immediate reaction was one of fear for Mo. In my mind, I could see her being attacked by those people who are less accepting of the lesbian community. I thought that I would have many sleepless nights thinking of her so far away from NS. And I felt such pain knowing how hurt and unhappy Mo had been for so many years.
When I think of my teenage years, I had friends – male and female – and we went to movies and dances… the so-called “normal things.” I don’t remember Mo ever going to a dance. To me she was happy studying and so we did not make an issue of it. I don’t know exactly when Mo realized she was a lesbian but now I know it sure made her teenage years rough as she kept it to herself.
Everyone should be happy and so to know that Mo was unhappy for so long still makes me sad. She spent so many years feeling that way. I never really spoke much about gay people until Mo. I figured that it was no concern of mine. My feelings have certainly done a 180.
Now Mo and I chat every week and the topic of lesbians comes up all the time. I have learned SO much. My terminology has improved (I think I surprised her when I introduced butch and femme into our conversations) and I have a better understanding of this whole GAY thing. I am a big Ellen fan and Mo teases me about that.
Am I happy that Mo is gay? Let me put it this way. I don’t think anyone is born hoping that they were gay. Why would you want the grief that is sure to be there at times? Everyone might have a different experience with being gay, and the level of tolerance out there is a prime example. I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t felt life would have been easier for Mo if she were straight or at least less painful before she came out, but it is not about me. It is about Mo. And I can say that she has been happier these last few years (especially now, since she’s developed a social life) than she has been for a very long time. And that is what being a parent is all about.
We want the best for our children. We might not always agree with them but it is not for us to live their lives.They have to be allowed to do what they want to do. I think Mo and I have developed a stronger relationship now than earlier on. We used to have lots of heated discussions about religion and I hounded her for many years about going to church, so I am sure her decision to share her news about being a lesbian weighed heavily on her mind for a long time. But I am glad that in the end, she figured that I was ready to hear her news.
Perhaps some other lesbians have not had as positive an experience when they told their moms/parents. Perhaps some are still wondering if they should tell them but are worried about what might happen. But really, can it be any worse than how you are feeling now anyway?
Mo said it was a great weight lifted off her shoulders and she felt sorry she had waited so long. I don’t know what my reaction would have been if she had told me years before, but I know I am glad she did find the courage to speak up when she did. Just last week I told her to check out the cute lesbians on Chicago Fire and Emily Owens, M.D.
A mother never stops looking out for her daughter, does she?