So yesterday I was walking with my 11-year-old daughter and we stopped at the local grocery store. As we waited for our ride, this car pulls up and stops and I see my girl’s eyes widen and then she smiled. A man got out of the car and ran into the store, leaving another man waiting in the passenger seat.
We were still chatting but she kept glancing at the car and smiling. When the driver came out of the store and got back in the car, she said “Momma, when that car goes by, look at the back window.”
As the car went by, I saw that there was a rainbow flag in the corner of the window. I turned back to my girl and she says “maybe they’re partners?”
I said “could be…or maybe one of them has a gay friend or relative he’s showing support for…or maybe he just likes rainbows…”
She laughed and nodded before speaking again. “Could be, but I think maybe they’re partners.”
She seemed so pleased by the thought and it made me a little proud. I worry sometimes about how my behaviour affects her.
Just before that we’d been in a store and an acquaintance of mine came up and started chatting with me and the woman who ran the store. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was treating myself to a new bracelet with my royalty money.
Of course, then she wants to know where I’m getting royalty money from. I tell them about my books and the first thing out of the store owner’s mouth was “are the men okay with you writing these books?”
I told her “as far as I know. It seems to be mostly women who write them…and a lot of women read them.”
She looked shocked “Why?”
I shrugged and said “most men find two women together hot, why can’t women feel the same about men?”
Both women thought about it for a second and while they didn’t seem interested in joining in with my fascination, they at least conceded that it should work both ways.
My daughter was listening to the conversation and both women appeared a little shocked that I would talk about it in front of her.
I don’t edit myself in front of her. Of course I don’t talk about sex with her, although if she comes to me with questions I do my best to answer her. She’s going to be twelve in a couple of weeks and its only natural that she’s curious.
Two years ago she became enamoured with Adam Lambert. We’re walking along one day and she says “Adam’s gay, isn’t he momma?” I said yes. She said “and that’s okay, right?” Again I said yes and then asked her “do you know what gay means?” She nodded and said “that means Adam likes to kiss boys and not girls, right?”
I said “yes, exactly.” She grinned and said “okay” and that was it. End of discussion for her.
Her attitude makes me so proud of her but it also makes me a little proud of me. It means that my efforts to raise her to be understanding and accepting of everyone is working. To her it’s the thought of someone being bullied for who they love that’s shocking, not that a boy might love a boy or a girl might love a girl.
My girl is a fierce defender of anyone she thinks is being picked on and it makes me happy when I hear that she refuses to back down, even when she’s worried about the popular people not liking her. She’s Miss Independent…always has been and while it makes it difficult to be her parent sometimes, I know its a trait that will serve her well in the future.
She is my proof that children really are the products of their environment. If we can teach the adults acceptance then maybe the next generation won’t need that lesson.
In a world that seems to be embracing equal rights more and more (way to go France), I’m proud to be raising a child who I know is going to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Coming Home by MJ O”Shea is a story about how maybe you can go home again if you change your attitude and earn yourself a second chance. Tally was a jerk in high school who bullied people to hide what he saw as his own weakness. Forced home by circumstances, he has to prove he’s a different man if only someone would give him a chance. This is a story about how accepting yourself is the first step to making the world…especially your world…a better place.