This is a typical presentation Susan makes to church groups.
I stand before you as somewhat of a normal person. Like many of you, I am a Catholic Christian, a wife, a mom, a career woman, a friend, a daughter and a sister. I have been blessed with many wonderful gifts in my life. I am here today to talk with you about a few of them.
My first blessing was to be born in a loving family, my second was to meet and marry my best friend, my third blessing was to get pregnant with healthy twin boys 19 years ago, and my fourth blessing is to be the Mom of a Gay Son. Of course, like most blessings (which in the beginning can appear to be challenges), you don’t always realize they are blessings until down the road.
When our boys were beginning high school, we started to notice changes in Spencer. He stopped doing sports, had fewer friends, was not interested in school, changed his clothing style, seemed unhappy and grew farther apart from his Father and me. His brother on the other hand was very involved in school, sports, girls and all the things I knew to be “normal”. My husband and I were pretty conservative parents, although we were young parents, we had certain standards in our home and were very consistent on our expectations. I now joke that Spencer really should have been born to Ellen DeGeneres’s Mom.
It was about 10th grade that we knew something was up. Our usually happy and social kid worried us to death. We would lie in bed at night and fear the worst for Spencer; substance abuse and/or suicide. We knew we needed to get help. It was during family counseling that Spencer came out to us at the age of 15. We were devastated. We told Spencer we loved him, and that we would always support him, but truth be told, we did not want a gay son.
We did not know what to do, or where to turn. My husband and I both felt alone. We feared for Spencer’s future. All of a sudden the beliefs, which had been engrained in us (religious, political and moral) started to come to the surface in ways we had never dealt with. I did everything I could to understand “why” or if his young age meant he might “change” and was simply confused. I read every book, and “googled” every website. Our love and concern for our son was our main priority, which kept us on track. I now know how many families have been destroyed by this type of news. That is one of my main reasons for agreeing to talk with you today, and for my involvement in organizations like PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays) and Fortunate Families.
The unconditional love my Husband, Parents, Sister, Best Friend and our other son showed Spencer was unbelievable. Because I had pre-set expectations of how my kids would turn out, it took me a little longer to come to terms with the thought of a gay son. And, looking back, my biggest regret was “what would others think?….” I also understand now why Spencer may have behaved the way he did…..he was going through his own difficult time, and I know now, was hurting inside.
I know my son, and I know he did not choose to be gay. His Father and I have looked into his eyes and have seen his pain. We also see a young man who is awesome. He is spiritual, hard-working, loving, artistic, open-minded, smart and genuine. He is the real deal. Being gay does not define him. He has so much to give to this world; and to everyone he comes across. He has taught me to not be so black and white, and embrace all the shades of gray in my life. He has changed the way I look at organized religion and politics. My love for my God and my Country are as strong as ever, but my “egotistical” belief system has shifted in a more loving and open way. Some of the most remarkable people I have met through groups like PFLAG, have the same sparkle as my Spence-man. And that is what makes me feel lucky and blessed to be his Mom.
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