Thursday, April 16, 2009

To my mama...

Dear mom,

You have been a single-parent for most of my life. When I was a kid dad was away on business three weeks of each month and you were left alone to deal with kids, bills, pets, your career, your music, and the house. After dad died when I was 15 and my little brother, Judd, was just 10, you were a single-parent in a very real way. I just wanted to say thank you to you for who are to me.

When I came out to you just after my 19th birthday, you looked at me and smiled, you grasped my hand and simply said: "I just want you to be happy, honey." Then the corners of your mouth turned up to form your sarcastic little smile and said: "As long as your not a Republican..."

Since then you have been an ally. You have welcomed my lost and lonely queer friends with open arms. You invited them to Christmas and Thanksgiving if they had nowhere to go because they weren't welcome with their families. You supported their choices, loved their partners, didn't flinch at PDAs or sweet words. Basically, you treated us like we were normal. Which meant the world to us--because we actually were.

You were always the "cool mom" when we were growing up. But, I had no idea how cool you would be. You made relationships with every women that I brought home to meet you. You loved them so much that at one point you asked me to stop bringing them home because your heart was broken when my heart was broken. You loved them and missed them when the relationship was over. Of course, you met a couple more--and then you met Mandy.

When we couldn't find an officiant to marry us, you offered yourself up. You stepped filled in for the roles of 4 parents, dad because he passed and Mandy's parents because they refused to come, even though there was just one of you. You quite literally married your daughter off! How many parents of queer kids would have done that with such grace and pure, unadulterated love? You were a natural! And the ceremony was beautiful!

I think above all what makes you a good ally and an amazing mom is that you always are ready to listen and support and that you ask questions when you don't understand something. You showed up to my performance with Peers for Pride! You asked me what "queer" meant--that was an awesome conversation. You learned which pronouns to use for a FTM (female-to-male transgender) friend of mine--and USED them! You just ask. You are willing to admit you don't have all the answers and you are ready to learn. Thank you so much for just asking--for caring enough to ask.

You are precious to me. I could not be the person that I am without your constant love and support. I could not be a loud-mouth queer feminist activist if you hadn't taught to me to be a strong independent woman by example--I am proud that you burned your bras and often didn't wear them! I went to a rally against guns on campus today and I couldn't remembering how you used to march on Washington.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Your feminist, socialist, queer, academic, loud-mouth of a daughter, Jessie.

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