by Logan Lynn.
Mother’s Day today has me thinking about my own mom, how our relationship has changed over the years, and how lucky I feel to be where we are today together. Our story is one of deep struggle and even deeper joy, all held together by an unbreakable bond which was no doubt formed lifetimes ago.
My mother has always been a strong woman. Growing up in the same oppressive church that I did, she was held down for many years by traditional religious ideals and company which didn’t allow her to identify with this power, but those of us who have known and loved her all this time know that she is a beautiful, powerful force of nature, and she always has been.
Her loving sweetness, her well-read brain, her deep, complex inner life, her quick wit, her fierce loyalty, her earnest desire to be good; to know and accept the truth, and to be forgiving when others fall short, all make up her character and feed into a bright light about her. She brings this light with her when she enters a room, and all who find themselves in her presence are illuminated by it. I have watched this happen in dark corners of buildings, as well as in the darkest corners of my heart, for my entire life.
I learned how to cry from my mother; how to get in touch with my raw feelings and let them out when the world is too mean to keep them in. These skills have been life-saving at different points in my being here. My experience of growing up gay in the Midwest, even sometimes from those closest to me, was that there was no room in the rural Christian landscape for a sissy like me. My mother never once made me feel this way. She took me to dance class when I wanted to go, and she sat proudly at my recitals. She bought me Barbie dolls when I wanted them, and while I’m sure it must have scared her, she always seemed to celebrate my being different.
When I was older and troubled from the battle scars of my youth, my mother once again loved me through her fear. She marched bravely toward death as it came close to our family and she stood firmly between us, guarding me from the darkness with her light. You see, my dying was not an option for my mother. Having an addict for a child is a heartbreaking experience for any mom, but at no point did mine allow her heartbreak to break our bond. Even when it was inconvenient to look at, I have always known that she loves me with her whole heart and that this love is unwavering. (and believe me: I have tested it.)
It has not been an easy road, this staying connected bit she and I have managed to do over these last 33 years together…but I am so thankful to know and be known by her now. The past 5 years of my being clean and getting to be with my family (and the world) as myself once again, something we were all robbed of for the 16 years of my using preceding, has been nothing short of miraculous. We are in a place of mostly peace with one another for the first time in decades…all finally on the same page about the way the world works (as well as the way we think it should).
The fear which permeated every square inch of our home growing up – fear of hell, fear of church, fear of our family reputation being tarnished – all gone now…or “going” I should say. We missed each other for so many years that we still hit unknown places within our relationships even now…but there is a desire by each of us to understand; a willingness to listen as the other struggles to; and a feeling that we are all going to be alright after all.
My mother is a survivor and a warrior. There were points in our journey where she strapped me on her back and carried me through the fire just by listening to me, by sitting with me as I fought for my life, by forgiving me for the years where I hadn’t, and by never forgetting who I was inside no matter how far away I had pushed her. She held tight to the memory of me through times when others in her position might not have. This made her able to recognize me on days when even I could not recognize myself. When I was homeless she held my place at the table, and in many ways now it feels as though I never left, like we were never apart. This is the work of a good mother.
I am just as proud of my mom for who she has become during my years of knowing her as I’ve heard her say she is of me. We are two creatures transformed, forever bonded by now distant memories of great sorrows, held close in the present by the hope of a future we almost didn’t have and a family we have fought hard for together. My parents are both allies now; to me and to our community. I love that I have the kind of mother that will stand up for what’s right no matter what anyone else thinks. I inherited this set of ideals from her, too. She has stood with (and for) me in this life and I hope I am lucky enough to stand with (and for) her in the next.
To all of the brave mothers like mine out there who have loved their kids enough to celebrate them just as they are; to the warrior moms who have chosen their queer children over their anti-gay churches; and to every brave woman who has mothered someone in need at some point in your life: Thank you.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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