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There is no right place to start this story. I imagine it really began when my Mama was a young girl, longing to be a loving parent. For me though, this story started when I realized my Mama's worth.

I was a hellion kid. The kind that started fights with my older sister and younger brother, began drinking freshman year of high school and just gave my parents a hard time. I think I did everything the opposite my Mama asked of me. I was rebellious and angry, trying to figure out how to live in a stifling world where gender fluidity was not modeled. My gender has always been a dance between male and female and not having a haven for this expression, along with my queerness, made adolescence pretty rough. Through it all my Mama showed me love, compassion and a damn good amount of patience. When I told her I was queer (dating a girl in high school) she hugged me so tight and said, "I know. I knew from when you were little and I love you just as you are."

After what felt like a very long time in high school I finally graduated and went away to college, which was almost 5 hours away, in an attempt to secure my independence and become who I wanted to be. I was so ready to spread my wings. I remember my Mama drove me down and we had so much fun on that drive. She stayed the weekend and when the time came to say goodbye I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. Within one month of my Mama taking me to school I was on the phone with her bawling my eyes out. Crying so hard I could barely breathe. I stumbled into the beginning of a real relationship with my Mama by proclaiming, "You were right about everything! I am so sorry for being such a little shit for so long! Can you forgive me? Can I make it up to you? I am so so so sorry!"

Sigh. Did you ever have this moment with a parent or a loving elder? From that day forward I tried to love my Mama the way she had always loved me, with compassion, tenderness, straightforward truth, and gentle and authentic support. This was the beginning of me coming to learn that most parents do the very best they can to show up and love their children. I became aware that my Mama had challenges and sorrows and joys just like I did. I made a pact with myself after that phone call, I will love my Mama the best I can, forever.

And so, we became really close. Our intimacy was really something they write about in the story books. I treated her like a darling, love. When she got into a bad car accident while I was in college I moved home for the winter break to take care of her. I transferred colleges to be closer to her later that year. She moved to my college town so our family could be together. When we disagreed, which really looked like me on fire, demanding she see the world through my eyes, she listened. She gave me her attention and we talked through all sides of the matter. She was patient and open minded. She said that she loved my passion for what I believe in and that I do not back down. It also drove her nuts. In our relationship we had to learn how to navigate our differences. She showed me how this can be done with generosity and trust. At the end of the day I found in her the kind of love that heals all wounds, cures all sorrows, and reminds me anything is possible.

My Mama and me, as happy as one can be.

#grief #loss #adolesence