As we exited the highway and took a right toward our home, I realized my mother hadn’t said much for the past hour. The day had been spent shopping in Buffalo, doing some mother/son bonding over clothes and lunch. I was fourteen.
We had made a short visit to my Aunt and Uncle’s house after we left the mall, checking in on how they were doing, exchanging “how interesting”‘-s and “that sounds fantatic”-s. That was when the silence began.
The radio filled the car with the sounds of Christina Aguilera’s new single, “Beautiful”, a song my Mother and I both knew the words, and would usually sing along to. But not today.
The reason for the shopping trip was because of me. I was having a hard time in school because of various reasons; transitioning into high school, my voice still continuing to change, starting to discover who I really was. I had started to distance myself from my family, unintentionally, thinking that space is what I needed.
That space would help me figure out what was wrong with me.
We drove through the downtown area of our home city, passing the familiar coffee shops and parks. Trying to avoid the awkwardness, I stared out the window, letting my eyes look outside, but not seeing. Our street appeared ahead, and my mother turned on her left turn signal in preparation. We turned, but the turn signal did not turn off. The wheel stayed rotated to the left, and my mother turned into a parking lot, put the car in park, and turned off the ignition.
My breath began to quicken.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
My Mother looked at me, then reached over her shoulder into the backseat, pulling her purse into the front of the car, searching inside for something.
I started to imagine all the things I could’ve been in trouble for. She found my blog online. She found out I’ve been hanging out with Ron. She knows I had a beer last weekend. I didn’t even like it. I learned my lesson.
She pulled out an envelope with a card, my name written on it.
“I know that you’re going through something right now. And I know that it’s been hard. I don’t have the same views as your father. You can always talk to me if you have something on your mind”.
She handed me the card.
“Jake”, she had written. “Love is love. No matter what. You will always be my son, and for that, I love you”.
Tears rolling down my cheeks, I turned over to her and hugged her. We didn’t need to say anything more – the hug spoke enough.
On September 13th, 2003, I came out as a gay man to my family and friends. Ten years later, I couldn’t have been happier of my decision. As difficult, confusing, and stressful as that time was, it is because of that time that I am the man I am today.
Now being September 2013, I realize my mother was, and continues, to be right. Love IS love.