I am not a big veggie eater. There weren’t veggies in my diet very often as a child. I never had to “at least try a bite or two”. So I grew up not eating veggies, with very few exceptions. I also didn’t ever really learn how to clean a house, save money, pay bills, balance a checkbook and a plethora of other tasks that contribute to the effort of being a good grown up. My dad was a pretty terrible grown up and my mom taught me a lot of really wonderful things that shaped the person I am today, but some of these important lessons got skipped over. So a lot of the time I am simply not a very good grown up.
However, when I became a mother, 21 years ago I wanted to be sure some of those lessons were added to the ones I passed down to my children. So when they were babies and they started eating baby food, I made sure that they ate the vegetable ones regularly before I ever added any sweet baby foods to thier diet. As they got older, they had to at least take a bite or two of vegetables at every meal. Now, my children (all five of them) love veggies. I still don’t. But I am trying. I’ve added several veggies to the list of foods I now eat.
I also work hard to teach them the value of money and the importance of buying things they want with money that they have saved up. We talk about sex, drugs, stds. They have chores they have to do every day. I want them to grow up and be better grown ups than we are and I think they are well on their way.
One of the big things I never learned much about growing up was tolerance and acceptance of people who were not “normal” by my family’s backwoodsy kuntry folk, southern baptist, we’re all burning in hell and those weirdos are leading the way mentality. Black people were not to be socialized with. Mexicans, scum. Gay people… oh lordy lordy let’s not even get to talking about how fast they’re all going to hell. The more different a person was, the less tolerant they were with their words and their actions towards “those” people.
I thought I did really well coming out of that upbringing a fairly open minded, bi sexual who cares less about the color of your skin or your accent and more about the person you are at your core. Over the years I’ve added to that an ever evolving view on love and relationships and the differing dynamics of the poly, kink and swinging worlds.
I’ve maintained my faith and my relationship with God through it all but my views on organized religion and Christians in general have changed drastically over the last ten years. I’ve found a balance and an acceptance of both sides of myself that I’m really very happy with. With that balance has come more of an openness than I’ve ever experienced before with the bits and pieces of me that I used to keep hidden deep within my dirty little secret closet.
I’m not all the way out of that closet but I am more out of it than I have ever been before. We introduce our other partners to our kids. We introduce them as our friends but then we all cuddle up on the couch or rest our feet on top of each other’s at the table when we play games. Daddy and his girlfriends go out to dinner and my boyfriend comes and picks me up or brings me home. Sometimes Daddy’s baby girl spends the night with us. She sleeps in bed with us. My children are smart, I’m very sure this is not missed by them. Last year we had a girlfriend who lived with us more days than not for several months. Our kids accepted this with no resistance or questioning whatsoever. With much less intentional action than the veggies or the money management, we’ve been teaching our kids that there is more than one way to love, more than one kind of relationship.
Today, I had a moment that made me ridiculously proud. Today the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on gay marriage as it considers changing the laws regarding gay marriage. There was a story about it on the news this morning and my 12 yo and I were watching it before he left to get on the school bus. He looks at me and says, “I just don’t get it. Why does everyone care if a boy likes a boy enough to marry him or a girl likes a girl enough to marry her? Why is this such a big deal?”
So, I put my phone down and asked him, “Well… why do you think it is?” and he answered, ” Probably because it’s different. I mean, I know that a boy wanting to marry a boy is different than a boy wanting to marry a girl. But, even if it is different, there still isn’t anything wrong with it. If they love each other the way “normal” (and yes, he did the air-finger-quote thingy when he said normal) couple love each other, they should be able to get married too. It’s stupid that everyone is making such a big deal over it.”
And, then he walked out the door to catch the school bus. I just sat on the couch, my heart swelling with love for this sweet, sweet tolerant boy who eats his veggies and is good to his friends and holds the door open for others and understands that loving a person for their soul is far more important than loving them for which set of genitals they have.
If I’ve never done another good grown up thing right in my life, I truly believe I did, and am doing, a damn good job raising my children. They make me proud and bless my life beyond belief.