Your Mom is Gay!

I remember getting lost in the mall. I wasn't tiny, but I was little enough to panic when I looked around and my mom and sister were gone. I walked around the store three times just to be certain, and trying my best not to cry, I walked up to a policeman standing nearby. I was terrified. Cops freak me out. (Which is especially interesting because I'm married to one. Last time I saw him in uniform and armed, I forgot how to speak English.)

"Excuse me," I said, voice wobbling. 

"Can I help you?" he asked. 

"I lost my mom," I said, the tear dam breaking free. I was about to have a meltdown. 

"Ok. What does she look like? What color dress is she wearing?"

This last question put a stop to the tears. My hiccuping breath evened. I said, with as much disdain a small, crying child can manage, "Oh, she doesn't wear dresses." Duh, policeman. How could you not know that?

You see, my mother is frequently mistaken for a man. She's 5'6" and on the portly side. She has short hair and she wears men's clothing. She doesn't wear makeup and her sports bra resembles an iron lung. She plays basketball and can drink pretty much anyone under the table. She is a champion beer pong player. She does not wear dresses. At first glance, sure, I guess she's not exactly feminine. It takes the second look to see the decidedly girly hazel eyes and her picture perfect smile that practically screams, "GIRL!" She has tiny, elegant hands and the most ladylike ankles and feet I've ever seen. She has the best motherly bosom. 

I heard the word 'gay' for the first time when I was nine years old. I had no idea what it meant. A boy and my best friend were arguing and he called her a "gay lord." Obviously, he didn't know exactly what it meant either, but he knew it was an insult. I went home and told my mom about it. She laughed and explained what it meant but I still didn't understand how it was an insult. 

About a week later, I saw my mom hugging her then partner. It dawned on me, "Oh my mom is gay." It wasn't long after that, my mom and I were driving somewhere and she said, "I'm a lesbian. Do you still love me?"

I almost laughed. Duh, Mom! "Of course I still love you!" I told her. 

After that it was fun. We played "Gay or Straight" with my older sister. The game is played by listening to the radio and saying if the singer is gay or straight. My mom would also name celebrities and I would answer. I usually got them right, even though I was only nine or ten. 

A couple years later, my best friend wasn't allowed to come over anymore because of my mom. My small group of friends started talking about me behind my back. I didn't have friends anymore after that. People I didn't even know started saying things about me, mostly like I was probably a lesbian, too, or that I was a slut, or a bitch. I walked down the hallway and someone would curse at me or say something obscene by the time I was in eighth grade. I had one friend at that point, and she was just as much of a nerd outcast as me. Despite all of it, I was happy. 

It seemed like every night we had 10 people for dinner, all my mom's friends. All of them were gay or lesbians and then, 15 years ago, some were very young. Some of them hadn't come out to their parents and when they told me that, I told them their parents loved them no matter what. Or at least that I loved them. They were nice to me. They asked me about my homework or what book I was reading. I even took a couple for a ride on my pony. My favorite music is house. All of my favorite songs are ones I fell asleep to at night on the weekend if people were over for a party. 

Nowadays I feel like I'm stuck in straight-land. I'm married and we live in the middle of nowhere. Good for the pony business, bad for my need for nights out with my mother and the crowd who populated my childhood. I think I may be forever doomed to be happiest and most comfortable with my mom and her friends, people who I refer to as my extended family. I think I'm pretty ok with that. 

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