This Valentine’s Day marks an important milestone in my family’s life. Years ago, I made a promise to my teenage son. With tears in my eyes, I told him that he would have a future that offered him the same wonderful liberties and opportunities as his brother and sister. He would be free to live openly and honestly with his partner. And he would know the love of raising his own children. At the time, I am not sure he believed me.
And today, thanks to the fact that same sex marriages are now legal in all 50 states, he will be able to do this.
It has not always been easy. Raising an openly gay son has brought challenges to my family that we have faced together.
But we have never wavered in our support of who he is.
Boldly, we have taken on critics and religious zealots who believed this day was never our right to have. Our son came out during a period in history that has been defined as the civil rights movement for gays and lesbians. He has chosen to stand tall and proud in our community. Our school administration has heralded him as a leader, a mentor, and a well-respected member of his senior class. He has fought off stereotypes and bullies. In his own way, he is a warrior, and I have no doubt he will remain victorious in his quest for equality and justice for all.
When our son came out, he was scared beyond comprehension. He was frightened of what others would say and fearful of rejection. Initially, he held his secret close, opening up to friends and family one at a time.
He was deeply fortunate to have liberal, open minded, and loving friends. When he didn’t have the words to communicate his feelings, our oldest took on his cause as a gay rights champion at his university. The older brother had quiet, closed-door conversations with his little brother, whispering words of confidence and support.
Our youngest daughter has always looked up to her teenage brother with fierce love and admiration. He was her protector and her confidant. She finished her junior high years wearing t-shirts boasting gay pride, her elbows out—ready to shove anyone who doubted the tenacity and power in her four foot, nine inch frame.
So today, I am grateful even though there is still progress that needs to be made.
I will pay homage to those who walked miles to get to where we are today. One day we will appreciate the depth and meaning of this victorious moment as we watch him walk down the aisle, stand under a chuppah, and break a glass to commemorate his marriage.
I think of how proud I am and how lucky I am to have this son who has taught me so much.
The tide is turning for LGBTQ issues. I know he will have a life filled with love and laughter. I am proud to be a part of this magnificent moment when who you love bears no significance.
Love and be loved. And isn’t that all what we want to have on Valentines Day?