Sunday, July 15, 2018

Learning to Fly

This summer has been an adventure in all kinds of ways. First, it's been the first summer I've had off work ever since I've had the girls. We've taken two trips to Battle Creek, Michigan. Olivia and I have averaged at least one day at the pool each week, sometimes more (see last week when we went both Thursday AND Friday.)

It's also been the first summer that Alyssa has been gone more than home. She and N try to spend as much time together as possible, because, duh. N works, so they have to fit their time together between her work schedule.

And now...Lyss is learning to drive. She got her learner's permit yesterday (Saturday.) She's already logged over an hour of driving with me and today she's getting some time in with her dad.

She's pretty good, actually. I try hard to be calm and patient as I'm reminding her to come to a full stop at stop signs and to maybe slow down a little sooner when coming to an intersection. I also try not to grab the door handle when she's taking curves a little faster than I think she probably should.

She's growing up and I'm so glad for her. I want her to fly. I want her to soar as high as she can and do everything she wants to do. I want her to reach for the stars and follow her dreams. I want her to know she can always come home, she will always belong here, even as she's finding other places to belong.

This summer has been the start of the gradual pull away from the gravity of your family of origin for her. She's learning that she has a life that doesn't always include her parents. And that's okay. That's good. But yes, it's hard for me and Tom.

I remind Lyss often she she's still only fifteen.

She then reminds me that she's NOT twelve. She does this with respect and maybe a little exasperation. I get it. I get that she has to pull away a little now so that in a few years she'll be more ready, more confident as she pulls away, both figuratively and literally as she goes off to college.

The teenager years are years of growth, transition, learning to fly and learning to let go, for both the teen and the parents.

We've got this. We're helping her spread her wings even as we continue to pad the nest so if/when she falls, we're here to cushion the blow and let her try again.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Best Compliment Ever

The other day, Alyssa told me that her girlfriend, N, said that I am the soccer mom for gay kids. She was referring to my black t-shirt that has the rainbow freedom flag on it as well as the rainbow shoes I sometimes wear.

I was flattered, to say the least.

But honestly, it's a fine balance for me. I don't want to make Alyssa's life about me. I want to be a support to her, an ally as she travels this journey called life.

I want her to know that I support her, that I want her to be happy, loved and safe.

We had a bit of a...struggle the other day. She didn't want to go away with me and Liv and my mom for a couple of days to visit an aunt of mine. See, this aunt had made some pretty awful statements about homosexuality a couple of visits ago. I'd tried hard to gently steer my aunt away from her horrible bias and at the time Alyssa said she was fine.

But this time, on the eve of our leaving for the visit (the aunt lives on a lake, so we stay in an apartment attached to her house and swim for days) Alyssa declared she was uncomfortable with staying with this aunt. She was worried that Auntie would make another horrible comment (she didn't) and she said that if Auntie knew about N, Alyssa was worried that it would change Auntie's feelings/thoughts toward her (Alyssa).

I wanted Alyssa to go but I also didn't want to force her into a situation where she was uncomfortable or felt attached, even unintentionally.

It was a tough few hours. There were tears.

In the end, it was revealed that Lyss wasn't so much against going to Auntie's house, she just didn't want to go for three days and nights. We compromised, and went for two days and nights. She was happy, I got to spend time with her and Auntie behaved herself.

At one point during the discussion, though, I told Lyss that I kind of thought that if Auntie knew about N, it might actually go further in changing Auntie's mind about homosexuality rather than changing her feelings about Alyssa. I told her that Auntie loves her and I don't think finding out she has a girlfriend could change that.

I followed that statement up with something along the lines of, "I am not suggesting that it is your place to change the world or even our small part of it. I am not asking you to come out more than you are ready. I want you to do that at your own pace. I want you to feel safe in your world, whatever that takes. If Auntie says something, I need to know how much you want me to defend both you and the ideal of bisexuality and homosexuality. I want to honor your feelings, your story, your place in this world."

We hugged it out and all is well again in the Ordinary world...for now. :-)