There was a day about three years ago that was a lot like today. The gross part of winter. Dirty, crusty snow patches and freezing air. My eldest son had moved out the year before. He signed the lease for an apartment the day he bought a car, and by the time the lease was up he was way over his head financially. He decided to move back home while straightening out his finances. I knew there was something different with him. Something had subtly shifted. Or maybe I was just seeing clearly for the first time. I had my suspicions about what it was but I was panicked. It simply couldn't be! As I stood waiting for the bus that winter day, I called the only person in the world I could talk to about this--my baby sister. My only-slightly-coherent rambling went something like:
"Ohmygoshohmygosh. I think he's gay! I think he's having sex with a guy! Ohmygosh. What did I do wrong? What should I have done different? I never should have let him move out. I must have done something or he wouldn't be like this! I bet it was that blind date with that horrible girl. He just hasn't had a real date yet! That's it! Maybe if I lock him in a room with a girl and slide some condoms under the door then everything will be okay. You can repent of fornication, right? But if he's gay... "
I must have looked like a crazy homeless person as I paced along the sidewalk on 21st South gesturing and yelling.
"What do I do? What can I say? How do you ask your son if he's gay? I cannot make those words come out of my mouth! Why?! Out of all six of us girls, why me? Look at all our other sisters. Their kids are all goody-two-shoes, married in the temple. What did I do wrong! Why am I the only one to have a gay son?!"
My sister's quiet answer to this? "Because you're the only one who could handle it."
Those words keep me going. I try everyday to remember that I can handle it, even when I'm not handling it well.