I Don't Have a Rainbow Thing
I have a secret. It's the reason I blur my pictures and give my kids cute names like Punkgirl (12), Happyboy (10), and Rose (7 months), and it's the reason my husband is Coffeeguy and I am the Stuck At Home Mom. It's not because I think I'll suddenly break out as a writer and have 50,000 new fans and have to hide from the paparazzi, but rather because I need to vent sometimes and I don't want to share the secrets of my loved ones without some anonymity for them. My daughter is a lesbian. My son likes to wear girls' clothes. And my husband is a full-blown cross-dresser.
Photo courtesy the author.
It occurred to me as I prepared to go to our first ever Pride event that I had no rainbow thing. At this event, designed for inclusion, I was the "outsider." Each of my loved ones (well, except Rose, of course) had a very personal reason to enjoy Pride, and it gave the three of them this sort of bond that had me feeling more lost than when I left the workforce two years before.
Happyboy was first, and very open, and thus the bravest. His famous line: "I don't care if they tease me when it comes to my fashion!" He has never wavered from his resolve to wear "girls'" clothing, although he shocked the heck out of me by "coming out" straight this year. I would have put money on gay, but he fell for a sweet little brown-haired girl and has never wavered since.
Punkgirl haltingly told me two years ago that she liked girls, which also shocked me, at the time, and I thought it was a phase. That lasted for about a month until I realized my Janice Joplin, Bob Dylan-loving girl was definitely into the ladies. Since we don't yet allow dating in our house, it has given me plenty of time to adjust to this new aspect of her, to support her through books and conversations, and finally, to take her to Pride. And here's where it gets tricky.
Coffeeguy has been cross dressing in some fashion for years. But what started out as some pantyhose and a pair of heels has grown into a full-blown wardrobe. I finally had to put the word to it about three months ago: cross-dresser. Now, if you're like I was years ago, you might be confused between cross-dresser, transsexual, Drag Queen, and gay. It's simplified, but a cross-dresser is just a guy who likes to wear pretty things. I discovered that there was no change in my perception of him, as long as I knew that he was still my Coffeeguy -- or Coffeegurl -- at heart. But I never realized that, after an incident at school, it would become so important to Happyboy. We discussed it, and Coffeeguy very bravely shared his secret with Happyboy, explaining to him that he wasn't alone, it wasn't weird, and there were others like him. I watched my boy stand taller, and a day later, he shared "the secret" with Punkgirl too. She was proud of him for being so brave, and I teared up at how beautiful the dynamic was. Until Pride.
As they stood together watching the parade, each one with their arm around the other, I felt alone and lonely. I had joked in the morning, "poor me, I don't have a rainbow thing!" and now those words came back to haunt me. Would my family bond so much here that I would be forever left out and cast aside? It sounds dramatic, I know, but it was how I felt.
As one of my best friends asked me how I had enjoyed Pride (she and her wife had invited us to stand with them in their "spot") my eyes teared up and I swallowed a lump. Having known me since high school, she coaxed the truth out of me. In the way of true best friends everywhere, she hugged me, smiled, and said the one thing that made everything right as rain(bows) again. "You silly girl. Your FAMILY is your rainbow thing. And that is amazing."
www.suckathomemom.blogspot.com I'm a 40 something year old with two tweens and a new baby. This is my effort to keep my sanity after leaving the workforce, taking up breastfeeding, and managing the kids. I'm mostly failing at it.