My Late Mother's Birthday Today, And Some Thoughts

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    Apr 03, 2011 2:48 PM GMT
    I realized my late mother's birthday is today, when I saw what the date is on my computer this morning. She would have been 94. (My father will have been 100 this September) Some thoughts:

    I still miss them both. Which I find uncommon among most gay men whom I know. Not all, though, because I had one BF who also revered his late parents, but I encountered that negative attitude more often than not, and I wonder why.

    A great disappointment for me is that we never discussed my being gay, having come out after my mother's death, and during the last year of my father's terminal illness, when I didn't want to possibly upset him unnecessarily, and endanger his frail health. Even though my sister told me, as we planned our father's care, that they always knew about me themselves, going so far as to tell her in 1970 about me! I wondered why nobody ever told ME? I was the stupid, clueless one who needed to hear it.

    Yet they were never mean to me about it. My mother did nag me about finding a nice girl to date, which I finally did for the first time at 26 just to please her. And my father was rather stern & distant, but never really mean, either, and incredibly generous to me, spoiled me, actually.

    On social issues they were extremely advanced for their age & generation, and it showed in how they treated their gay son. I believe they still thought it was a "phase" I could move past, but until I did they were very accepting, never openly hostile.

    As for my mother specifically, she was wonderfully multi-talented, with more drive & ambition than I ever had. Her family was ruined in the Great Depression, and she spent all her teen years growing up in poverty in the 1930s.

    But by 1939 she had gotten a job, hard enough for a man, much less a young female, and bought her family a house, the first they had owned since 1930. Could YOU buy your parents a home at 22? Much less as a woman, during the Great Depression? She was incredible. (And so was my father, but those are different stories)

    Later in the post-war era she got the college education she had missed, and became a tax attorney. Also held public office, and at various times every position in own town, essentially running it. Yet at home she would sew and make some of my clothes, survival skills she learned during the Depression, creative & artistic in ways I'll never be.

    Damn, I wish I could spend a little time with them both again, just to update them, just to host & pamper them. I never did that properly when they were alive, never got out of the dependent "son" mode. I owe them so much, and gave them back so little. Everything I am is their creation, and I always neglected to pay them a royalty. LOL!

    So what is your experience with your parents? Still alive, think of them much? Like them, dislike, and why?
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    Apr 03, 2011 2:49 PM GMT
    Loved her, she was an awesome lady.

    8Ewxu.jpg
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    Apr 03, 2011 3:03 PM GMT
    MikeInSLC saidLoved her, she was an awesome lady.

    8Ewxu.jpg

    Gosh, lovely lady! When was this taken? Looks like she was still in college. But I see the wedding band.
  • jkwbb004

    Posts: 191

    Apr 03, 2011 3:10 PM GMT
    Your Mom sounds amazing. I am very lucky that I have both my parents around. My father, though I dont talk to him very often is an alchoilic and cliinically depressed. He has tried to kill himself numerous times.

    As for my mother...I am truly blessed to have that woman be my mother. She taught me growing up to ALWAYS judge a person by what their insides look like, because the prettiest person in the world may just be the ugliest. She is so supportive of not only me but the community in general. She goes out to drag shows, bars and events like Pride. She makes donations to local gay charities like Time Out Youth and RAIN. At 57 she is a bombshell. Eveytime she comes out with me its impossible to get her to leave because so many people in the community call her "mom", because either their mom has passed or she is the mom they wish they had.

    She is an only parent and I know times were hard for her, but she never complained and always kept a smile on her face. When I was bullied in school, she would rush up to the school and cuss the teachers and principals out. She never flinched to do anything for me. In many ways I am very truly blessed to have this woman as my mother icon_smile.gif
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Apr 03, 2011 3:21 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidI realized my late mother's birthday is today, when I saw what the date is on my computer this morning. She would have been 94. (My father will have been 100 this September) Some thoughts:

    I still miss them both. Which I find uncommon among most gay men whom I know. Not all, though, because I had one BF who also revered his late parents, but I encountered that negative attitude more often than not, and I wonder why.

    A great disappointment for me is that we never discussed my being gay, having come out after my mother's death, and during the last year of my father's terminal illness, when I didn't want to possibly upset him unnecessarily, and endanger his frail health. Even though my sister told me, as we planned our father's care, that they always knew about me themselves, going so far as to tell her in 1970 about me! I wondered why nobody ever told ME? I was the stupid, clueless one who needed to hear it.

    Yet they were never mean to me about it. My mother did nag me about finding a nice girl to date, which I finally did for the first time at 26 just to please her. And my father was rather stern & distant, but never really mean, either, and incredibly generous to me, spoiled me, actually.

    On social issues they were extremely advanced for their age & generation, and it showed in how they treated their gay son. I believe they still thought it was a "phase" I could move past, but until I did they were very accepting, never openly critical.

    As for my mother specifically, she was wonderfully multi-talented, with more drive & ambition than I ever had. Her family was ruined in the Great Depression, and she spent all her teen years in poverty in the 1930s.

    But by 1939 she had gotten a job, hard enough for a man, much less a young female, and bought her family a house, the first they had owned since 1930. Could YOU buy your parents a home at 22? Much less as a woman, during the Great Depression? She was incredible. (And so was my father, but those are different stories)

    Later in the post-war era she got the college education she had missed, and became a tax attorney. Also held public office, and at various times every position in own town, essentially running it. Yet at home she would sew and make some of my clothes, survival skills she learned during the Depression, creative & artistic in ways I'll never be.

    Damn, I wish I could spend a little time with them both again, just to update them, just to host & pamper them. I never did that properly when they were alive, never got out of the dependent "son" mode. I owe them so much, and gave them back so little. Everything I am is their creation, and I always neglected to pay them a royalty. LOL!

    So what is your experience with your parents? Still alive, think of them much? Like them, dislike, and why?



    sounds like a pair of exceptional parents produced an equally exceptional son, AD!

    my father passed on early; less than a year after he finally retired. he was a perfectionist, silent, ofter dour appearing man of german-russian decent, capable of suprising compassion and empathy. his favortie saying was "never complain, never explain...just do what has to be done". the older i get, the more i find myself "turning into" him...with certain significant differences, of course!

    my father died before i "figured thing out" about my sexuality. as a babtist-mennonite who took great personal strength and comfort from his religion; i suspect he would have had great trouble with his eldest son "turning gay" in his 40's. but, given enough time, i think he would had eventually accepted it. his quiet compassion and intellect would had (eventually) triumphed over his religious training.

    the older i become, the smarter my father becomes. pity he's not still around that i could tell him this.

    my always attractive and gracefull mother is still alive; having overcome the enormous shock of the one man she loved (as she has told me on several occasions) leaving her early. although still mentally and physically healthy in her late 70's. i suspect she is suffering from borderline depression and is "just going thru the motions", patiently waiting for the day she joins my father in the hereafter. although not highly educated, she is smarter than many college graduates. she was very much a "victim of her times"; as many women who matured in the 1950's were expected to marry early and have children. my brother and I long suspected that the "leave it to beaver" mother "june cleaver" was modeled after our mother. there are SO many similarities between the two!!

    i was her first child, always her protector against the borderline verbal abuse she endured from my blunt-but-well-meaning father's precise and terse criticism and the naked avaricism expressed by her other children after my father's passing. some of the more intense "discussions" my father and i had were over my defense of her against his borderline harsh words.

    i'm sure she know that i am gay; but does not "want" to know. i've dropped several hints about my sexuality and tried several times to discuss it; she has deftly changed the topic of conversation. she simply accepts me "as-is" and doesn't want to elaborate on it.

    although i do not strongly resemble either one of my parents (to my mind's eye); when i was in the same room with either/both of them friends would comment on the obvious doner DNA lineage.

    many of my personality traits can be traced to either/both of my parents. it often amuses/horrifies me when i notice this!

    although i keep much of my life to myself, my mother is one of the few people in this world that i do talk with and express myself to. my long term bf (God bless his soul!) is the other.

    i didn't think my parents were all that great of a bargain until i started noticing how other people's parents treated them; then realized that my parents were something special.
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    Apr 03, 2011 3:51 PM GMT
    rnch saidmany of my personality traits can be traced to either/both of my parents. it often amuses/horrifies me when i notice this!

    I was horrified, too, when I first realized it. I was convinced I was my "own man" because that's what I wanted to be. I always kinda knew I leaned toward my mother. But imagine in my 40s when I realized I was turning into my father!

    Not a horrible thing, of course, but I just thought I was especially ME, not him. Well, of course I'm both of them.

    In fact, when I first did drag at 52 (and I've posted that pic here in a thread about Fargo, ND), I put on the makeup without my glasses, close to the mirror. When done I held my glasses up, and I saw -- MY LATE MOTHER! Unintentional but shocking! There she was, reincarnated in me! I never realized how strong her features were in me.

    Yet I have my late father's eating & drinking tastes, and his crazy interest in things like motorcycling. I'm an amalgam of them both, perhaps some originality of my own, but built on a foundation of them.

    Which is OK with me. They were great parents to be modeled after, I'm very proud to be their son. My shame is that I didn't do better, and exceed them, as each generation in my family has done. Ending in genteel poverty isn't exactly the path they set me on. I had their gifts, but not their guts. Perhaps my sons will make up for my failings. icon_sad.gif
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Apr 03, 2011 4:09 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]Art_Deco said... I'm an amalgam of them both, perhaps some originality of my own, but built on a foundation of them.

    Which is OK with me. They were great parents to be modeled after, I'm very proud to be their son...[/quote]

    i KNOW what you mean!

    sometimes i will glance into my car's rear view mirror and see my father staring back at me.

    as i mature, my voice is starting to sound more and more like my mother's to me (deeper tones, of course). our timbre and speech pattern similarities are remarkable.

    i find myself walking thru the meat section of the grocery store, picking up a package of steak and muttering "that's a LOT of money" and tossing it back in the container. a definate "mom-ism".

    a few month's after my father's death, i escorted my aunt to visit relatives in southwestern oklahoma, whom i hadn't seen since junior high school. i received some long, nonplussed stares from several of them! one relative looked at me as i walked in the room, gasped, put her hand to her mouth and quickly, quietly fled the room (dad's side of the family is not known for their emotional outbursts). my aunt looked at me and trimuphantly said "i TOLD you that you look like your father!". i had never notcied the resemblence until then.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Apr 03, 2011 4:30 PM GMT
    Jesus. I was suicidal already from the anti cancer menopausal hormones and my lifelong suicidal tendancies.You've validated me thought with your stories of your parents antics So it's OK to come home from a night shift and have some drinks, and write the stuff that would humble Hemingway? I did that and now you made me feel good about it.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Apr 03, 2011 4:32 PM GMT
    I meant that in a good way. You're one of the only nice guys on realjock.
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    Apr 03, 2011 4:41 PM GMT
    My mum passed away in 1978 , i was 22 at the time and i still miss her dearly , she was such a beautiful person inside and out ....

    5 years after her passing , a co-worker of mine seeing me quite sad (it was my mum's birthday ) , asked me what was wrong , and after hearing my answer , she told me something so true , and as weird as it sounds , he did lift my spirits for that day . She said : you always wll remember your mom , as a YOUNG and VIBRANT person , and now i understand what she meant at the time ....

    My dad is still alive and at 85 and still going pretty strong , he is the sweetest man on earth , i have been so lucky to have a father so loving and understanding .
    These last few years , i have seen him aging , as health problems have been creeping their ways on him , and when last year i was sitting by his bed in the hospital watching him sleep , what my co-worker had told me 25 years ago , rushed back to my mind , she was so right , it is so hard and so heartbreaking , to see your parents age !!!
  • laguna07

    Posts: 124

    Apr 03, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    I feel so sad after reading this and want to cry. I miss my parents so much. i took them for granted like most kids do. i wish i could see and talk to them.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 03, 2011 7:05 PM GMT
    "So what is your experience with your parents? Still alive, think of them much? Like them, dislike, and why?"
    _______________________________________________________
    It is a parent's responsibility to do EVERYTHING in their power to provide EVERYTHING their children need to grow up happy, healthy, and independent. I don't mean spoiling them. I mean food, clothing, a peaceful home, love and affection, an education that will prepare them for a good life, on their own.

    My father is dead.
    We were never close.
    He was a spoiled rotten, only child.
    He worked, and he read a lot.
    He provided the basic material things, nothing extra.

    My mother is a bitter, angry, paranoid, religious nut.
    She made bad choices all throughout her life.
    She left us (5 kids) when I was around 10 years old.
    She has alienated one or all of us at one time or another.
    I can't remember how long it's been since I had any contact with her.

    When I see moms or dads being loving and affectionate with their kids, it really tugs at my heart. That's what I missed.

    I also wish that I had had some guidance.
    We kids just drifted through school and found our own way in life.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Apr 03, 2011 7:08 PM GMT
    My mother died when I was 24 and her birthday is April 6th so I totally hear what you are saying.

    Remarkably beautiful, educated, successful, she first had an annurism when I was 7, then contracted breast cancer. It was a very difficult time during some of those years... but my parents together were pretty awesome, my Dad still is.....

    Sorry to hear about your mother, Bob, but certainly a time to cherish!

    Have a great week!
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    Apr 03, 2011 7:10 PM GMT
    laguna07 saidI feel so sad after reading this and want to cry. I miss my parents so much. i took them for granted like most kids do. i wish i could see and talk to them.

    Well there you are. And I'm sorry to have made anybody here sad. icon_sad.gif

    But I meant this as a counterpoint, on my mother's birthday, to some of the posts here I read trashing parents. "My father was an abusive bastard" "I hate my drunken, bitchy mother" etc.

    And indeed, in my own life most of the gay guys I meet hate one or both of their parents. Only one of my BFs did not.

    Not that it isn't possible those parents were that awful, but I observe the pattern, and I wonder if it means something. It's just that thinking back on my own mother today, and both my parents, made me bring up the topic.
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    Apr 03, 2011 7:14 PM GMT
    Hey Wilton, today is my father birthday. My father would love me regardless if I am gay or not.We weren't closed but I missed him greatly
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    Apr 03, 2011 7:27 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidSorry to hear about your mother, Bob, but certainly a time to cherish!

    Have a great week!

    Thanks, but no, no, no... She died in 1992, at 75. Unexpectedly of a heart attack, but long ago now, and I'm OK.

    I'm not so much grieving, as reminiscing, on her birthday. Yeah, I'd give anything to spend some time with her again, and with my father, but that's not how it works. I just have memories.

    Still, I have their words, and I quote them here all the time, as any regular RJ member knows. Especially my mother's wisdom, who loved old folk sayings. I think they'd be proud to know I still follow much of their advice.

    We fought like cats & dogs when I was a kid, but now... Well, they'd hear more of themselves in me today than my own thoughts. How strange that is to me, but perhaps how normal & natural for that to have happened. I certainly no longer fight it.