My Daughter Is a Liberal; I Am Not
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a pretty conservative person. I grew up on a chicken farm where we worked hard and learned responsibility at a young age. I had deep rooted values instilled in me; values such as honesty, integrity, faith in God and Country. Overall I think I have done a pretty good job sticking to those values, but somewhere in the midst of living my life, some of my values or thought processes have changed and I find myself at a crossroads. I am approaching my 45th birthday and still questioning who I am and what it is that I am supposed to be doing.
Career wise, I am pretty sure that I am on the right path; it is the life questions that are throwing me for a loop. I grew up in an environment and a time where diversity wasn’t really embraced and hardly anyone talked about their feelings or problems. People who were labeled “different” were not well received; it’s just the way it was. Back in the early 80’s I remember having a friend in school whose parents’ were divorced. I went to her house for sleepovers and everyone wanted to know what it was like to be in THAT house; you know the house with the single mother. The 80’s brought the HIV/AIDS epidemic creating a huge ruckus involving homosexuality. It was believed that “those people” were bad. Little did I know those lessons were going to be put to the test in my adult life.
When I became a parent nearly 20 years ago I had fairy tale dreams about my children and who they would become. I imagined my little girl growing up, wanting to be like me: someone’s wife, someone’s mother, with a job that she loved. I envisioned my little boy growing up and finding the girl of his dreams, starting a family and living a successful life with an important job. Then life surprised me a bit. When my daughter came to me several years ago sharing that she was gay I nearly lost my mind. I wanted the son-in-law, the grandchildren, and the happy ever after for her, not to mention what I had been told about that lifestyle. But I am okay with it; well I am okay with it now.
My daughter is an incredible young woman with more compassion in her big toe than I could ever dream of. She’s faithful, thoughtful, smart, funny and capable. She is kind, considerate and generous. She’s in her second year of college with the hope of becoming a neurologist. Her desire to be loved is a bit different that I had envisioned, but nonetheless she wants to love and be loved just like anyone else.
The latest surprise to her dad and me was that when she registered to vote she registered in the opposite party that we belong to. Being conservative and tending to vote conservative, we thought that our children would follow in our footsteps. Well, surprise! She has not. She belongs to the Democratic club at her school and is excited about voting in her very first election. We have had some pretty heated debates in our house, but have agreed that we all have our own opinions and that we are all free to vote the way we want. My son said to me recently that he is glad his sister did not let us intimidate her into thinking the way we wanted her to which leads me to believe that he is forming his own opinions and is laying the groundwork to his own life path.
Agreeing to disagree and accepting one another for who we are has become our family mantra. Finding middle ground, staying within the boundaries and playing the game of life fairly and respectfully is necessary in order to maintain some sort of peace and harmony within our family and in society. I am constantly learning in this game of life and believe that no matter the reason my life has taken this particular path I am constantly learning to re-think and re-shape the “who” I am supposed to be.
And the teachers in this great lesson….my children.