Tag Archives: LGBT

Sleepy Son Sunday!

Yay! He’s back. After a day in a diner and Burlington Public Library, and finally getting on the bus at 4  or 4:30, and then the train, and home after midnight. Yes, he is at a state school, and they are quite serious about kicking everyone out of the dorms, and closing down for the break. But when you are 18, it’s not a big deal.

Having packed no food at all for the journey, he was very happy to have grilled cheese and green smoothie and SleepyTime tea at 1:30 am last night (or this morning.) SleepyTime tea? What was I thinking?! Once I was properly hugged, and the food was downed, he was off with friends. He is not the one we call “Thumper,” and manages to tiptoe upstairs, and into bed without bothering me, so I have no idea what time the reunion celebration ended.

Dad made pancakes for breakfast. He was the one who discovered the best pancakes ever: we add pears (when we have them at home, but I bought some nice ones a few days ago, with return of son in mind) as well as bananas. Banana pear pancakes are a recipe I recommend. Not a sweet eater, even though maple syrup is a flavor I love, and we have Vermont maple syrup from a summer’s farmer’s market, I eat my pancakes out of hand. And I’m not sure I didn’t eat more than my share.

When I lived in California, and would come back East to visit, my dad would (so helpfully, he thought?) wake me up in the morning so I could “get on a good schedule.” I never did, and never really have been, so that always annoyed me. Never able to fall asleep before 4am after sitting in a plane all day, and then coping with a three-hour time difference, I didn’t appreciate the effort. Now I can consider that maybe he just wanted to see me. But I think he was just acting on misguided principle. I kind of think so. It bothered him that I should be sleeping at the “wrong” time. So no matter how much I may want to see the young man upstairs, I am going to “let it ride.” Nor am I going to tell him “You can’t go out at 2am!” To the contrary: he did, and probably had a very good time.

We had an amusing exchange before he left: Somehow the name of an old friend, who turned out to have briefly been a girlfriend during middle school years, came up. One of the people he went out with last night was “Ian,” his best friend since seventh grade. K then mentioned that ‘Jane” had dated “Ian” longer than he had. (What he meant to say was that Ian had dated Jane longer than  he had.) I retorted that this was not true. You, I said, have been going out with Ian longer than anyone! He laughed and agreed.

Lest anyone misread the tiniest hint of gay bashing into our conversation, there was none. We have a family rich with family members all over the sexuality spectrum. It reflects the human species pretty well that way. K’s college room mate is gay. When moving out of a miserable dorm room situation a straight, but preppie and annoying room mate, K, who happens to be straight, chose his room mate because they are friends, old camp friends. So LGBTQA friends: You are very welcome to my blog. LGBT objectors: This will probably not be a comfortable space for you. In this family, we celebrate the recent decision out of Illinois to allow gay marriage. If all the guys in the Bible had multiple wives–or were (supposedly) celibate, and we believe that, of course?–what is all the fuss about? The Bible most emphatically does not present marriage as between one man and one woman. People should neither be exclusively defined by, nor in any way punished for their sexual orientation. There is so much more to all of us.

I confess, I did not read the presumably pathetic email from some organization that pumps out pablum for parents of college students returning home for the first time. (Very pathetically middle class mush.) I’m sure I will make mistakes, but my plan is simple: provide food, be flexible, hope he has fun, and hope we are included in some of the fun.

There is creaking in the staircase 🙂

So I thought. Instead there is young man adjusting and enjoying himself in his own way, in his own time: first drumming and now keys serenade. I am content. But isn’t he hungry? If he hadn’t gone fourteen hours straight without food yesterday, I would think so, but I am going to trust that hunger will bring him down eventually. And that if he was in the mood for talking, he would. It must be glorious to be alone after so much forced togetherness!

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“Draw the Circle Wide” A Living Legacy

We gathered together, quietly, anxiously, some reaching for tissues in anticipation of the tears bound to flow. Seated in the chapel, we waited for the celebration of life ceremony to begin. There are so many reasons to “draw the circle wide.” We were gathered that afternoon to celebrate the life and contributions of one extraordinary individual, an individual whose constant inclusion of the LGBT community was one important legacy.

We, the celebrants, also mourners, were not sure what to expect. Would our colleague and professor participate via Skype? Might he be too tired that day, at home with his family in hospice care, to participate at all? (Would a recording of his voice be broadcast, and would the voice of a living man seem like the voice of an Old Testament God from above? This imagined scenario made me ill-at-ease.) When every seat of the Methodist Chapel was taken, and latecomers were standing, we heard the surprising and welcome words,”All rise to welcome our guest of honor and his family.” We rose, apprehensively, and then, as our beloved professor, colleague, and friend was wheeled to the front of the room, and slowly turned to face us, the clapping and calls of joy and greeting continued for many minutes.

The pithy, yet heartfelt, words of welcome concluded with an invitation to those present to step forward to share. People of all ages, from around the world, and in many languages, spoke not just of our professor, father, friend, but directly to him. We were reminded by one colleague that this vital man of powerful intellect who loved life, family, friends and justice–as well as a good party and music–so ardently, was also often angry, exacting, and demanding. Though slightly reduced in stature and stamina by illness, before us was a familiar person: gentle, helpful, yet often intimidating, and always life-affirming, fully himself. Some tried, but were barely audible when they stood to speak; some sang; others told of being homeless and being invited “home,” not merely once, but as family. All went forward to bestow and receive a kiss.

The ceremony ended with tossing of colorful confetti, which we rained down on one another. We sang as our esteemed teacher and his family left the chapel. The song was an embrace: we held hands in a convoluted ring, singing “Draw the Circe Wide” as they slowly and deliberately moved away. “Amazing Grace” indeed! Atheists, agnostics, believers in a transcendent God, and in the sanctity of physical earthly and human community, a spirit moved through us and united us. This communal spirit and the strength of the man in the wheelchair– unflinchingly, graciously, even joyously attending his own celebration of life ceremony–was a testimony to one life and to all life.