Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meet The Boys: From a late in life family.

Let me introduce you to "my boys" Oh they are older now, but I love this picture, I always have. (I am the Mother, I choose the pictures.) The big smiley one in the front is James. And the one with the knowing look in the back is Kevin. He is the oldest. Kevin is 18 now, he will be 19 in a few months. James is everything you mothers of girls warn them about. Just ask Lorrie. He is 16 now. He can charm..... well you know the rest. The boys were, for much of their life, raised in a so called "traditional family." At the time I would have told you we were were a "close" family. That I was really close with my boys. Their father and I were married until Kevin was 15 and James 13. I divorced their father before I came out publicly.

Kevin and I had a talk last night. He is living with me again. He moved out last October. We hadn't been on very good terms since last spring and things came to a head finally and it was best that he move out. He has since made real progress with a lot of things and I have also learned how to express my momness in a way that he can deal with better. He has Asperger syndrome. He was diagnosed rather late, so communicating verbally correctly is more important with him than with someone who can read body language and understand vocal cues. It is something I am only really now beginning to understand. Kevin has made huge progress in learning to look for the clues the rest of us just seem to see.

We had a good talk. We talked about his dad, that his dad really is a good guy at heart, but that the alcohol had really ruined some of the good, but that he still loved him, as he should, how he missed his brother living away, how he got his GED and has returned to Adult School to get his high school diploma as well. (one issue causing momness was his dropping out last year! YIKES) He has been seriously looking for work but it hasn't been easy in this economy, but he has had some good interviews and he has an in (me) where I work. ( His efforts last year were nil, another issue for momness.)

And then he said "it really freaked James and I out when you came out Mom." and went on to another subject. I said, wait a minute, you can't drop that A-bomb and just go on Kev, you have to explain that one to me. He said OK we will talk about it tomorrow. Ummmm NOPE, we are talking about it tonight or I won't sleep at all.

After the initial shock of me coming out, and some really dumb jokes in bad taste, the boys have been fine, it has been a non issue, I thought. They have told me several times that growing up they really never felt I loved them, not knowing I had killed all my emotions to stay in the closet.

"Yeah, you really changed a lot after you came out. You dressed completely different, you talked different, you acted different and you even smoked different cigarettes all of a sudden."

He was right, when I came out I dressed more feminine, a little younger even, not really "old lady trying to look like a teenager", LOL, but I started wearing a little sexier clothes. I let my hair grow a bit, I lost weight, I did speak differently. I didn't mumble as much, I voiced my opinions, I speak with more authority in my voice than I used to. (The cigarettes were cheaper, no other reason) I sat up straighter, I was more outgoing than I was before. I was also newly in love and I was glowing with it. (I am and I still do!) I thought the changes were good.

It never occurred to me that to have their mother change literally, in their eyes, overnight was freaky. Even good change. But I see it now. He let me discuss my view of the change too. And he listened. And then I listened some more. He hugged me good night and I hugged him back and told him how much I really loved him. He said he knows I do now.

James is not as vocal as his brother is about such things. We have had a few, (for James that is a lot) discussions about some of what Kevin talked about last night. But I hadn't put it all together. James is much happier that I show more emotion now too and knows how much I love him. We joke a bit more and we got to know each other better the last 7 months with just the two of us. It was really nice. But he is glad Kevin is back. I am too. Very glad.

We are becoming a closer family now that I have come out. Their father moved to California last year, they still talk to him on the phone, send each other letters and DVD's and they are going to visit him this summer. He has stopped drinking and smoking and he has gotten better at communicating with both of them as well. He and I can talk now, as the best friends we always really were. And as the parents of children should.

We aren't very much a "traditional family" anymore. But for us anyway, that definition of family never fit very well, it was unnatural, we just didn't know it at the time. Our family now means we trust each other enough to talk about things, even uncomfortable things, we aren't afraid to grow together or admit our mistakes, we aren't afraid nor incapable of showing love for each other and best of all, the boys see and feel that I love them unconditionally and they know it in their hearts as well. They know now their father does too.

Our new definition fits us much better. Finally we are a real family...naturally.
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