Friday, May 18, 2012

Real life is not a Soap Opera

In light of all that is being talked about around the "first gay president" and the equal marriage debate, I'd like to connect the issue with something a little closer to home:  Soap Operas.  I have been a Days of Our Lives fan since my mother first let me watch it with her when I was about 12 years old.  I've watched it on and off since.  Soap operas used to be the place where important social issues were brought up alongside hot couples, feuding patriarch, cat fights and cheating and lying about it; ie, just like the Maury show…but scripted…and with rich people.  Not so much now.  However, my soap, which once had Marlena possessed by the devil and the evil man obsessed by her, Stefano, saving her from said devil, decided to deal with how a gay teenager comes of age and comes out to his parents and to his family.  I have to say it's been really well done and there's no better scene than when young Will comes out, finally, to his parents: Sami and Lucas.

For a little background, Sami and Lucas were teenage parents. Sami slept with Lucas because she felt like she was unattractive because Austin, her sister Carrie's boyfriend, would not even look at her.  Lucas wanted Carrie and both Lucas and Sami were plotting to make the objects of their desire fall in love with each of them, respectively.  In the moment when Sami feels unloved and ugly, they make love because Lucas feels bad for her.  In true soap fashion, there are paternity tests faked and the parents hated each other for years but of course, in the end, they fell in love and got married.  But they got divorced and…and...well this is not why I'm writing this blog.

True to life, when Will comes out to his parents, one of them just can't take it.  Sami (who's kind of a selfish and self-centered screw up, but I love her anyway because cain't nobody be perfect) just walks out.  But not because she doesn't love her son, but because she sees herself as a screw up that she didn't see it coming.  She was so wrapped up in herself, she missed what was going on with her own son.  She's having trouble accepting her son, not because he's gay, but…because he's gay.

Before I had kids, I wouldn't have been able to understand this.  Just accept your son Sami! He's your son and you love him.  That's it!  But now that I have two little girls, I understand her reaction a bit better.  I wouldn't have reacted that way…at least I hope not.  It's not that as a parent, you would cease to love your child.  It's that every parent has a set of dreams for their children.  These dreams generally are rose colored and ambiguous.  They will be great in school, and popular and smart and fall in love and get married and have children and do well in a job they love and have a nice house, and take care of you when you're old and tired.  Then you can watch your beautiful grandchildren playing on the carpet in front of a fireplace while gentle music is playing in the background and all is well.  Ahhhhh.

But when your child does not fit that script in some way by an illness or a disability, or an accident or being gay…the script changes.  All you can think about is: will they be ok?!?!? Mothers have difficulty when their child gets a paper cut or falls off the monkey bars.  To have their child be in pain is like being water boarded…slowly.  It's excruciating.  I have gay family members, gay co-workers, gay friends, but this is one thing I know nothing about personally.  I can't protect my child all the time! Will they be able to find love, will they be able to have children.  To these questions, the answer is yes, but…I just want my child to be fine and in today's world to be gay is still a tough walk in life to take. I am of the belief it's not a choice, it's who you are.  But still you think: is there something I did, is there something I should have done…How can I smooth the way for my child.  I hope no one bullies or kills them just because someone is affronted by their sexual orientation. Jesus. Please protect my child.

This is what would be going on in my mind. I'm just a mom. I want what's best for my children.  They are mine and I love them…no matter what.

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