I’m The Proud Parent Of A Lesbian

June 20, 2014. My daughter Lisa and her Partner, Deena, were legally married in Washinton, DC.

June 20, 2014. My daughter Lisa and her Partner, Deena, were legally married in Washinton, DC.

Years ago when my new gas range wasn’t working properly, I called a repairman to come fix it. He arrived at lunchtime while I was eating a beautiful salad I had just prepared for myself. I stayed put, thinking he’d get the repair done quickly and be out of my way. He seemed very nice at first, but it was an election year. He began ranting about people on the left and about certain deranged people who think they should have special rights to marry other people of the same sex.

My stomach went sour. Steam started coming out from my ears. Trying to be halfway decent, I told him that I didn’t discuss politics while I was eating and to please stop the discussion. He continued his tirade. I stood up and told him that my daughter was a lesbian and that his comments were not appreciated or appropriate in my home. I said, “Please stop talking and do your work, or leave.” He got quiet, mumbling to himself as he finished up the repair. When he was done, he snapped, “Well I guess I won’t be asked to come and fix your stove again!” My reply was,“You Betcha! Now tell me how much I owe you for the repair and get out of my house.”

To say that I was angry would be an understatement. I was crimson with rage. Hot tears streamed down my face, and I began my own rant to my husband, Bill, a member of the same choirI belong to, who was agreeing with me all the way.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision to give marriage rights to all gays and lesbians no matter what state they live in was a landmark decision that will join the ranks of others: Giving women the right to vote, giving African Americans the right to vote, Roe vs. Wade, and so many others.

I’m proud to say that my daughter is a lesbian, a member of a community filled with love, and has been sticking it out to fight for her rights. I’m even more proud that our country is standing up for and offering support to her and her brothers and sisters.

In the wake of all landmark decisions there are always disagreements and nay sayers who can make the climate uncomfortable and even dangerous. Those who don’t agree with big changes do have a right to disagree and protest, just as the gay and lesbian community had the same rights to protest their treatment.

However, it does not give anyone the right to be hateful. I allow myself to listen and discuss just about anything, but only if hatred is left at the door and tolerance fills the room where we talk.

Have you seen those bumper stickers on the back bumpers of cars saying: “I’m A Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student at Such and Such High School?”

Well, I have a new one I’d like to get printed out and put on my back bumper:

“I’m The Proud Parent Of A Lesbian.”

Another New Year

Photo by Barbara Germershausen, August 29, 2012

It’s been busy around C’ville this past week.  While the public schools opened their doors over a week and a half ago, last weekend, brought the University students back to town. Traffic is crazy and from now on, Fridays and Saturdays will be party nights at the Fraternities and Sororities just a couple of blocks away. Fortunately, we rarely are bothered by them on our street.  This weekend is the first home football game of the year and everyone is in high spirits.  As I write this I can hear the UVA Marching Band practicing just over the rise.  I love it!

Labor Day has always been my own, personal New Year.  January first is great, but it doesn’t hold the same celebratory meaning in my book.  As a kid I loved school and when the end of August arrived, I couldn’t think of anything else. Mom always got me a new dress and shoes, a few pencils, a notebook or two, and maybe a new lunchbox. I loved learning, except for math, which always made me “knots-in-my-stomach anxious.”

Even though I’m not going back to any school at the moment, I did get to soak in the excitement of just that earlier in August when I took my grandkids shopping for their back to school needs.  Zoe, especially was excited, just as I had been at her age.  But things have changed a lot since I was in grade school, when all I had to bring on the first day of school were my pencils, a notebook, and my lunch.

Zoe and Noah’s school provided them each with a list of necessities in July. It included rolls of paper towels, boxes if tissues for runny noses, tape, crayons, colored markers, pens, pencils, lots of notebooks, graph paper, loose leaf paper, pens, pencils, scissors, index cards, poster board, rulers, compasses, and I’ve forgotten what else.  I was in shock when I saw the list and I hope all that stuff is supposed to last the whole year. I had no idea what going back to school meant in terms of the dollars these days. Wow!

It’s also a new year politically speaking.  Political ads have gotten nastier and more money is being spent by both parties than ever before.  Even though I’m trying to stay away from getting involved, I caught myself yelling at the television the other night.  The dogs looked like they wanted to hide and Bill had a big smirk on his face.  I got caught!  This woman who pretends not to care, who smiles her way through the worst of it, got hooked. I don’t like it.

There is a wonderful story that most of you have probably heard, about a boy who tells his grandfather that there is a big fight going on inside of him and he doesn’t know what to do.  The grandfather explains that there are two wolves living inside of him. One wolf is hateful, and can cause wars inside of every person who walks the earth.  The other wolf is filled with love, peace, and tranquility.  When the boy asked which wolf would win the battle raging in his heart, his grandfather answered, “The one you feed.”

I choose to feed the wolf of love.  My ranting and raving at the television gets me nowhere and sends a lot of negative energy out into the world, which gathers with all the other negative energy, causing hatred.  I’ve renewed my promise to stay above the fray by blacking out ad time on TV and carefully screening all phone calls, especially around dinner time. I like to enjoy my food and digest it in peace. And, I’ve blocked someone on my Facebook page who is voting for the same candidate that I am, but who spews out hateful messages using extremely colorful language. I was planning on unblocking her once the election is over, but I’m rethinking that.

When It’s possible, I will have civilized conversations about why I’m choosing to vote for my particular candidate, and if it isn’t possible I’ll simply let it go.  I’ll write letters that may help to change someone’s mind. And best of all when the day comes, I’ll go out and vote.

Photograph by Barbara Germershausen, August,2012.

This past Wednesday, President Obama, visited our fair city. Traffic was a nightmare and getting anywhere was impossible.  I don’t do well in crowds, so I chose to stay home and watch on television as he spoke.  I was touched by many of the things he told his live audience of over six thousand people, especially the numerous UVA students who were there.  He told them that this election and all of those to come, should be more important to them than anything  else.  These young people are the future of this country and many of them don’t like what they see ahead. When a small group of protestors marched by and the audience began to chant, “Four More Years,” the President stopped them saying, “Don’t chant! Just go out and vote!”

So now you know who I’m voting for. As if you couldn’t tell.  It’s okay if you don’t like my choice but I’ll be delighted if you do.  We all have the right to vote and to choose the candidate we like the most.  I’d like to see all of us stop fighting and spreading hatred.  That goes for both parties.  Please, let’s feed the wolf of love.

My friend and yoga teacher, Barb Germershausen took theses photos.  She’s a volunteer at Obama’s campaign office here.  She got to stand in the front row, smack dab in front of him, and after he spoke, she got to shake his hand!

Photograph by Barbara Germershausen, August 29, 2012