The anxiety is there, I’m not going to lie. It’s been there since my brother and I had our moment of reconciliation months ago. I knew this time would come. And it has. Saturday will be the first time Noah and I have seen my parents in twenty months. Almost exactly. That’s almost two years.
My baby brother is getting married Saturday and Noah & I will be in attendance. We wouldn’t miss it for the world. He’s my baby brother, after all. But along with the joy and celebration, for me, will come anxiety and tension.
My parents do not approve of how I raise my son. They don’t understand or approve of why he’s not vaccinated. They do not get why I’m raising him vegan. They draw the line at me letting him wear pink, sparkles and whatever the hell else he wants to wear. There were always moments of discomfort. Always comments about him being a sissy. Always heated, belligerent episodes from my dad. The point was finally made clear on my grandfather’s death bed as my mother tried to physically remove us from the hospital room because my son was in pink, head to toe, with fairy wings as a special touch. I never did get to really tell my grandpa goodbye. He passed the next morning before I could sneak back to see him. It took four months of back and forth but I finally cut ties. I couldn’t handle the emotional ups and downs and, more importantly, no longer would I allow anyone the ability to love my son conditionally. He deserves more than that and so do I.
Twenty months. Twenty months and he still is the same Noah. Happy, sweet, smart, healthy and free to be whomever he chooses. I will fight to the grave to make sure no one takes that away from him. If only they could look past their own insecurities to see that he’s an amazing child who has so much to teach all of us. If only they would look past their vanity and pride to see a child who has more confidence than both of them combined. If only they would step back and allow us the opportunity to just be. And then maybe, just maybe, love us for who we are.
It’s OK, though. We will stand proud like the tall, tall trees of the forest. We will do it with the same quiet grace. We may tremble in the wind and sway in the storms but, in the end, we will stretch our limbs and reach high for the sun. We will feel it’s warm embrace and know that, within our own forest, we are loved. Unconditionally.