Two days after coming out to my parents on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon in February 1994, I boarded a plane and flew back to Seattle, my new home of about six months. Leaving Buffalo was bittersweet; I would miss my parents and grandparents and cousin, but I was anxious to return to a new city I had fallen in love with, the new guy I was seeing, and my new life as an openly gay man, something I never had in Buffalo.
Shortly after returning, mom and I began to exchange letters. I wrote about how good it felt to be honest with her and dad, really honest, for the first time. I tried to ease fears and calm worries, asserting that I didn’t blame them in any way for my sexual orientation, and that although it had taken a while to come out to them, it was not because I doubted their unconditional love.
Mom wrote me back about the depth and breadth and scope of that love, reiterating that there was nothing that would change her love for me. She wrote about how difficult it was to know that a version of me, an idea of what I would be in her life, was no longer. She wrote of the books she was reading and the P-FLAG group she and dad attended.
Life went on and we visited one another often, talking over tea at Greek diners in Buffalo and glasses of wine late into the night in Seattle. I got married, and Patrick and I adopted two kids. Through it all we struggled, across a continent, to stay connected. Our letters, now emails, continued, and in them I shared frustrations we had raising our kids, while mom cheered me on and reassured me from afar. I offered support as she watched her mother’s health decline, and together we cheered as more and more states (and then the President! And then the U.S. Supreme Court! And maybe even the new Pope?) changed their views on same-sex marriage.
Over the years, Mom and I discussed writing a book, thinking that just maybe our experience would resonate with other modern families who were navigating through a changing world, dealing with family history, religion, distance, marriage, and raising children. We hope to write the book, and have a start on it. In the meantime, we decided to share some of our current writing on topics that matter to us, and we think topics that matter to many other families like ours.
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