Sara Whitman

The Reality Comes Crashing In

Filed By Sara Whitman | August 01, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: anti-gay violence, Berkshires, Camp OUT, hate crimes against LGBT people, kids, LGBT, Newbury Comics, Unitarian, Unitarian Church, UU church

I officially miss my kids.

Maybe it's because Jeanine is back in Boston today, working, and I'm up in Maine with all the animals. Maybe it's because I received two letters from Jake and one from Zachary today.

Jake drew a picture of a tree, and then wrote a note requesting a care package: an action figure, the newspaper, a bathrobe and "sum pichers of the cats."

The newspaper?

Yes, I sent him without a bathrobe because he insisted he didn't want one. Not that I'm feeling guilty.

Action figure.... do you think he means this?

crazycatlady.jpgThe special edition "Crazy Cat Lady?" Or is that too much like his mother? And look, she has a bathrobe, too.

Zachary wrote me, in typical Zachary fashion:

Dear Mom S,

I have sent out a letter and in my care package I would have the marvel bat 2 magic decks. Mom you can find them at Newberry Comics. Oh and some candy and comics.

Love, Zack

His required letter sending had taken place. I did send out care packages but before I received the letters. Allan is at work locating the marvel bat 2 magic cards from Newbury Comics. I'm surprised he didn't say, second shelf, to the left.

As Jeanine and I walked onto Ogunquit Beach yesterday, we watched cute little children playing in the sand happily. Jeanine sighed.

I miss the kids.

I rolled my eyes.

As Jeanine and I walked off the beach, late in the day, we watched no longer cute little children crying and screaming as their weary parents were trying to get them packed up for home.

Okay, I don't miss the kids, Jeanine said.

Today, armed with letters and faced with an old cat who insists on sitting on my lap even though it is 100 degrees, I miss my kids. The shooting at the Unitarian Church has left me feeling more susceptible. My idea of a safe place has been jarred. While the idea of anyone doing harm at a YMCA camp in the Berkshires is fairly remote, I think about Ben at Camp OUT.

All the kids at Camp OUT. They are all kids of LGBT parents. None of them chose to be a kid of a LGBT parent but there they are, hanging out together, trying to make sense of it all.

Are they targets? Should I not write about it? Should it be a top secret place no one knows about?

Maybe it's easier to shuffle my worries into a box called "I miss my kids." It normalizes the anxiety I feel about their safety in a world where LGBT people are still targets for extreme hate crimes.

A world I'm watching my oldest son come closer and closer to joining as different and there is not a single thing I can do to make it easier, keep him safe, or shelter him from what is to come.

A world that will take my other two sons confidence and comfort with their family structure and toss it in the air. No positive images on the daily news, only kids killed for being different, crazy people charged with hate coming into their churches.

When will Zachary's "Day of Silence" become a year of silence because to speak up is too challenging?

When will Jake's easy response, I have two moms and two dads, turn into a guarded shrug?

Like I said, it is easier to simply say, I miss my kids.

Otherwise, the reality comes crashing in, I am paralyzed by fear and the people who hate win.

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What an amazingly moving post, Sara.

Thanks for this. It helped me crystallize something about my own parental anxieties and the prevailing mood...

Between the crime wave in Indianapolis and the shootings in TN, poor Paige has barely left our front porch lately. Thanks, Sara, for articulating this so beautifully.

I can relate.

I spent the first month of summer vacation listening to my kids bicker and looking forward to the week of peace and quiet while they were at camp.

I spent all but the first day of it missing them and looking forward to them getting home. And worrying, much as I did not want to. My kids, for the first time, had gone to the brand new Jewish camp on the other side of the state. I know they have good security; I know that they have emergency plans for everything from the unthinkable to bee stings. But I worried anyway. And I will never tell them that.

They had the time of their lives and they are already looking forward to next year.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 2, 2008 3:24 AM

Wonderful sharing Supermom.

Thanks for the post. As a Transgendered parent, of three boys, transitioning in the same community, I have parental anxiety. I worry too because they are bi-racial. A friend once told me, one night when i had parental guilt, That they have there own "HP" and i made it to an adult.

Summer camp with no bathrobe?

I remember all my kids having those, with swimsuits underneath. It's like, um, isn't a swimsuit enough?

I know, I know, not the point of the post, but....