This summer has been a season of change and growth for my kids. The baby is talking up a storm, making two- and three-word sentences. One of my older kids has graduated and is now working as a licensed cosmetologist. Another of my unofficial kids (those who didn’t actually grow up in my house) is heading off to graduate school at an Ivy League university.
And then there’s Todd. Todd is one of my kids from way back. I met Todd when he and one of my older girls attended the same private school. Then, when that school closed, I started my own private school. Todd became one of the students there.
Our school operates a little differently than most. We have a very small student population, so each student’s family becomes part of our family. Many of the families become friends and we continue that friendship long after the child leaves our school to move on with other life adventures.
Todd’s family is one of those families. When my mother passed away, Todd’s family came in and did all of the floral arrangements for the memorial service. When Todd’s mother passed away, I officiated her memorial service. I baptized Todd’s niece and nephews. They know our kids and their histories. I was the first person Todd told when he decided to come out. And, when his parents struggled with that announcement, Todd came to live with my family for a few months while his parents adjusted.
And now, he’s getting married. Today!
I am, of course, officiating. I can’t imagine it any other way. I have watched this young man grow from an awkward teen into a strong adult. I have seen the changes with the arrival of his fiancé and I am anxious to see the life ahead of this young couple.
But, like many LGBT couples, Todd and Jeffrey experienced a few rocky spots on the road to matrimony. There were the family members who struggled with what to tell their kids, for example. There were others who weren’t sure about attending the wedding at all.
I find this attitude overwhelmingly frustrating. What do you tell children about any wedding? Two people fell in love and decided to spend their lives together. End of explanation. What more needs to be said? These parents don’t feel like they have to offer more explanations with straight couples. So why do they think children need more information if the couple is gay?
Too often, we make bigger deals about situations than we need to do. The people in our lives are different and that’s a good thing. If we are tolerant and accepting than our children will learn tolerance. It doesn’t matter if people are LGBTQ, differently abled, from a different culture or socio-economic reality. People are people and all people deserve to be respected and appreciated for their differences and gifts.
Help your kids learn to appreciate people for what they add to life. There is beauty and love all around us. Help them celebrate that.
So, here’s to two young men who fell in love. Here’s to those men who decided to make a life together, sharing in life’s joys and sorrows. Here’s wishing them a lifetime of love and happiness. I hope all of my kids are as happy in life as Todd and Jeffrey are today. True love is a beautiful thing.
Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, two biological kids, guardian of one baby girl and foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She is co-owner of a counseling agency that works with children and their families. Send your parenting questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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