I am going to tell you a story about our youngest daughter.
I describe her life, right from the moment of conception until today at 13 years old, as just a whole lot of surprises.
Allora was 9 months old when I discovered I was pregnant again. This was a complete shock to us, for several reasons. 1 - Our last two children had taken years to conceive, with active trying....and 2 - we were actively trying to prevent pregnancy....I was breastfeeding, and we were using a barrier method birth control. I was also using NaProTechnology as a way to track my cycles (since with breastfeeding it was very sporadic). So, I was watching my basil body temperature and at precisely the right day it elevated (which means my period was on the way), so I stopped taking my temperature....but then 1, 2, 3, 4 days went by and no period. Hmmmm....I gave it a few more days and then took it again, and it was back up. This was not normal. I looked around online (which was not as exhaustive as it is now). I checked my handy books but could find no references as to what the temp would mean. Usually, to confirm a pregnancy you need 16 consecutive days of a high temperature. I did not have that....so logically I was not pregnant, right?!? But, as the days went on, I did what I had done a million times before, I got myself a pregnancy test, assuming it would be negative, then I could get on with being a mother of 3....but, can you guess what happened? You are correct, it was positive. I did not believe that one, so next day I took another one. Positive as well.
Goodness, life had just thrown a huge (or little?!?) surprise our way, I with a 9 month old baby was pregnant again.
Fast forward to a few weeks...we talked about it and were positive this baby would be a boy. Amadeus said it made sense....girl, boy, girl....it was time for a boy. I usually "know" what my babies (and other people's...but that is a whole blog post in itself...hahaha) and I "felt" boy...so when my doctor was performing my ultrasound and said it was a girl, I almost fell off the table. I actually said "Are you sure? Really?!?!" He laughed and showed us her parts. Sure enough, she was a girl....Surprise!!
She was not an easy baby (everyone said 4th babies are easy...do not believe them), she cried all the time, was very clingy, and had dairy issues as well as trouble gaining weight as a toddler.
But as she grew, we noticed her personality was so unique. She was a lot like her oldest sister with a great imagination but so much more. She used to get upset when we would say she was pretending to be a cat or do...."No, I AM a cat"...hahahaha We let her....why fight (she outgrew it, she does not at 13 still believe she is a cat....lol) She was loud and opinionated, but yet, super sensitive toward those people and things she carried deeply about.
As she grew to pre-teen we noticed when people had conversations about "Who do you like the most out of that show?" she always named girls, or if anyone talked about marriage, she would say things like "I think everyone should marry who they love, shouldn't matter their gender". (Which she is 100% correct!!!) There were obviously other things we noticed that lead to our suspicions, but one day she confided in me that she liked boys and girls. I was so proud that she had finally shared that personally with me. I gave her the best advice I could. You go girl!! She talked about how she wanted to have a girlfriend (not yet but someday), but that she would marry a boy to which I asked for clarification. She informed me, she really wanted babies and she "knew" you needed a boy to make that happen. I was able to share such wonderful news...2 women can get married and have babies!!! I reminded her about our dear friends (who actually make the dryer balls we sell), who are married and have a baby. But I said, it was also ok to marry whichever gender she decided to. At that time, she said she would stick with her plan....hahaha
A few months later (maybe a year or so, time is so hard to keep track of) she told me she was a lesbian, not bi-sexual like she had shared. She admitted that she really wanted to like boys, but she just did not. Which I really had already known.
All during this, I had let Ben know about our conversation, but until that point she had not shared with him directly (she had asked me to tell him)...this happens all the time with our children, they prefer to share stuff with one of us (depending on the kid and the revelation depended on which parent they confided in..so far it has worked for us, we are just so proud and happy that they feel they can come to us).
At this point, she felt comfortable enough to start sharing openly in our home (I knew she had already shared with her siblings and some close friends) but it had not been revealed to other relatives. We wanted for her to determine when/how she choose to come out to them.
That happened during the quarantine of COVID-19. She felt she really wanted to share this wonderful news with her grand-parents. We encouraged her to do whatever she felt comfortable with. So, she set up FaceTime calls with both sets (separately) and shared the happy news.
I will be honest here, I love both sets of our parents, but I honestly had no idea how they would react. Mainly, because I really think they had no idea. And, given, their age and association with church, I had a slight prejudice believing I knew their views on homosexuality. All of this was unfounded and unnecessary, she was so happy and relieved at their response (as was I), and I am still not sure why I was concerned at all. They showed love and support.
Now she feels she can be very open and honest with everyone. And I am so proud of how comfortable she is being herself. :)
Now, you might be thinking to yourself....what's the big deal? You have to realize our age and upbringing did not really encourage us to be accepting of homosexuality. (No one person's fault, just the cultural at the time). So, we might have had opinions deep and hidden, but I am happy to report that neither Ben nor myself in any way/shape or form allowed any of these blatantly wrong opinions to even give the slightest prejudges to surface and we are more than ecstatic with our daughter.
This blog post started as a list of ways our youngest daughter's life has been a series of surprises....but her sharing being a lesbian was not one of them. There were too many signs along the way for it to surprise us.
I say all the time that she is "different" but that has nothing to do with her sexual orientation. She is different from me, because she can be very loud (just her voice is loud...lol), she marches to the beat of her own drum...she still loves to play pretend, she loves to choose her favourite things....such as she has a favourite shovel (see a little different than most 13 year olds....hahaha) But when she loves something, she loves it with all her heart and gives it her all.
Some day she will use that zealous love and love a woman with all her heart and make a wonderful wife and mother, in a world where I hope they will be accepted and encouraged by all.
In the meantime, we will do all we can as her parents, by talking openly with her about her sexuality as well as encourage her by helping her partake in pride events, make sure she has the support of other kids/members of the LGBT community and just letting her be her wonderful self and letting her set the pace on these opportunities.
In the end, all that I ask from a mama bear stance, is whether you agree or disagree with homosexuality, I ask that you treat my daughter with the love and respect that she deserves because she is human (and all humans deserve love and respect) and never discourage her from being who she was born to be.
Maybe the world as a whole is not there yet, but for those of us that love Adaliah, all she has been shown is acceptance and love. And really isn't that the start? One person at a time, one family at a time, one community, one city, one province, one country....you get the idea.
She will likely face adversity at some point, but it has not been from those who love her and for that I am thankful.