Sunday, June 1, 2008

What's goin' On

Supergirl One found a summer job. She starts work next week at what I call a Storybook Farm just over the river from my house. It's a strawberry farm, mostly but they also have cows and sell organic milk and cheese. When SG2 visited, her new boss was making cheese and already giving her pointers. She felt very comfortable with the gentleman farmer and when he told her that the whole family is into literature and writing, that was it. She'd found her niche for the summer!

Me, I'm lacking motivation. I thought that Spring and all her glory would help me lighten my step and begin all the household projects that need doing. Not a chance. I just want to play and blog and read and eat and sleep and hang out with W.P. and SG2.

Supergirl One is still at college. Today is the last day of her campus job and it's the day where I go down to Mount Holyoke and help her pack her stuff to move into the massive UMass campus for summer session. She's determined to graduate with her class of 2009, despite massive setbacks in her freshman and sophmore years due to bipolar illness and frequent hospitilizations. She'd also battled drug reactions, a severe skin rash from a virus and low blood pressure that caused her to pass out on several occasions. I'm continuously amazed, impressed and otherwise blown away by this girl's determination and intellect. Is this my kid? It's what you get when you cross a pagan sphinx with a cunning runt! hehehehe

As an aside, I know I'm boasting and that my English friends rather look down upon we Americans for it, but....SG1's semester GPA was a 3.9. No easy feat at that overly demanding elitist school. We're thrilled and proud and in the hopes of sounding humble, it has little to do with us at this point. Hell, I wanted her to go the easy route because I was concerned her illness would drain the life out of her and she wouldn't be able to do academics at that level. That girl has proven me wrong and that's what makes me so in awe of her.

I'm gearing myself up emotionally, if not in regard to cleaning and organizing my house, for my mother's visit at the end of June. My mother, for those of you who may not know, lives in Portugal. My family (including CR) who read this blog, know and understand fully how much I adore my mother; what a good relationship we now have and how much The Supergirls look forward to basking in her unconditional love - because she is good at that. There are complications, of course.

This is a case where Love can't be everything. Supergirl One, whom my regular readers know is gay and engaged to be married to a lovely young woman, is intent on telling her grandmother that she's a lesbian. SG1 wrote to me an eloquent email explaining her reasons for this. Below is an excerpt from that email:

The choice is between upsetting her [where, honestly, the onus is on her, because she is potentially the party to be behaving negatively] and acting against my own sense of dignity and pride by lying about one of the most fundamental and important aspects of my life. The latter choice also has repercussions for my relationship and the trust I share with my partner.

My own personal worry is not that my mother will be rude or angry but that she will consider this another form of Tragedy. I grew up with the various forms of Tragedy. Besides death, illness and suffering, and natural disasters, Tragedy as defined by my Portuguese family comes in the form of Alcoholism, Adultry and anything else that disgraces one's family. She will doubless be heartbroken by the news that her lovely grandaughter is a lesbian and plans on shacking up with a girl. My mother understands that gays get married. But "gays" are those other people over there somewhere in a world she doesn't understand.

My mother is 77 years old and has been through a tremendous lot. I don't want this news to put her over the top. Honestly, I have no clue as to how she will come to grips with this. Especially without my father, who died almost three years ago. Who will help her to understand? It will have to be me, of course. When SG1 gives her grandmother the news, she'll then go back to her dorm for summer session, while I sit with my mother and help her to contemplate this. I'm worried and sad and frustrated that I have to be burdened by this! My mother will doubtless blame this tragedy on either my divorce from The Supergirls' father or the bipolar disorder, or both.

To complicate things, my Portuguese is not what it used to be and certain things are just so hard to labor into translation. I have this upstanding, proud family where I am the only member of the immediate family who has divorced. It confuses me, really. We have so many nutcases in the family - depression and bipolar illness have touched the lives of several family members. But something like a same-sex relationship can put everyone over the top! WTF?

I'm projecting but with a very good scope consisting of 48 years of experience being a part of my family. We'll see what happens, but Happen it must.


  1. I wish you luck. We have not had to face that in our immediate family, but I know my mom would have hit the ceiling had I or one of my children been gay. There is no way she would have accepted that. I do hope you and SG are luckier with it!

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  3. i can understand why your daughter wants to tell her.i can also understand where your mom will be coming from.
    i come from a family of italian immigrants on my mom's side. neither my mother or any of her 3 brothers married italians. my one uncle's in laws always treated him a little like he had the plague even tho he is a wonderful guy and a terrific husband and dad. i didn't find out until 10 years ago that was because my aunt was irish protestand and my uncle italian catholic and that my aunt converted. gasp!!!

    but, most everyone has adjusted to whatever life has brought and learned from it. hopefully your mom will too.

    my granddaughter is chinese. i'm sure my gramma would have had something to say about that, even tho she was a wonderful person she was a product of her times.

    we thought for sure that my father might have something negative to say but he adored my little mai and my mother just adores her as well.

    mr mom always uses the term colored for black because that was the polite word back then, before the 60's and say it loud, i'm black and proud. you can't get her to say black. times change. people change, sometimes a lot. sometimes a little.

    i hope you and your beautiful daughter are happily surprised by the reaction but if not, ask your daughter to remember the times and the culture her gramma was raised in and to not take it too hard. then wait and hope.

    i will send good thoughts.

    p.s. as to divorce, better divorce than the alternatives.

    things change, people and circumstances change and to be locked into a marriage or any partnership that isn't a good one is just soul numbing.

    i think sometimes divorse is a blessed thing.

    my rambles.

  4. I hope that potentially difficult conversation goes off without too much pain.

    Family can be so positive and so negative, at the same time.

    The storybook farm sounds really cool. I hope Supergirl II enjoys her summer working there.

  5. Kenju & DCup: thanks for the good luck and good wishes.

    Sherry: thanks for your long and thoughtful comments,which are not rambling at all. It seems we have much in common with the immigrant family thing. It's both a blessing and a curse to grow up bicultural, bilingual and to have parents who are both totally on the money when it comes to so many essential things and so freakin' out of it when it comes to other things. I especially appreciate how you touch on other matters like your aunt's marriage to a man of a difference faith. It's all connected in that people fear what they don't know and therefore don't understand. Thanks again, my friend, for sharing yourself with me here and at The Peace Tree. I truly value what you have to say and in fact, look forward to it.

  6. My step-dad had two natural daughters: one is a lesbian and the other married a black man. He was angry for awhile but he got over it. I hope it goes alright for you. You are caught in the middle but your daughter, I think, is right: she shouldn't have to hide a major aspect of her being. Good luck with your mother's visit.

  7. Thanks, lib. I think it will eventually be okay but I'm not looking forward to it. Then again, I was dreading telling my parents about splitting up from my ex and they were way more supportive than I ever imagined. We'll see...

  8. I am beginning to think we might be twins, separated at birth ... It's not my daughter though, it's another family member, and my mother's response to her.

    My e-mail's, and I'd love for you to use it, Sphinx. I am sending prayers and caring energy out into the universe for you and the family, especially brave SG1.

  9. Kate,
    Thank you. I mean the kind of thank you where your heart feels the connection to another human being.

    Twins at separated at birth has occurred to me as well, reading your blog, fine lady!

    I will write to you...

  10. I too hope that all goes far better than you expect it to. We never know until it happens.

    If it were my mother, she would smile and look vague,and change the subject as if she had not heard what was said. Maybe if you pretend it didn't happen, it will go away. Personally, I would rather there be an explosion of emotion. Pretending always infuriated me. At least the explosion means she cares. I do understand why your daughter wants it to be out in the open.

    You may have a difficult time ahead and I will be thinking of you and hoping for the best.

  11. If it must, then let it be. What comes will come what falls will fall. The truth from SG1 is more important to SG1 and I suspect as important to your mother. I am sure she has heard worse news, eh? I have found that spilling a full glass of milk all over the table and all over everyone is better than shattering an empty one.

  12. PM: Thanks. Yes, my mother has heard and seen plenty worse but this news, to her, may be in the category of "avoidable tragedy". Not that she'll think my daughter is tragic but she may consider the "gay lifestyle" tragic and what will send SG1 into the pits.

    Maybe she'll surprise me...

  13. I feel for you, Gina. Your Mom's the absolute best, but she's from a different time and culture, and I know this will be difficult for her, and consequently difficult for both you and SG1.

    I'll posit that smiles and hugs and an emphasis on the miracle that is our Daughter's love for a very worthy partner will win the day, but not without a good deal of patience and respect from both of you for your dear old Mom.

    I'll be happy to act as a "reinforcement" if the battle allows.

  14. Thank you, CR. Really. I think it would be a huge help if you and I had the same thing to say about our daughter to my mother.

    I think she will worry about what other people think. This remains one of the things that my mother and I cannot see eye to eye on, unfortunately.


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