Thursday, 6 March 2014

Independent: A letter to my son - To be read on 12 February 2020
Sunday, 02 March 2014, 09:00 , by Alison Bezzina

Dear Son,

Please put down your 5D video game and any other electronic device you might be attached to at this moment and read this. It will only take a few minutes, I promise.

It’s your birthday today and I can’t believe how time is flying by and how fast you’re growing up. No matter how old you are or how quickly you grow out of your shoes, you’ll always be my angel and I’ll always love you more than words can say.

Every birthday you ask me to tell you the story of how I met your mother, and every year I tell you that I met her at a party where we both got a little drunk, that it was love at first sight and that we then lived happily ever after.

But son, now that you’re growing up I have a confession to make. It’s time for you to know that that’s not how it happened, well – not exactly. Whilst I did meet your beautiful mother at a party, and whilst we did get a little bit drunk, it wasn’t love at first sight and we didn’t quite live happily ever after, at least not soon after.

You see; it wasn’t love at first sight because I had loved your mother long before I ever laid eyes on her. Long before I ever knew that she even existed, I wanted to be with someone who’d have the power to drive me up the wall and round the bend and then bring me back down again in one full swoosh. I dreamt of meeting my equal, someone who could walk right beside me, not in front of me and not behind me; not someone I could live with, but someone I couldn’t live without.

I spent my youth looking and hoping in vain and then, when I had almost given up, when I had almost resigned myself to the idea that I was to face the world alone, I met your amazing mother… at a party, where we both got a little bit drunk, where she fractured my rib with her strong hugs and where we started our attempt to live happily ever after.

Of course, sometimes, just like your Uncle Mark and Auntie Mary, we argue like parrots and when she shrank my favourite jersey into the size of a sock I even contemplated murder, but it never, ever, crossed my mind to live without your mother by my side.

You know, son, we would have loved to have had you before, if for no other reason than to have been able to toss a ball around with a little bit more energy than we have today, but it wasn’t possible, my love. It wasn’t possible because, as much as your mother and I loved each other and as much as we wanted you, for many, many years the world was up in arms against us.

You see, when I first met your mother our love for each other was considered wasteful, lustful and pretty much useless. People didn’t understand it and were afraid of it: our neighbour was even scared that my love for your mother would affect his own marriage. They were also scared that we’d hurt you, that you wouldn’t like living with us, and that we wouldn’t know what to do when you scored a penalty. They strongly believed that, because we loved each other, we’d be useless parents and you’d be better off in an orphanage.

But then something extraordinary happened. Some very brave politicians and courageous activists fought tooth and nail to make the rest of the world realise that the love I had for your mother wasn’t going to go away. They made people realise that we could take care of you and that, because we loved each other the way we do, we’d bring you up like the little gentleman that you are today.

Many years have passed since then, and we don’t have to worry about the law any more. We don’t have to worry about them taking you away from us, and we don’t have to worry about society or silly judgments that could have made our life hell. All we worry about now is whom you’ll be taking after. I know that it’s not genetically possible but, when I look at you, I honestly see your mother’s eyes. I also hear her love in your voice, and though you didn’t get her pretty nose and my bad teeth, you have certainly taken a little bit after each one of us.

I was quite a challenge as a child and in that you have certainly taken after me. You then acquired your caring ways from your mother, so that now there’s no resisting you, no matter what you do. As a child, I got away with murder just by making people laugh, but that trick very rarely worked with your mother and yet you seem to have figured it out and perfected it into an art. Please teach me when you have time between football and dance.

Son, your mother and I want you to be whatever it is that you want to be. Whether you grow up to love women or men, both or neither, we’ll love you endlessly and hope that you’ll be free to do so without worry or fear. Of course, you’ll experience pain as all those who love do, but we’ll be happy for you when you bring your girlfriend or boyfriend home and unless they’re disrespectful bigots, we won’t ever ask ‘why’.

There’s one last thing you need to know, my dear son, and you probably won’t understand this unless someone tells you otherwise, but yours is not what people call a traditional or normal family. Your family is considered different, my love, not because your mummy is white and your daddy is black, not because your mummy is half your daddy’s age, and not because your mummy works and your daddy stays at home. Darling, your family is different because you have two mummies.

‘Duh’ right?

I know, I know, you’re a big boy and you’ve noticed that by now, but what you might not have noticed are the strange looks you get when we pick you up from school and the little whispers that go on behind your back when we’re eating out. Or maybe you’ve noticed and you’re ignoring them just the way your mother and I have taught you from day one.

But there’s good news, my son – today, people who don’t think that your family is normal, those who think that your mummies’ love is not real love and that their relationship is second class compared to everyone else’s, are few and far between, and soon your family will be considered normal too. You’ll still have to work double on Mother’s Day to make two cards instead of one, but soon that’s about as different as your family will be. I promise.

Happy Birthday, my love.

Your Mummy

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