There is one common question any time I have a conversation about being gay and that is “what do your parents think?” I try to answer in the best way I know but last month I called my mom and asked her if she’d be willing to write for my blog. I only asked one question and let her take liberty with where she wanted to go with it.
Hi my name is Kathy Lee Barrio I am the mom of Matt barrio. When Matt asked me to write in his blog he said he wanted me to write about being his mom. And it’s taken me a while to think about what would I write. I wondered if I should add in my personal past struggles of good and bad choices. Some that hurt others (that I ask forgiveness for) and some that hurt me (that I have forgiven myself for). But for this blog post I will leave my past out.
I’ll start out with telling you how amazing it was just to find out that I was pregnant with Matt. Carrying him was one of the easiest pregnancies I had. He almost came early, extremely early. But then after hearing the woman giving birth in the other room scream the entire night, he decided to come out late lol. When he was born he was the quietest baby, he was also a touchy baby that loved to be near you all the time. As he started to grow up into a little boy some people would say, “he’s so sensitive.” But I guess as a mother I always saw that as him being loving, tender hearted, and caring about other people.
When he was young my mother-in-law who was living with us became ill. One day as we were walking into the rehab unit a woman in a wheelchair grabbed Matt’s hand and pulled him close. She kept telling him, “thank you for visiting me.” He allowed her to believe he was there just for her and he even allowed her to give him a big, drooling kiss on the cheek. He then walked into his Grams room and quietly cleaned the spit from his cheek. Then he helped me apply medicine to his Gram (for her shingles). Why did I just share this story? Because if I am going to share about how it is to be Matt’s mom this epitomizes it. It gives you a peak into the young man he is. I always remember this story with a smile and gratitude. My son was a BIT OCD 😉 so to see him allow someone he didn’t even know give him a wet sloppy kiss and to have him help me with his gram meant so much to me. 🙂
After he graduated high school a group of ministry students came out from Texas. Time passed and one night Matt came in and told us that he had decided to go to Texas for the school of ministry. In that school of ministry he met many amazing people and friends. He read the Bible, he prayed for himself, he prayed for others, he went on missions trips, etc. During those years I was so proud of who he was. I was proud that he desired to make a difference in this world with sharing the love of God.
There are those that ask me if I have shared the Bible with Matt and the truth is he probably knows the Bible better than I do. He loved to look deep into the Bible when he was in the ministry school. I remember reading some of his insightful papers. He had a passion for ministry he had dreams of doing missions, dreams of helping others, dreams of doing a nonprofit.
You may be wondering at this point: what does this mother who Loves God with all her heart, who raised her son in a Christian background, think about his decision to live an openly gay lifestyle? How do I feel about him not living a traditional Christian lifestyle? My only answer to this is that I love my son. I don’t see him as a label I still see my son. I want to get a little real here and share with you that there were tears when my son announced his lifestyle. Inside I felt sad that he would miss out on having children, on having a traditional life, a life that others wouldn’t condemn. I feared that his friends that he become so close to would shun him. Those leaders that he looked up to would preach to him, judge him, and turn him away. But his friends and leaders impressed me with the love they continued to share. I prayed that he would surround himself with people that would love him unconditionally. I prayed that those he loved would not wound his heart for choices they might not agree with.
I guess as you read this you could be saying, “isn’t she supposed to be talking about what it is like to be the mom of a gay son?” And I’m here to tell you that I just see my son as my son still. I share all the stories above to show you how my son was as he grew up. He has grown into an absolutely amazing man and the amount of love that he has is just astounding to me. He is filled with forgiveness, love, and compassion. As he has grown into the man he is now he has developed those qualities through all the life experiences and trials that he has been through.
Are you wondering, “why isn’t she talking about how to change him? How to love the man and not the sin? How to get him to see things the way he ‘should’ see them?” Here’s my answer to those questions: I don’t see my son as somebody I need to fix, I don’t believe I have a right to tell him how to live his life. I don’t believe that I have any right to judge the choices he or any of my children have made in their lives.
I still worry about Matt sometimes, wondering if those that do judge will push him away from God. Will he grow hard because of words spoken out of mouths of those he is close to? Will he still see God as a loving God? Will he find a life filled with love? I worry about all my kids in the same way.
I’ve been married to my wonderful, loving husband, Ron, for 34 years now. I see that life can be filled with LOVE, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, caring, giving, and contentment. I pray all of those things for my children. I don’t separate one out and pray something different just because people place a label on them. I recently was honored to meet my son’s partner, Jacob, and was so happy that Jacob was caring, thoughtful, and loving.
In the end it comes down to this: do I love my son any differently because he is living his life as he chooses? Nope. I just know one way to LOVE and that is unconditionally (isn’t this how we all hope to be loved?). Loving each of my unique children just as they are. Life is such a gift, and living it with LOVE is a choice. I choose to live my life with loving as much as I can, how do you choose to live your life?