Mother: You never were afraid of me. Your sister and your brother, I think they are still afraid of me. They are so conventional. I frightened them into conventionality. So afraid of making a mistake. I had to be careful not to push them.
Me: You weren’t frightening. You were never angry at any of us. I think [brother] and [sister] are just timid. And you do have an overpowering personality.
Mom: They did things right because they were afraid of what I would say or do if they did them wrong. They were perfectionists in a by-the-book way. Not you. You were never like that. Never afraid to make a mistake. Never afraid to challenge me. Never afraid to challenge anyone. I don’t think you ever cared what I thought.
Me: That’s not true. I cared very much what you thought.
Mom: Nonsense. You did things right because you got pleasure from doing things right. Pleasing me never entered your mind.
Me: No, I was never afraid of you. There was never anything to be afraid of.
Mother: But you were so afraid of me about the most important thing in your life.
Me: I wasn’t afraid of you. I was afraid of losing you. Of losing our family. It’s the most important thing in the world to me. Well, now it’s the second most important thing in the world.
I just knew what you believed. The Church doesn’t accept it and you wouldn’t accept it.
Mother: Was it just the Church? That I would follow the Church? I wasn’t happy when you left the Church, but I accepted it.
Me: No, it wasn’t just the Church. I knew how you felt about it yourself. We were in Seattle –
Mother: Oh, no! The women kissing! I said something, didn’t I? I regretted it the moment I said it. Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.
Me: I’m sorry. I underestimated you. I never thought you would accept that I am a lesbian. I should have come out years ago.
Mother: You didn’t underestimate me. I wouldn’t have accepted it.
Me: But you did.
Mother: I never would have accepted it in the abstract. If you had come home any time and told me, “Mother, I’m a lesbian,” I would not have accepted it, even last year. I can’t say what I would have done, but I know that I could not have accepted it, not as I have. I doubt that I would ever have agreed to meet one of your girlfriends. It would have been forever a wall between us.
But meeting CA changed that. She put a face to it. Sitting here, talking all afternoon, having dinner, seeing what a wonderful woman she is, seeing what she means to you, having it slowly dawn on me that you two are in love. Having her so forthrightly admit her love for you. How can a mother resist that for her daughter?
Me: So stop regretting anything! If I had come out earlier, I never would have met CA.