By Ruth Cobb
I remember telling God once that He could send me any child, and I would love them and care for them no matter what. I was in high school at the time, and I remember telling Him that I would love the child He sends me unconditionally. I also said that if for some reason the world did not love that child as I did, I would rock this mom business for them so hard that the world would have no option but to take notice and stand down. I must have been extra spicy back then, but I had no idea what was in store for me as a mother in this world.
30 years later, God has blessed me with 6 sons and a daughter. The gift that held me to the promise I had made with God, that I would mother like a fierce rockstar, came to me very last: a depressed, sad, scared, confused 15-year-old boy.
When I found out that my 15-year-old son was gay, I knew, as I sat sobbing behind my bedroom door, that his life would be filled with so much turmoil and judgement from the outside world. My heart ached for him. I also knew, as his mother, that I would do everything in my power to not only protect him, but that I would also teach him to love himself. I would teach him to stand up for himself, to honor himself, and never ever let anyone dim his light.
So, as I pulled myself up from behind my bedroom door, wiping the tears from my eyes and trying to get myself together, I literally told myself, “God did not give you your fire to cuss people out in the Walmart parking lot, Ruth. He gave it to you to help teach your son how to fiercely move mountains.”
I walked out of my bedroom that day as a different mother. I walked out with a slight chip on my shoulder and maybe even with a little gangster lean in my walk. I was not playing anymore. The world better watch out because I was about to take this LGBTQ+ thing to a whole new level for a child that I loved more than life. Remember, I promised God that I would rock it as his mom back when I was 17.
Since then, my second oldest child came out as transgender (afab). I thought to myself, God must not only love me, but He must truly trust me. He gave me not just one, but two beautiful souls to protect and raise.
I would be lying if I said that life as an LGBTQ+ mother was all rainbows and rockstar mom stories. We have had many days of tears, anger, screaming, and fighting. I’ve even had to hold back from driving to the home of the person that hurt my child and giving them a piece of my mind.
These two beautiful gifts from God showed me something different. Something beautiful, courageous, and bold. They showed me, and the world, how to love and honor themselves by standing up tall and telling the world that they were not going to hide behind walls of shame anymore. They have shown that loving who they truly are and allowing themselves to be 100% authentic, in all of the areas in their lives, was what they needed to do to finally be truly happy.
Loving my children unconditionally was something I felt I had always done, but to be able to teach them to love themselves unconditionally was something that would take me to a whole new level. I did not teach my children unconditional love for oneself, they taught me. I am so grateful for the capability to see them for who they truly are. Mourning the “death” of the child that I once knew was something that I had never fathomed I would ever have to do. After experiencing it and seeing them blossom into their true selves, though, I have realized that I am also blossoming into my true self as their mother.
When we can truly love ourselves from the inside out, the world and the people in it become split into two parts. One part consists of the people that matter and love me for me, and the other part consists of the people that are of no significance because they do not truly see me. By coming out and being their true authentic selves, my children have taught me more than I ever thought was possible. I can never repay them for what they have taught me. In their honor, I will get up and put on my best self and go out into the world and share my love and light with all that I come into contact with. I want to show the world what my children have shown me. Strength does not have an age, color, or a gender. It does not come from a specific city, state, or country. It is not born into a certain family or religion. This amazing gift of strength comes from within.