This year, for Mother’s Day, I wanted to change things up a little. Instead of gift ideas or a tear inducing ode to all of the mothers out there, I decided to ask my mom what it’s like being the mother of a gay man. Having been raised Catholic, on a small farm in Delaware, it certainly wasn’t what my parents had in mind when I came out of the closet…
This year, for Mother’s Day, I wanted to change things up a little. Instead of gift ideas or a tear inducing ode to all of the mothers out there, I decided to ask my mom what it’s like being the mother of a gay man. Having been raised Catholic, on a small farm in Delaware, it certainly wasn’t what my parents had in mind when I came out of the closet, but to their credit, they have always let me know that they love me no matter what. I love my mom so very much and can’t imagine being the man I am without her guidance. We speak almost daily, and she is certainly my guiding light. I am so thankful that she was willing to write the following words. Who would have thought I would be the one getting a gift on mother’s day. Thanks Mom. I love you with all my heart. -IM
By Jean Maloney (Mother of Hotspots Editor Ian Maloney)
My life certainly changed when I gave birth to our son, Ian, 35 years ago. I was ecstatic when I found out that I was pregnant with our first child, but the childbirth classes I attended did not prepare me for the 36 hours of labor and C-section that were required for his delivery into the world. It was a time of both great elation and tragic loss. You see, while I was being admitted to the hospital to give birth to Ian, my husband was attending the funeral of his father. So, while it did not seem like it at the time, my long labor had an upside to it….because it extended over the better part of two days, my husband was able to be with me during a portion of it, and more importantly, he was there when Ian was (finally!) born.
Ian was always a pleasant, happy youngster. He loved school, learning new things, and most especially socializing. A student trip to England during the summer following ninth grade, provided him with his first taste of life outside United States. It whetted his appetite to explore new places and experiences and has ultimately led him to Ft. Lauderdale where he currently makes his home.
When he was 30, Ian told us he was gay. I can only imagine how difficult it was for him to make the admission to us. I cannot say that I was totally surprised. I had suspected it for many years but, as close as we’ve always been, I had never felt it was right for me to ask him about it. Perhaps it was me secretly hoping that it was not true. My initial reaction was fear…fear because I knew that life for a gay man is not always an easy one. Fear because I knew HIV and homophobia would always threaten his safety. Fear because I did not understand what it meant to be the mother of a gay son. Fear that he would be physically or emotionally battered because he came out as a gay man. Fear that I would never be a grandmother. Fear that our family might not be accepting of him. Fear that our lives would never be the same.
Well, it has been five years since Ian told us he is gay, and I am happy to say that most of my initial fears have subsided. I eventually came to the realization that I have always been the mother of a gay son. He has always had my unconditional love, and his being gay did not change that one bit. I am proud to say that our family and friends have been very accepting — not only of Ian but also of the men he has dated. We are proud of him and the wonderful man that he has become. While HIV and homophobia are still threats, almost daily I see evidence that folks are becoming more accepting and supportive of the gay community, and I pray that trend continues.
I have always said that all I want for my boys is for them to be happy. I think that Ian is happier now that he has ever been in his life. That makes for a Happy Mother’s Day for me!