“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
My Mum is one of my best mates.
We call each other every day and hang out whenever we can.
We do DIY projects together, talk about life and sometimes she strokes my hair while we plonk on the couch to watch Downton Abbey.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up, I was a bit of a Daddy’s girl.
My Mum and I clashed a lot!
I was often angry at her for decisions she had made.
And she was bewildered with the fragility of my emotions.
I didn’t understand her lifestyle.
And I had religious people whispering in my ear constantly.
I was made to believe my Mum was going to hell.
Pretty hectic for a nine-year-old!
As the years went by and my teenage angst began to settle down.
A friendship began to form.
I remember one night my Mum came to me after a long term relationship broke down with my step-mother.
She sat crying on her patio and she said she was sorry.
Sorry for not standing up for us.
Sorry for not putting us first.
Sorry for not seeing the wood through the trees.
Sorry for not protecting us from mistreatment.
We hugged it out and wiped a slate clean that night.
It began a beautiful, healing journey for us.
Yet I still struggled with the fact that my Mum lived a lifestyle that many people of faith would say was ‘sinful’ and for years I still found myself conflicted.
And I know that she felt it.
My Mum has been in a loving, monogamous relationship with the Leanne for eight years now.
Someone I trust, look up to and whom I see as a second Mother to me.
They got engaged at the Taj Mahal just last year.
Cue a wrestling match between my religious, fundamental voices with the new faith I was forming.
Then a small, still voice whispered to me…
“What would love do Gemma?”
And I knew the answer straight away.
This is not to convince you of any political or religious viewpoint.
This is a story of the love between a mother and a daughter.
So I’ve let go of the religious voices.
Love is the voice I listen to.
I no longer see my Mum through the lens of pain and fear that so many people did and projected onto me.
I see my Mum with new eyes.
and I call her beautiful.
I call her strong.
I call her my biggest fan and advocate.
I call her my friend.
Because that’s what Jesus calls her.
And I will walk with her down the aisle on her wedding day,
With my sister on the other arm.
And I will stand with her as her daughter.
In love and unconditional acceptance.
To my Mum,
I love you.
Just the way you are.