It just sort of baffles me how indifferent and negative my own mother can be at our country having our first female major party presidential nominee. I expect it some day from future generations, who just sort of scoff and say, “Yeah, and? Of course a woman can be president. Like, duh, Grandpa Zane. Where have you been?”
Instead I got a “So? Who cares?”
I expect more from her. Better even.
How historic this is means nothing to her. To any of the three women who raised me. And I just don’t get how they don’t care or see how great of an accomplishment it is, whether or not they like her. It’s still important.
My family and I live in such different worlds–politically, socially, physically, intellectually. Every day it gets harder to connect with them, to have conversations with any depth or meaning. I literally had to explain to one of them that no, Hilter didn’t come in and take over Germany. He was voted into power. The people gave him the power to do the horrifying things he did. That was my grandmother. Someone who lived through World War II and the aftermath, both here and abroad.
They don’t understand our history. Not as a world and not as a nation. None of the atrocities or the triumphs or that the soil beneath their feet was taken from the Native people of this land. That it doesn’t belong to them or me or our ancestors.
I still have to call them out for using a racial slur to refer to our Chinese takeout.
Or tell them it’s not okay to drop the N-word when the person taking too long to back out of a parking space they’re waiting on is black.
I’ve spent a lifetime collecting little puzzle pieces of memory when one of them said something negative or cruel about someone they’d never spoken to because of that person’s skin color. Or accent. Or outfit. Or religious garments.
After a lifetime of raising a kid, who they always had an inkling would in some way be LGBTQ, and after almost nine years of having an out and proud trans person in their lives, I still have to explain what LGBTQ means every time I say it.
It’s the simplest thing. After nearly a decade I feel like I can’t even share those conversations with them because it becomes me giving them a lesson they won’t commit to their memories or lives.
I’ll be glad to be away from this in another month. To be 3,000 miles away from the indifference and the negativity.
From my mother walking in while President Obama is sitting in a room, on national television, of BLM activists, families of victims’ of police brutality and systemic racism, and the families of police officers, alive and lost in the line of their chosen duty. And she says, “What’s he saying now? Oh, he’s just stirring the pot! All lives matter, not just them.”
My mother, who’s always taught me to value myself, to believe that nobody can take away who I am, to be proud of the person I am. A mother who was fully on board in 2006 when I explained what transgender meant and that was part of my identity. I was 16. Living in a time before the word transgender was all over the news or plastered on the internet. She stood with me.
I guess now I’m just questioning how deep that caring went. How much of that support was “Well, as long as I don’t have to learn anything and it doesn’t effect me, then fine. Do your thing.”
None of them ever want to learn anything. To grow. To seek out information or knowledge. To apologize when they’re wrong or hurtful or cruel. To better themselves. They treat knowledge like a chore. The same curiosity to understand doesn’t consume them like it does for me. It wasn’t nurtured and muddled itself into grumpy indifference and a believe that if people who look different are getting the same as them, then somehow they’re being cheated.
I guess this is some part of growing up. Being adult enough to recognize how flawed and terrible a wonderful mother can be as a fellow person.
Mostly, I wonder what it means for us after I’m 3,000 miles away. If our relationship will turn as superficial as it’s starting to feel or if the distance will bring enough nostalgia to keep whatever our bond might me now. And I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to know.