Sunday, February 12, 2006

The conversation

I spoke with my mom yesterday morning. Wish I'd read the comments from Anita and PPB, in particular, before I'd talked to her, because I wasn't particularly articulate about it all. Though the conversation ended up just fine, and my mom e-mailed me later to thank me for telling her what's on my mind, I struggled quite a bit throughout it, as she tried to explain away everything I brought up.

For example, I said that I was uncomfortable with her emails about God and spirituality in part because I know they are rooted in Catholic theology, with which D. and I very much disagree. She started talking about how her relationship with God is separate from Catholicism, how she's gone to all kinds of churches over the years (as if I wasn't aware of that fact, having been dragged to many of them as a kid)... basically missing the point of what I was saying, which is that whatever she believes, it is not the same as what we believe. I wish I'd been able to come up with Anita's line about her beliefs being perceived as dogmatic by others, because they absolutely are.

I think it was when I finally said, "listen, I don't sign my emails to you with 'Celebrate diversity and gay rights' " that she understood what I was getting at. And while I'm definitely sensitive to PPB's comment about not stifling her language -- and I told her that I don't want her to be afraid of talking about things that are important to her -- I also want to recognize the reality of the situation, which is that out of respect for her beliefs (and, to be honest, a desire to avoid confrontation) I typically avoid bringing up hot-button topics on which I know we disagree. Yes, I talk about hanging out with our friends who happen to be gay, but that's about it; their sexuality certainly isn't a topic of our conversations. And I'd like the same respect from her -- especially because she doesn't often talk about religion and/or spirituality, but only includes it in letters and e-mails, which says to me that she on some level knows I'm uncomfortable with it.

So at least the conversation has begun. I'm sure there is a prayer chain spreading throughout my mom's side of the family for our heathen souls... but whatever.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention my best line of the chat, in which I blurted out, "Well, we're definitely not going to be raising our daughter in the Catholic church." Again, this shouldn't be a surprise to her (and she didn't gasp in shock or anything), but I hadn't intended to say it quite so bluntly. Ah well, at least it's out there.