A couple of months ago, when Domi started school, he came home and proclaimed, “I found some really cool friends!” I was so excited. We had, had a dry spell when it came to finding friends that lived near-ish to us, that were close-ish to our age that wanted to do the same things we do and it was really, really thrilling.
I was in the midst of throwing Domi a birthday party and I asked him who of his new friends he wanted to invite. He gave me the list. And then he issued me a warning.
“Okay, so there’s this one guy I really, really have so much fun with, but I wanted to let you know that he and his wife are Mormon.” At first, there were a couple of alarm bells that went off inside my head. Knowing that the Mormon church hasn’t always been exactly the most open to homosexuality my first questions were, “Do they know my parents are gay? And that they’re also going to be at this party?”
“Yes, they do.” He answered. “And when I told him about your dads he was super respectful and kind and asked a lot of questions, which I thought were really great.” Okay, so they weren’t going to be shocked when they saw my parents kiss. It was going to be okay. But I was still wary. I called my parents and told them, “Look maybe don’t bring up politics or anything of that nature. Maybe tone down the swearing, too. This is Domi’s birthday and he finally has some really good friends out here, so don’t mess this up!”
The day of Domi’s birthday arrived, along with his new friends. They were lovely. They were more than lovely, actually, they were people that I was really excited to be spending time with. They fit right in. They even loved my parents and wanted to hang out with them, too, so my warnings to my parents were completely unwarranted. I was a little shocked at how closed-minded I had been when I spend so much time preaching about being open to everyone and everything. I had decided that based on their religion there was no way we were going to see eye to eye on anything. I had had a massive pre-judgment about people I knew nothing about. I did to them exactly what I ask people not to do to my family and me. Whoops.
We started spending more and more time with them and we realized how they are literally some of our favorite humans on the planet. We laugh like nobody’s business when we’re together. We can all tease each other. I don’t ever have to filter myself around them and I don’t know if we’ve ever spent so much time with two people that aren’t a part of our given family. However, they have quickly become a part of our chosen family.
The only thing we have never talked about with them is politics. It seemed like maybe a line we shouldn’t cross…until last night when I heard Domi mention something about Trump, while we were downing ice cream. My heart started pounding. Oh dear God no, don’t do this Domi, was all I could think. I heard Domi and his friend’s conversation and I quickly looked up at them and said, “Please don’t break up!” I was sure if they started talking politics it was going to be our demise because I was positive we were going to land on opposite ends of the spectrum. But then as I continued my conversation with Domi’s friend’s wife (who has quickly become one of my closest friends), I tried to keep tabs on how Domi’s conversation with his friend was going. Were we still going to be friends? Was it all really going to be able to continue on from here? But I didn’t hear any screaming, nor stomping, nor crying. As we walked out of the ice cream parlor I tiptoed carefully trying to get a read on the two boys, but, much to my surprise, nothing had changed.
Domi and his friend were able to have an open, honest conversation about politics while respecting each other beliefs and boundaries and at the end of the conversation they loved each other as much as they had at the start, if not more.
For me, this was a glimmer of hope of something I had only dreamed existed anymore. To have an actual educated conversation with someone that doesn’t share all of the same beliefs and still want to be friends with them? Mind. Blown.
These friends have changed my life. They have shown me what it means to respect someone, to love someone, to be family with someone that doesn’t necessarily agree with everything you believe in. But when I look to our very cores, we do all believe the same things. We believe that love can change the world and that you love someone no matter what they look like, whom they love, what their religion is or what they have chosen to do with their lives. We believe that being open and honest are two of the most important pillars of a relationship. We believe in respect.
I love these two humans and I would be an idiot to throw that all away because of my stance on politics. I am the stubborn one. I have been closed-minded. They have opened my mind and changed my world.
I grew up in a bubble where we all pretty much believed all the same things, voted for the same candidates and spoke poorly of people that believed otherwise. I have been unfair to people that don’t believe the same things I do. I am sorry. I will do better. I will work harder at not shutting down as soon as I hear something I don’t want to hear. I will respect people I meet, with the understanding that they will respect me, too. It is possible. My world is better and bigger because of these two individuals whose backgrounds and beliefs are so very different than mine. I owe them so much for opening my eyes. Thank you, you two, you know who you are. I love you.
Happy weekend, friends! Here’s to new friendships and finding respect and love where you didn’t even know it was hiding. xoxoxox CAMDW