So here we are. In June. Finally. (Deep exhale).
You know, that month of the year that signals longer days, a slightly slower pace and a generally lighter mood. It’s the time when school winds down and summer is almost close enough to taste. It means the days are soft and easy and delicious, and we can enjoy copious amounts of vitamin D for months on end. So overall, June is pretty dope.
But June means something else, too. Something pretty big and pretty beautiful. Something a lot of people everywhere look forward to with huge anticipation every year. Because, along with it being the gateway to summer, June is also synonymous with Pride. As in gay pride. An entire month dedicated to celebrating social and self-acceptance within the LGBTQ community. And this month, I’m celebrating. Loud. And proud.
See, this year, I had the privilege of going to Pride with my 21-year-old daughter, forever transforming the month of June into something even more beautiful than it’s been before. This year, not only did I get to show my support for my daughter, celebrate diversity, spread the love and bask in the pride of Pride itself, but I also got to feel an epic level of pride for my child. And that gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, my pride and joy.
Because that day, in that place, within that community, I felt a respect and a happiness for my child that I never knew I could feel.
That Saturday morning, standing next to her in the crowd, surrounded by one of the most inclusive communities I’ve ever seen, with a pink, purple and blue bisexual pride flag draped over her shoulders, I experienced one of my best days as a mom. A day filled with more pride and joy for my child than I’ve ever felt at one time.
Now sure, there’s the high school and college graduation kind of pride and the first big job pride and the being a good human pride. But there’s no way to describe the kind of pride and admiration I felt for my daughter who said to the world, “This is who I am,” in spite of what that world often tells her she’s supposed to be. To get the chance to walk proudly next to her and celebrate the beautiful, strong, brave, empowered woman she is, at a place like the Boston Pride Festival, was a gift — a gift I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
And while being part of Pride from the inside is a very different perspective than I’m used to, it felt so powerful and right to be part of such an authentic group of people, where everyone around us was showering the world with love, kindness and acceptance. Because as a parent, that’s all any of us wants for our child. We want them to be able to go confidently off into the world and be accepted for who they are and what they believe and who they love.
As I walked through the crowd, though, taking it all in, so much of the positivity I was felt was tempered by thoughts of all the kids around me whose moms (or dads) weren’t there. The parents who, for whatever reason, have turned their child away and missed this kind of pure joy simply because their child celebrated who they are with the rest of the world. That hit a nerve. I felt overwhelming sadness for the kids who couldn’t share their true selves with the people who matter most. And I wanted to hug them all, wanted to round them all up and squeeze them and remind them that they all have the right to live their lives without judgement. Because all any of us truly wants is just to be seen and accepted and loved.
As a mom, I walked around thinking about the mothers who’ve rejected their child because of who they choose to love. And I felt sad for them. Because they’re truly missing out. I mean, isn’t it the ultimate endgame as parents to raise kids who have the strength of character to live an authentic life? I think it is. No, wait, I know it is. Who we choose to love isn’t about religion or politics or how we were raised, it’s about the love that lives inside our heart.
Plain and simple. Or at least I think it should be.
All I know is this: As a mother, I’m just grateful I got to watch my daughter honor herself in such a unique and confident way, grateful I got to be there with her, so she could see the pride on my face in real time. Because it may just be the most beautiful kind of pride I’ve ever felt.
And this is why June’s never felt so good.
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She writes the nationally syndicated opinion column It Is What It Is and is the author of “How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be Ok with It — Real Tips & Strategies for Parents of Today’s Gen Z Kids,” “Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots — And How to Get Free,” and “LIFE: It Is What It Is,” available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and at select bookstores everywhere. Read and discuss all her columns and books at lisasugarman.com, or find them on GrownAndFlown.com, Hot Moms Club, LittleThings.com, MommingHubb.com, 50 Shades of Aging, More Content Now, Wickedlocal.com, This Mama Wines and Care.com.