He is rough. Ex-military, I’d guess, or possibly a ranch hand. Something hard and unforgiving. “My dad was a drill sergeant,” he tells me. “I’m not kidding. He was a drill sergeant for 12 years.” I believe him. He kicks his sunglasses onto his forehead, and says, “It’s my life’s work to teach people that men can be masculine and nurturing. We’re both those things. And kids need them.”
He says it in the most earnest way imaginable. He says it stripped down to tenderness. I nod in response. I have a terrible urge to reach out to him – to touch his face in a blessing. I mother everyone now.
He talks to children the way that I talk to them. Taking them seriously. Laughing at their wit. Praising their kindness. He is present. I didn’t expect to like him as much as I do.
“Do you mind if I ask you — are you part of the LGBT community?”
“Yes,” I say.
“I support that. I support you. I know some people say it isn’t right, but they’re wrong. I support love. Everybody deserves to be happy.”
How we arrive at compassion. How we get there. A rough scramble, I suspect. Those times when we take apart our learned values, examine them, sort what we believe from what we’ve been taught. “I support love.”
What do you value? How do you live those values? I’m talking about love, about how you give back. About becoming the parents we wanted to have. About being the adults the world needs. I will mother the fuck out of you. I will wish you well from every distance. Beauty that you are.