I guess today, of all the days, is a good day to tell you about my up-bringing. See, today is my 2nd mums’, mum #2’s, my mums’ wife’s’ birthday! Happy Birthday, A. It’s her 31st Anniversary of being 21.
Starting at the beginning… when I was 10 my dad passed away after battling bowel cancer. My mum and dad had been married just over 21 years. They were best friends and met many moons ago in Devon.
A few months later, after much discussion, my mum, my sister and I moved down to Brighton – to start a new life. The reason why Brighton was chosen was because not only was it a regular haunt for my mum and dad, but it was a vibrant and exciting place in comparison to the Kent village we were born in. We had always visited Brighton as young kids and enjoyed the beach and sea air very much – not to mention the people, who were always so colourful.
Once we moved and were settled, many months later, my mum started dating. However, to cut a loooong story short, it wasn’t working. For she had a big announcement. She was gay – and not in the slang term that’s used today to describe something that’s rubbish – but proper gay.
The fact that my mum felt that she had to date guys to “please” us is beyond me… it’s certainly not something that we requested – but in her eyes, she thought she was doing the right thing in trying to find a father figure (my sister was/is a daddy’s girl), when really, all she was doing was making herself more and more unhappy. To put it in her own words “One day, you’re going to fly the nest. Once this happens, I don’t want to be stuck with someone I don’t particularly want to be with for the sake of giving you a father figure” (again, not that we requested it).
Now, words cannot describe how I felt that day when she came out – I was happy (that she was happy) and yet sad (as we had gotten so used to having mum all to ourselves). That said, it was mainly happiness as we were sat in McDonalds and I had just finished my 2nd cheeseburger.
It was weird (not the burger, that was good) as I, at the age of 13, had not met any gay people, let alone had one in the family! Mum stated that she had always been gay, but at the same time found love in her best friend (my dad). I guess you really can’t help who you fall in love with.
*I could go into detail about their history, but I think I’ll leave that filed in “not for the blog”.*
Anyway, I digress. Once the dust had settled and we got used to everything (I don’t really know what I mean by “everything” as my mum didn’t change at all. She didn’t start wearing new lumberjack boots or shave her head to a number 3 (she already did that!), I guess what I mean by “everything” is simply the fact that I had to get used to the house being an all woman house (awesome)) she started dating… women.
It wasn’t log before my mum found her first partner, J. They were together for a few years before she sadly died. *This is another moment in time whereby I will file this story under “not for the blog”*.
To lighten the mood after all this death, I’d like to let you know that over the years my mum gained the title “The Black Widow”. It still makes me laugh to this today. Morbid, I know, but when you’ve had so much death in your life (and within the early days of life) you have to make do and see the funny side (eventually).
Again, I digress. A few years later, my mum then met A, and a few years after that; they got married (or civil partnered if you prefer). We gained a step-brother in a dog called Charlie and A gained step-daughters in me and my sister as well as our four cats.
Now, A could not have joined the family at a worse time. My sister and I were young teenagers which meant mood-swings, tantrums and arguments every few minutes. A hadn’t had any children and had only had contact with young toddlers via her brother. A had gone from not knowing anything about children to being thrown in between two hormonally charged teenage females. She had to get used to the ten minute rule (whereby when you ask a teenager to do something they won’t do it straight away) and the fact that our lives were over pretty much all the time. To say that she coped is an understatement – not only did she do brilliantly, she survived!
I was 15 when A came into my life and although I had already gone through 15 years of my life, I don’t think I did the main growing up bit until after that time. There wasn’t much (real) life learning (apart from who had the best Pog’s to swap and who so-and-so fancied) before then and no (real) decisions were made. Having A in my life at such a crucial time in my life probably made me who I am today. Sure at the time I didn’t think so when she threw stuff at me because I hadn’t got off my arse to do the washing up after asking me three times (“I’LL DO IT IN A MINUTE!!”) but looking back now, it was great.
Sure, you could go into detail and debate about when a person really starts “growing up”, but for me it’s simple. When a person starts thinking for themselves, starts forming opinions and choices – THAT’S when you’re growing up. Yes, you’re always “growing up” and making choices about whether you like sprouts or not – but when I refer to growing up, I mean maturing and becoming your own person.
My mum was happy and we were happy. What more could you have asked for? Sure we were “different” but who isn’t?
At 25, I still enjoy stating that not only did I get to grow up in Brighton (by the sea) that others who were born here really do take for granted, but I did it in a special way that no-one else can imagine or compare to. I grew up with TWO mum’s. They both taught me and guided me and created the person I am today. The fact that A wasn’t blood made it more unique, she was able to bring her own personality into things. It was great!
Speaking with people who still ask to this day “Do you think you would have been different person growing up in a “normal” family” I quickly correct them and say “No”. For a straight family isn’t “normal” it’s just common.
Happy Birthday, A.