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The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kinds in here…”

Aaaand Grrrr! I wish I had a good ending to that joke! Some real zinger like….

And the midget says, “…….”

OR

So, the Mormon says, “…..”

Actually it’s not even a joke. It’s real life, except for the bar part.

They’re our kids. My son is the Mormon.

In the midst of lamenting that my teenage son is seemingly headed on that LDS mission path in a year, I recently spoke to two close friends who shared their own recent parenting detours.

Friend number one’s only son is currently in the preliminary steps of transitioning to a woman.

Friend number two’s daughter came out recently as a lesbian and is currently dating a little person. Her girlfriend is 4′ (she’s 6’2″ herself).

Like me, both friends are completely accepting and affirming towards their children no matter what their path. They are behaving like the  parents you’d would want in that situation as far as I can tell.

But it’s still funny to hear them tell it, not to feel any sense of schaudenfruede, but only laugh at life along with them.

I imagine it takes a whole lot of adjusting to start referring to your own son as “she” and “her” or using the name Kristy rather than Tim. That doesn’t mean she objects to any part of it or loves her any less. I’m proud of this friend mostly because I know she didn’t have the same affirming parents when she herself announced that life was taking her in a different direction than her parents had expected.

And friend number 2 just related to me the experience of helping her daughter unpack from college recently when she mindlessly opened a container of wipes and found her daughter’s collection of multi-colored dildos.

As she tells it:

I just put it back on the counter. She saw it and grabbed it. I just said, “I looked in there because I thought it was baby wipes. You are a 20 year old woman and I am not judging you.” Then I changed the subject.

My son, the Mormon in my unfinished joke above, recently texted me this picture with the name of the girl he likes:

pregnancy_test_positive

Me: Oh no…who?

Son: …Me

Me: Haha

Son: DANGIT. It was worth a try 🙂

Me: Good try

Me: Try kissing her first

Son: Ouch 🙂

Yeah, that’s about as bad as it has gotten for me. All things considered, I’m having it pretty easy so far, even with 2 1/2 teenagers and 1 1/2 pre-teens. For the most part my kids are typical Mormon kids. The good kind. So, why do I find that fact so irritating at times? It’s not like I wish my son HAD gotten a girl pregnant.

The most surprising parenting detour I’ve recently taken is being the custodial parent when my 11 year old daughter started her period.

Daughter: Dad! Come here!

Me: Whaaa? You’re in the bathroom? You really want me to come in there? Why?

Daughter: Just come in quietly and close the door.

I immediately knew….

You just deal. And you make it as easy as possible for them.

A Facebook friend expressed the desire in his middle age, like me, to have another baby and raise it all by himself. I totally get it. I haven’t been able to totally mold the ones I already have to my wishes. I would have loved to have done it without religion. But the love and pride I feel in them is boundless regardless. As much as I hope they find enrichment and fulfillment outside Mormonism, they’re still mine and I love them. I hope they choose something else.

In the end… if they’re kind and loving  and responsible people… I can handle it.

It’s not just conservative judgmental douchebags I worry about influencing my kids. I visited an ex-Mormon board the other day and saw a thread just vilifying and  attacking the young Mormon missionaries who had crossed the writer’s path. I was one of those kids. Likely, my son will be one too. Treat them like you’d wish you had been treated when you were one of them.

So, as it turns out… here’s how I’d hope the joke goes:

Four young adults walk into a bar and no one blinks.

Their parents stand outside, peeking through the window with a “container of wipes” in their hands ready to assault the person’s ass that gives any of their kids a hard time.

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