Today, November 29, is/was my Mom’s birthday. I say “is/was” because my Mom passed away in 1998. I still miss her and think of her often, as does my partner.
Yesterday, my partner and I were beginning the process of decorating the house for Christmas. As usual, we talk about whatever item we are putting up, and the memories that it brings to us.
One of the items I was putting up for display is an old yule log and two St. Nicholas statues. This display is kinda old and kinda tired, but is sentimental to me, because it was the first set of Christmas decorations that my Mom and Dad bought together. I inherited it and display it in memory and honor of my parents.
So there I was, admiring that display and standing next to it, describing to my partner what the display meant to me, and being a bit nostalgic as the memory of my Mom and her birthday were causing some tears to well up.
My partner looked at me up and down, then asked, “did your parents know they raised a leatherdude?”
That’s not quite the question or comment I thought I would hear. He meant it all in jest. Nonetheless, he couldn’t help but say something, because there I was in a leather shirt and pair of comfy leather jeans, with tall black boots. Honestly, this is “normal” attire for me when I’m on my own time.
My reply at first was to say nothing at all, but rather, to think. Then I just said, “well, probably not in the sense of what a ‘leatherman’ is in the gay world, but Mom probably knew that I liked leather.” My Dad didn’t, because I was only 12 when he passed away. But I was an adult and already riding my third motorcycle when my Mom died. She had seen me in full leather often — and never said a thing. She probably just thought what most people do: “well, he rides a motorcycle, so he wears leather.”
Yes, I do value the functionality of leather as protective and warm motorcycle clothing. But I also wear it even when not riding my motorcycle, like yesterday.
I digress… did my parents know they raised a leatherdude? No… but did they know that they raised a child who was adventuresome and enjoyed wearing protective and stylish clothing suitable for his interests? Yes, they did. Even Dad knew that I liked boots and wore them when I rode horses. Mom knew that I liked boots and leather, and wore both boots and leather gear more often than I rode my motorcycle.
So what? They loved me for the man I was, not for what I chose to wear.
Life is short: cherish memories.