I have been thinking about this in the context of my son, who is now 14. He has yet to attend a stake dance. I know it seems trivial, but it’s the little things that are starting to make me saddest. It’s the little things that so many take for granted, that he misses out on. Sure, he could go to a stake dance. Sure, he would have fun. But, would he be able to dance with who he really wanted to? Would he even be able to blab to all his friends about his new found crush, as I did. This is normal developing behavior. We all went through it. I find myself thinking of these small things as I watch the straight world around us through my son’s eyes.
I wish he could go to dances and dance with that cute boy across the gym that has a secret crush on him too. I wish he could have those nervous sweaty palms as they head to the dance floor, terrified he might step on his dance partner’s feet. I wish he could feel those butterflies, knowing you get to dance with THAT boy. That very boy who smiled and made your knees go weak. I wish that he could worry that the boy could hear his heart pounding, fearing it might literally pound right out of his chest.
I know this seems small. But, it’s not so small if you think about it. These are normal things that we straight folks never have to worry about, or feel ashamed of. We get to throw caution to the wind, dance the night away and then go home satisfied that he remembered our name and yelled out a goodbye to us as we got in the car. The sound of his voice echoing in our dreams as we fall asleep that night. It’s one of those treasured moments of childhood that you’ll never forget. Your first crush.
I wish it stopped there. What is next? Stake Youth Conference, EFY, High Adventure, Girl’s Camp, dating (FINALLY), college, marriage, children, family.
For my son, this will all come with extra challenges. Will he be bullied or teased when he goes on his first date. Do you remember your first date when you turned 16? I do. It was with that same boy that asked me to dance at that first stake dance. I was so nervous and then the waitress spilled a tray full of Sprite over my head. I ended up looking like a drowned, sticky cat and I now had the most memorable first date ever. I wish this for my child. I wish for him to get so excited for that first date and something equally memorable happens. I wish for him to treasure that memory and laugh about it later in life. I wish for him to stumble awkwardly through dating experiences to prepare him for his first love.
Do you remember your first love? I do. I was sitting in seminary and I had just moved to a new school. This deep voice comes from the back of the room and I looked to see who had answered the question and my chest fell to the floor. I knew I had to meet him, get married in the temple, and have 20 babies with him! (Of course none of that happened, but I was 16 and just knew what my future would be!) I wish this for him. I wish for him to fall in love hard and fast and then have his heart broken. This heart break will prepare him for the real love of his life. It will prepare him for a man that will give him his full heart and love for the rest of their lives. He will treasure this pure love and know that it is true and real. Yes, he will always remember that first boy that broke his heart, but he will know that the love he felt for that first boy paled in comparison.
Do you remember when that true love asked you to marry him? I do. I will never forget that day for as long as I live. Here was the love of my dreams, on his knee, asking me if I will be with him forever. That our love will mean something real and lasting. That we will start a life and family together. I wish this for my boy. I wish for him to love someone so much that he wants to be with him forever. That he will know that no one can take up the space in his heart like this man does. I wish for him to cry with happiness, knowing he found his soul mate.
Do you remember when you found out you were going to become a parent? Oh, the thrill! The FEAR! “Are we ready? We’re so young! This is too much. I am not sure I am ready for this much responsibility!” Then they place that beautiful boy in your arms and you fall in love again. You never knew you could love someone as much as you love your husband. You never knew your heart could grow so big. You feel as though it might explode from the pressure. I wish this for you, my boy. I wish for you and your husband to hold a child together and know the love that I have for you. I wish for you to be so terrified that you will never be good enough. I wish for you to know of this pure love that a parent has for their child. I wish for you to kiss their perfect head as they fall asleep. Or kiss their scrapes and wipe away their tears when they fall off their bike the first time. I wish all this and more for you, because I know you are worthy. I know you are worthy of love, of life, of family.
There is a quote from a children’s book that says exactly what I want to say to Jon:
“I wanted you more that you’ll ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go.
It never gets lost, never fades, never ends…if you’re working…or playing…or sitting with friends. You can dance til you’re dizzy or paint til you’re blue…there’s no place, not one, that my love can’t find you.
So climb any mountain…climb up to the sky!
My love can find you.
My love can fly!
And if someday you’re lonely, or someday you’re sad, or you strike out at baseball, or think you’ve been bad…just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair. That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.
You are my angel, my darling, my star…And my love will find you, wherever you are.” Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You