Corey and Chad live so far away from us that it’s hard for them to grow with me and my illness and to the see the ups and downs that Mark, Kelly, Chris and Bryan face every day. We were lucky enough to have a week with Chad before he had to go back to Dallas, but Corey was fortunate enough to stay for the whole month of July and his visit was better than imaginable. He grew and so did we. His beautiful smile and the sparkle in his dark brown eyes are back after many years and that makes me happy.
Corey’s visit was full of quality time with our grandsons, Cole and Peyton. We all fell in love with those little boys more than you can imagine, but Corey fell harder. He gained a new appreciation for caring for and loving two little children. He talked with them as if they were his own kids and he listened to their needs and wants and reasoned with them, or tried to at least. He slept in the same room with them and if Peyton started coughing in the middle of the night Corey made sure he used his inhaler. He took them to the library and the beach and the park and to sailing lessons and worried about them like we do as parents. The best part is that he thoroughly enjoyed those precious boys and they all laughed so much.
We had an appointment at U of M on the day that the boys left to go back to Dallas so Corey spent eight hours at O’Hare airport with them because of flight delays. Cole and Peyton cried when they had to say goodbye to their Uncle Corey. Someday Corey will be an amazing father if he chooses to have kids.
Corey’s visit was especially comforting for Mark and I because he finally got a chance to spend some time around our family and friends in Muskegon as an openly gay man. When he left for college and eventually told us about being gay, he had not had a chance to see many people face to face during his short visits home but this time he had a month to see a lot of people. He was able to attend his 10-year high school class reunion with his classmates knowing he was gay. I think he was a little bit nervous to attend not knowing how people would react, but nothing changed except his friends attended the reunion with some great new life experiences. They all gathered together with a greater appreciation for life and the differences we all face. He had a blast and reconnected with some amazing people.
The other part of his visit that I loved was he was able to see our friends that knew he was gay but hadn’t talked with him about it yet. We know some pretty amazing people and they treated him with great respect for who he is before they knew and they still do now.
I know being gay comes with a lot of religious judgement, which I understand and respect to some degree, and I know we all have our own opinions, but if your son or daughter were to come to you and say they were gay, what would you do? I am lucky to have wonderful family members and friends surrounding our family that chose to love Corey and respect his differences.
I’m Catholic and I know the church does not agree with being gay. However, if there is a God, and I believe there is, and if our God is all-loving, how could God not love our son Corey just because he’s gay? I truly believe that my God respects our differences.
Corey left to go back to San Francisco on Saturday morning and I think, for the first time in his adult life, he left feeling renewed and comforted, and Mark and I did too.