Today usually would be Friday Picture Post. Tomorrow, celebrating our daughter turning 7 with an official birthday party — yes, we brought cupcakes to her schoolmates earlier this week — we will have plenty of pictures.
I’ll briefly note something I haven’t had plenty of since I began this blog more than 10 months ago: a nasty comment, my first and only! I guess I’ve been very lucky writing about Ellen and her two dads, growing up gay, our daughter being born with an extra chromosome, civil rights, and other topics.
I mentioned the remark to a friend. “Why do you put yourself out there?” he asked. “Why not just play it safe?”
Maybe at different times in my life I could have played it safe, but I don’t think that was my destiny. Maybe I could have even “passed” for straight. I sure tried, but thank goodness I had enough people rooting for me — some silently, others more demonstrably — that when I was finally ready to accept that this is who I am and this is how I was born, I knew that playing it safe and not standing up for myself and others is fighting fate, never a good thing to do.
Readers of this blog have written or even said to me in person, “Thank you for what you write. The world needs to know what it was like for you growing up, what it is like for your daughter, otherwise people would have no idea.”
My husband is a very private person. While I don’t like to make comparisons, I’m pretty sure he grew up in a more liberal environment. I’m also reasonably sure he wasn’t readily identified as being gay as I was, although, ironically, I’ve been a jock all my life and I’m pretty conservative in many ways!
But I’ve always been drawn to trailblazers like Billie Jean King, Althea Gibson, Lena Horne, Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln, Harvey Milk.
As brutal as it must have been for them at times, they did not play it safe.
When my family crossed the Atlantic Ocean and Theresa Rosen, a fellow passenger on a ship with hundreds whom I met by chance, spoke with me about my daughter for 10 minutes, I knew that fate had brought us together. Rather than play it safe about my daughter, to have her be nicely and sometimes quietly be held back in life by people who think they know more than they do, I would need to be her constant, reliable, knowledgeable advocate and become captain of Team Ellen for a good part of the rest of my life. Thank you, many followers of this blog, for being part of or for joining Team Ellen.
Theresa Rosen always will be part of Team Ellen which is why I have her picture with me every day. I received the picture from her husband who wrote me that Theresa had died a few years after Ben, Ellen, and I met her in the middle of the ocean.
For me, and for the faith and love Theresa unhesitatingly gave our family, she will always walk on water. I can never thank you enough Theresa.