Baby Ben’s Gifts
Tickets to this seminar were $50-$60. They estimate attendance at 1,000. One day. $50,000.00. For what? To convince some poor soul’s loved ones that if they just work harder, pray harder, be harder, that loved one will be “saved” from “the gay”.
50K to have a one-day seminar? Really?
I was glad to hear that PFLAG sponsored a quiet protest. I would have gone, but our neighbors down the street needed us to babysit their one-year old, Ben, while they did some running around.
Ben has stayed with us before, once for the weekend when his parents went to their 20th class reunion. We always have a good time with him. So when it came down to making the choice between protesting or taking care of a kid who laughs at my jokes and happily listens and claps along to the Mighty Clouds of Joy with us, well, you do the math.
We were a little surprised that out of all of the young families in our neighborhood, Ben’s folks asked us to keep him. We kind of assume that because we are gay that the locals think we are either swingers or pedophiles, since that’s the rhetoric we hear from the right wing when the topic of John and I marrying comes up.
We heard from a neighbor once that the swinger assumption was an actual conversation a couple of years back at a neighborhood weekly moms’ group meeting. I don’t know where they were going to meet their sample group, but “swinger” doesn’t exactly describe the folks we know.
Anyway, I know Ben’s mom was at that meeting and that they go to a church that sponsors an ex-gay group. Plus Ben has Downs Syndrome and has had some special health issues, so taken all together, one would assume that people already raising children would be asked first.
But we didn’t bring any of that up. We were just happy to be asked and to get the chance to hang out with Ben, who is the perfect baby because like I said, he laughs at my jokes.
We love Ben. For me he is a reminder of the many forms God’s gifts can take. A few years back, Laura Schlesinger (aka Dr. Laura) on her national radio talk show referred to gay people as “biological errors.” There was a time when I was so full of fear and self-hate that I actually agreed with her. I know better now what an insult that is to God.
I may be a biological variation, but I’m hardly an error. Not to sound all Marlo Thomas Free to Be You and Me or anything, but I have unique gifts to offer to the world because of who I am. Ben does too. Ben and I share the trait of being biological variations, and all of the gifts that come with it. He has mad skills. I see how full of joy and love he is, and how he imparts all of that to others.
Ben is God’s gift to us, the world, and not just his parents and siblings. I think his parents realize this, and that may be why they ask us to keep him from time to time. Or it could be because we live two doors down. Who cares? We’re thankful for the gift.