Hello everyone! June is finally here, which for me means that I have lots of important birthdays and events coming up! Between Columbus Pride, the Community Festival (aka Comfest), plenty of sports meets, and lots of concerts, I’ve got a ton to look forward to both in my work life (more people=more tips!) and my personal life as well.
Today is a special day for my family. When I was a kid, my mother and my father always said that June 3rd was the “magical day where Mommy and Daddy are the same age”. Obviously now that I’m older, I realize they were just hyping up the birthdays that my parents and my sister look forward to the first week of June. At the time, however, it was a glorious day where we got to celebrate the births of the two most important people in my life: my mom and dad!
As time has passed, I still see June 3rd as a magical day. While Kid Mary saw random good luck and the natural magic of summertime, 25ish year old Mary sees a city coming alive, and my gratitude that the four of us have made it another year.
My parents got divorced when I was about seven years old. I remember very little from when I was that age; in fact, I don’t remember much from the ages of 5–12. I don’t know if it’s because of anything “bad” or if it’s just that my memory has been bad regularly from birth, but I honestly couldn’t tell you very much about my younger years. I do remember, however, the two of them fighting and me having to go downstairs to make sure they didn’t wake up my sister a few times.
While I don’t know the whole story (mainly because I was literally a child, but also because I never wanted to ask), I do know that getting divorced was probably the best thing my parents could have done for their relationship.
My family is a little complicated to describe to new people. Over the years, I’ve become a master at making the story short and sweet: my parents met at karaoke night at the Grapevine during Pride. They sang “Love Shack” by the B-52’s and they eventually fell in love.
The best part about this simple story, and what makes it complicated, is that they are both 100% gay as hell. So I can only imagine everyone’s confusion when they announced their engagement. I remember hearing the story from one of their good friends, and when they told him they were getting married, all he could say was “What the fuck?”
I’m a big believer in loving a soul because of this. I am all for labels purely because it makes it easier for me to explain my own sexual orientation, and while I identify as pansexual, I honestly believe that if you find someone whose soul pairs well with yours, you’ve got something special. I’ve only felt that deep connection with two people, my husband and my best friend. I truly believe that my parent’s souls fell in love before they really knew what was happening. That in turn led to them getting married, and having me and my sister (in that order, respectfully).
I won’t air out ALL the Richmond-Leeth Laundry, but eventually my parents divorced, and my mom went away for a while. In my teen years, I learned she had schizoaffective disorder, and that’s why she kept having to go away for a while every few years.
My mom has always been worried that she’s a bad mom because she would have to be hospitalized for a few weeks or so at a time, but I’ve never been angry with her when it comes to her mental illness. Same with my father; we both have depression and ADHD so I feel like we lean on each other when the sadness and anxiety hit. My mom and I have a great relationship, and I always remind her that I would never want anyone else to be my mom. Hopefully saying this makes her feel less anxious about the past!
After all, the past is the past. My sister and I grew up pretty well adjusted, I’d say, so I think my parents did their jobs well. Throughout my life, I can only praise the way that my mom and dad raised us, even though it was a little…untraditional, one could say.
My dad has always been a busy man, but now that he’s retiring in August (!!!), he’s already filling his time with plenty of activities. Between his alter ego, Stella, his massive garden, and his very active social life, I don’t see him as much as I should. However, we do make the time to see each other, and we’ve been pretty good at keeping up with each other’s lives since he moved in with his husband five-ish years ago. I stayed in the apartment I grew up in until I met my now-husband, which is a whole other story in its own right.
Everyone always says that I’m my father’s child, and I totally agree! I am insanely similar to him in almost every way. The joke is that I’m just “him with boobs”, and I couldn’t agree more. Honestly, if you like me, you’ll probably like my dad just as much. He may be fun and outgoing in public, but just like me, he is quite introverted when left to his own devices. He taught me to keep going, even through the hard times. His life hasn’t been the easiest, so one of the things I’m forever grateful for is that he worked as hard as he could to make my sister and I’s lives as easy as they could be. I’m also forever grateful that he did all this, but made sure that we knew that real life wasn’t as easy. He prepared my sister and I very well for that rude awakening that every 18–24 year old goes through when they realize that Life is Hard and kind of sucks, and he made sure that despite this, we found happiness.
Both my parents have found their soulmates now, and I love my step parents deeply. “But wait, Mary,” you might say. “Did you say your parent’s souls are already in love? How can they find another soulmate?” To be honest, I believe in having more than one soulmate; I don’t believe it’s possible to only have one. This universe is too large to limit your love to one person.
That being said, love doesn’t have to be sexual or romantic all the time. If you look at it in a “we’re made from stardust” kind of way like I always have, I am convinced that everyone that I love as deeply as I do is from the same galaxy that created me. My family, my friends, my husband…the love I have for these people is infinite. To me, it transcends the physical realm. A lot of people would call that some sort of religion, and I guess I would agree.
I’ve learned all of this through the love that my parents showed both my sister and I as well as each other. At the end of the day, they still love each other in a way that old friends do. Both of my parents are very passionate and vibrant people in their own ways that I can’t help but see them in the way I live my own crazy life. While most people my age would hate the thought of turning into their parents, I don’t mind it too much. I am the best parts of them, and I think my sister is too. I also think that all three of them would agree with me on that!
My dad’s birthday was the 2nd, my mom’s the 4th, and my sister’s the 7th. Obviously, the first week of June is a very important, very busy week for the Richmond-Leeths! I try my best to do something either with or for each of them on their birthdays because at the end of the day, they are my home. I love my family so much, and even though I try to show it every day, it’s nice to do a little extra for them on their birthdays. Also, I’m very annoying in August (my birth month) so I try to shower them with affection so they won’t want to throw me in the trash two months later!!
The point of all this is to say that June 3rd will most likely always be a magical day for me. It’s the beginning of the summer, the next year for three out of the four of us, and it’s a day that I remember being full of love since day one. It reminds me that while life is hard and crazy most of the time, it’s the little things that really make everything worth it. Seeing how happy the four of us are when we get together really makes my heart sing. When I eventually have a family of my own, I hope to make June 3rd special for my kids as well. Although they probably won’t have the same tie to it that I do, I hope that I can make it a day full of magic and love like my parents did for me long ago, and still do to this day.
If you’re not a family member, but still liked this post, thanks!! You can follow me on Twitter for more family-related shenanigans if you want! And if you have any writing prompts, throw them my way as well! I want to keep polishing my old creative writing skill until it’s as good as new, so help a girl out!