I'm a proud mama

by Lorin Michel Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:55 PM

Justin is on tour with a Disney show, and has been for over a year now. He lives out of a suitcase, which these days is more like a big duffle bag on wheels, moving from city to city to city, either via a big travel bus or, if it’s too far, via American Airlines. Last year, he was on the east coast, visiting all kinds of cities east of the proverbial Mississippi, and then went down to Mexico for a month. Since August, or maybe it was September, he’s been on the west coast except that this week he’s in Ft. Myers, Florida. Not sure how that’s west coast, but it matters not. We hadn’t heard from him in quite a while. He sometimes goes dark for a month or more at a time and we get nary a text. If he didn’t post via Swarm on Facebook, we’d never know where he was. 

But we had a chance to talk with him last night, and, as it so often is, it was delightful. 

He and several of his buddies on tour, including his girlfriend, have three days off in Ft. Myers so they rented a house. Because he had some time, he decided to use a bit of it to call his parents.

The conversation began with the usual. Him giving us a rundown of what’s been happening on the tour, where he is, what he’s doing; us telling him that all we do is work but that we are trying to have more of a life, and that we even have plans this weekend. He asked about Riley; we asked about Kelsey. Then Kevin asked him about politics, and I started to smile.

For the next two hours, we talked politics. He has been paying close attention to the presidential race, watching the debates on both sides, devouring the Rachel Maddow show, reading up online about what’s happening. He has studied the issues, he had very thoughtful and insightful things to say about it all.

From the time he was little we tried to teach him two things: to question everything unless he knew it to be true; and to never let anyone give him his opinion, least of all us. Come to think of it, both of those things are somewhat inter-related. I’m proud to say that he has actually repeated it to me, when I’ve casually asked if he remembers what I always said when he was little. Without missing a beat, he says: “Question everything.”

I am a flaming liberal and proud of it. I always have been. Kevin was a Republican when we got together. He reluctantly admits that he voted for George W. Bush in 2000. And then, he was done. By 2004, he had come over to the dark side. I had nothing to do with it. I’m not that persuasive. The Republican party did it all by themselves. I’ve never hidden my liberalism, except from clients because it’s just not appropriate to talk politics or religion in certain company, not if one wishes to maintain a good and strong relationship. Both Kevin and I actively supported Barack Obama, in 2008 and in 2012. In 2008, Justin was still in high school and not at all politically informed. It didn’t interest him. On election night, as Kevin and I stood in front of the fireplace, watching the returns, we called for him to come downstairs to witness history. As the polls closed in California and Brian Williams said “We have news,” calling the race for Obama, we wept. I don’t know if Justin realized the magnitude of what had just happened. His generation – and here is where I sound old – doesn’t really think much about someone’s skin color or religion or sexual orientation. The election of Obama was that night and remains to this day one of the proudest moments of my life. 

Justin and Kelsey in Mexico last summer

Justin supports Bernie Sanders. It’s not at all surprising. He listed a number of reasons why, mostly policy related. He understands that it’s an uphill battle. I asked him if Sanders doesn’t win the nomination if he would support Clinton. I know in the heat of the season, many people get almost too enamored with their chosen one and vow to never support the other person. I get it; I do. But it’s counter-productive. The real issue is that the party you support win in November. I didn’t say all of that, of course. Because that’s my opinion. I just asked the question. He didn’t hesitate saying of course, and then went on to explain exactly what I was thinking. That there are issues at stake that are too important. 

As we were talking one of his friends came into the room where he was and gave him some wine. Kevin poured us some, too. 

Justin has also taken to wine. And not just any wine, but good, strong, hair-on-the-chest red wine. Syrahs and Petite Verdots. He goes wine tasting. He asks questions. He has a remarkable palette and nose. When he was in high school, he was very judgmental about wine and alcohol in general. Kevin and I were branded alcoholics because of our love of wine and wine tasting. He has come to realize that it’s an art form, a hobby; something to be savored. And it’s also a lot of fun.

Last night, he was in Florida and we were in Arizona. He was holding court about politics, and drinking red wine. We all were. I was so proud all I could do was smile, and raise a glass to my boy. Here’s to him, and his amazing mind, his personality, his goals. I’m bursting.

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