Today I am thinking about my Mom, because frankly, I miss her dearly. Mom and I have been through a lot together in life, and we always manage to keep our relationship strong. The love and appreciation that I have for her is something greater than I have ever felt in my life before, because she is always there for me, through the thick and thin. Unconditional is a word often used to describe the significance of love, because it truly represents just how important my Mom is to me.

Back in September of 2013, I decided to come out to my parents, and open up about my sexuality. Coming out as a member of the gay community to my Mom was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do in my life, but the end result was worth all of the stress and emotions that I had before.

At first, my Mom was shocked, frustrated, and emotional. All of these possible outcomes were expected, because I was upset myself, due to the fact that this wasn’t easy. I never had any doubt in my mind that my Mom wouldn’t accept who I am as a person, and continue to love me unconditionally. The bond that we have is something that could never be broken, especially by something that is becoming more normal in the world we live in today.

I have heard horror stories from other members of the LGBT community about their coming out experiences, and the stories angered me for years. I do not understand how you could treat someone that you love and gave the gift of life to with discrimination and abandonment. Never in my mind was this a personal concern. Growing up in the small community of Silver Bay Minnesota, it was sometimes difficult to fit in with everyone, because the area is predominantly white, and heterosexual. I never experienced much bullying growing up in my school, but at times I did experience name calling and blatant acts of stupidity from uneducated peers around me.

Flowers blooming in the Nevada desert. The beautiful blossoms remind me of my Mom! Photo taken by Brett Mensing

I would always go home at the end of the day, and tell my Mom about what the other kids would say to me, and how it made me feel. I can remember her telling me to be strong, and not listen to what they were saying, because we are all different and extremely unique in our own way, shape, and form. My Mom taught me what it meant to be independent, and strong when it comes to standing up for myself. None of us are perfect, no matter how hard we try to be. With these curves in the road, it gave me the strength to learn and develop my own personality, and realize that I am the only person that can make myself happy in life. I credit this chapter in my life to my Mom, because I love her to the moon and back, and always will.

Eastyn Rayce

Today I am thinking a lot about the past, three years, and how lucky I am to be an Uncle to one of the sweetest little dudes I know. I have one brother, whom happens to be 13 years older than myself. The age difference has never really affected our relationship as siblings. Brandon has been married to my sister-in-law Heather for the past eight years, and I love her dearly. She is a very smart, caring, quiet and loving person. My brother and his wife have been together since high school, and love each other very much. They have always wanted to have a family, but as many couples experience, the difficulty to conceive their own child was always a struggle.

Three years ago, after trying multiple years to become parents the natural way and also filling out endless adoption papers after giving up hope to have one of their own, Brandon and Heather surprised our family with the best news of all, they were expecting a baby! I could not contain my excitement over the next nine months, buying clothes and toys for the little baby boy that I would meet in just a short amount of time. Little did I know that this little baby boy would change my life so much.

Eastyn Rayce Goutermont was born on September 12, 2012. I will never forget driving down with my parents to meet him for the first time at the hospital in Duluth. My Mom and I cried the over the one hour drive, filled with excitement and happy emotions, thanking God for the miracle that finally arrived into our quaint little family. Holding the small little miracle in my arms for the first time brought tears to my eyes, as I began to imagine a future with this little guy. Babies are born every day, but it truly meant more to our family, because we didn’t know if my brother and his wife would ever be able to have their own children, and the reality had finally set in.

Over the past three years, being an Uncle has changed who I am as a person, and allowed me to show who I truly am and make myself a better person. Being nearly four hours away from him while in school isn’t easy some days, and that is why I chose to write about this story today in my blog. I think a lot about my family as I finish my weeks, and slide into the weekends. We are fortunate to have technology at the touch of our fingertips in today’s world, and that has proven to be a wonderful perk in my life. I try to FaceTime with my nephew as much as I can. Recently, he has become more emotionally attached to many of us in the family, and loves to chat with me, even over the computer. Although his attention span is smaller than a puppy’s, he likes to say hello to me, and tell me about his toys and what he has been doing in his everyday life. I cherish every minute that I get to spend with the little dude, and always will as we both continue to grow. Eastyn has one other Uncle, and I find myself in competition with him for the Best Uncle award! Over the winter break, I was thankful to spend a lot of time with him, having a sleepover at my parents, sledding down our big hill, and opening presents over the Christmas holiday. It is hard for me to believe just how quickly he has changed and grown over the past three years. I am excited to graduate college, and hopefully find a job in Duluth, so I am closer to him as he begins school, and becomes involved with activities and friends. This post has helped me with my emotions today, as I sit and think about the little bundle of joy that came into my life three years ago! I hope  you enjoy this insight into my life!