I would like to honor my mother, Rosalie. Things were pretty challenging growing up. We didn’t have a lot of money, and my father left us when I was very young. My mother had to work hard with two jobs to keep the four of us together. The absence of my father brought me a lot of psychological problems, insecurities and fears. I came out at the age of 16. At 17, I spent six months in the hospital almost dying of cancer and became HIV-positive at 30. I struggled with my self-worth and self-value for many years. My mother was rock-strong and was always there for me. She loves and accepts me for who I am. She taught me to respect myself and others, be a good person, not to judge and to do the right thing. We have an awesome relationship. She loves my boyfriend and friends. I couldn’t ask for a better mother. I wouldn’t be who I am today without our relationship.
Andrew Barquera Beverly Hills, CA
“My relationship with Andrew is built on love, honesty, kindness and respect,” Rosalie says. “We share everything with the ability of not having to feel bad about ourselves and who we are.”
Andrew says his mother was amazing during his health struggles.
“I’m proud of my mom because even when times were challenging and hard, she was always there, strong and hopeful,” Andrew adds. “She taught me to be a good person: caring, loving and understanding.”
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“I am most proud of how Andrew stayed true to himself,” Rosalie says. “He taught me how to forgive the people who were unkind to him because of the gay issue—he just has such love for everyone he meets.”
“She instilled those values in me,” Andrew says. “I learned through mistakes and wrong choices, but they made me stronger and a better person. She used to say, ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’”
Rosalie knows what it’s like to work multiple jobs as a single mom, so what are her words of advice for parents (and children) in that situation?
“You’re going to fall down at times or even take different directions, but let your children know that you as a parent also make mistakes,” she says. “Most of all, let them know how much you love them.”
We see a lot of amazing mom/son combos, but Rosalie and Andrew are among our favorites. We even teared up a little hearing what she had to say. We’re happy to let this lovely lady close out this month’s column.
“I feel so honored for the gift I have been given in my life: having a gay son. He is so full of love and happiness in a world full of hate and confusion,” Rosalie says. “I’m the happiest when I’m around him and his friends. It’s all such a positive experience with the greatest respect and love. Here’s to you, my dear friends. I send you lots of love.”