Mothers and Daughters, and a Blessing

Jul 3, 2008

Sue Hyde lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her wife, Jade McGleughlin, their daughter, Jesse, 14 and their son, Max, 12.

The makeup of their household is not as rare as it once was — and certainly not as rare as it was when Hyde was growing up, in a small town in rural Illinois.

Asked by her daughter about the differences between their childhoods, Hyde's response is, "I grew up in one of those very typical families, with a mom and a dad. And there were seven kids."

The hardest part, Hyde says, was her sense of being alienated from her family, because of the feelings she had for other girls, feelings "that no one else that I knew at that time had."

When Hyde was 19, she finally told her mother about those feelings.

"And do you know what she said to me?" Hyde asked Jesse recently. "'What did we do wrong?'"

"I think if she knew you now, though, she'd be really proud," Jesse says in response, "'cause, you would have changed her mind."

But her mother's acceptance — and blessing — did finally come, shortly before she died in 1980.

With her partner, Hyde made a trip to her family's home to visit her mother, who was suffering from a grave illness.

On the night before Hyde's mother died, the three sat together.

Her mother took the couple's hands, Hyde remembers, "and put them here together, on her chest. And she said, 'You two be happy.'"

"I don't want you, ever, ever, to wait that long to hear that from me, and I want you to know that I want you to be happy," Hyde says.

To that, Jesse's response is, "Mom, you know I will."

Produced for 'Morning Edition' by Katie Simon, with help from Michelle Swinehart. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Sarah Kramer.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for StoryCorps. People across the country have been recording conversations with each other for this oral history project.

Today, Sue Hyde is interviewed by her 14-year-old daughter, Jesse McGleughlin.

Ms. JESSE MCGLEUGHLIN: What do you think the differences are in the way you grew up and in the way I grew up?

Ms. SUE HYDE: Hmm. Well, I grew up in one of those very typical families, with a mom and a dad, and there were seven kids. We lived in a small town in rural Illinois. For me, what was very difficult and painful at times was to know that I was growing up with feelings about girls that no one else that I knew at that time had.

So it caused me, I think, to be a little bit alienated from my parents, because I didn't know how to tell them. And when I finally did tell my mother, I was 19 years old.

Ms. MCGLEUGHLIN: Wow.

Ms. HYDE: And you know what she said to me? She said, what did we do wrong?

Ms. MCGLEUGHLIN: I think if she knew you now, though, she'd be really proud, because you would have changed her mind, too.

Ms. HYDE: Well, I want to tell you how I did change her mind. My mom got very sick when I was in my 20s. The week that she died, my partner and I went to my parent's house to spend the week there because we knew that my mom was going to die soon. But on the night before she died, it was me and my partner who were up with her. She was sleeping a lot, you know. Her body was shutting down. But she would become aware sometimes and speak to whomever was sitting with her in a very pleasant way.

She woke up that night when we were sitting with her, and she took my hand and my partner's hand and put them here together on her chest. And she said, you two be happy. And she died the next day. And it was really the first time that she had ever blessed my relationship.

I don't want you ever, ever to wait that long to hear that from me. I want you to know that I want you to be happy.

Ms. MCGLEUGHLIN: Mommy, you know I will.

Ms. HYDE: I love you. I'm very proud of you.

Ms. MCGLEUGHLIN: I love you, too.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: Jesse McGleughlin with her mother, Sue Hyde, speaking together in Boston.

This conversation and all StoryCorps interviews are archived in the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. And you can hear additional stories at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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