The day before Thanksgiving, I “came out” to my parents as a Buddhist and a vegetarian. I had been dropping plenty of hints – the books I carry around with me and casually leave sitting on the end table, the two Buddhist magazines I still have sent to my parents house left over from the summer I lived with them two years ago, the mala I wear every day, my choice of vacation destination, not to mention numerous Buddhist references in our conversations over the past three years. I think they had their heads in the sand.
I told them I was Buddhist and that a senior Buddhist teacher was coming into town and I was going to take official vows. I told them I abide by the five precepts and that includes not killing or harming of humans and animals, therefore, I’m vegetarian. I also told them I don’t expect anyone to go out of their way because I’m vegetarian and we don’t have to tell Grandma Del. After listening with that blank look on her face, my mother promptly changed the subject. The only response was an agreement not to tell Grandma an brief “You better not expect me to cook vegetarian because I don’t know how.” Which is really just silly, because she hardly cooks anyway and it’s not that different from any other cooking.
My Dad is coming around. He asked a few questions the next day and teased me a bit. He wanted to know if that meant I was celibate. I told him no such luck since I’m not a nun, just a lay Buddhist. I have a feeling this is going to be another one of those topics of non-discussion with my mother. I can live with that. I suppose they see it as just one more odd thing to add to the list of their odd daughter. They didn't try to talk me out of it, but then I think Dad never felt inclined to talk me out of anything and Mom gave up a long time ago.
Inside, I'm still the dissapointed little girl who wants her Mom to take an interest, but mostly I'm happy that they are accepting of me for who I am.