Mother's Day has always been a special day for me, a time to celebrate my mother, my grandmothers, and, most importantly, my children. It's my children, after all, who make Mother's Day (and every day) a day worth remembering.
But this Mother's Day, I won't be able to celebrate with all my kids. Well, to say I won't be "able" isn't exactly correct; rather, I won't be allowed.
Last month, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) notified me that I would no longer be allowed to serve as leader of my son's Scouts troop -- not because I'd failed to sell enough popcorn, or because I couldn't properly teach the boys how to tie a butterfly knot. I was removed because I'm gay.
That my four kids have two moms to celebrate this Mother's Day -- two moms who have loved them, cared for them, and protected them from the time they were in diapers to their first day of school to today -- poses a "distraction" to the Scouts' core values, they say.
Well, this Mother's Day, I have a message for the Boy Scouts: I am a mother, not a "distraction."
Like any other mother, my heart stops whenever I see my child fall. Like any other mother, I hold my child's hand when we cross the street. And like any mother, I want to be part of my son's life. And that life includes the Scouts.
Parents in my community have rallied around me in support, telling the BSA that I did my job well and conducted myself just like any other parent. What I thought would be a small petition my friends and family could sign in support has turned into a national cry for change, with over a quarter of a million people joining my Change.org action calling on the Boy Scouts to finally put an end to its long history of discrimination against gay scouts and LGBT leaders.
Telling my son that I would no longer be allowed to be in the Scouts was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. And this Sunday, when I'm unable to be with my pack and fellow Scout parents, my heart will break again as I'm reminded of this very un-American policy, which remains on the books of one of our largest cultural institutions.
I hope you join me in helping send a clear message to the Scouts that the time for change is now. Whether it's sharing on Facebook or Twitter, writing the BSA directly, or signing my petition at Change.org/scouts, let's make this Mother's Day a "Mother's Day of Action" and give all moms something even more to celebrate.
Follow Jennifer Tyrrell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Jen_Tyrrell