09/17/2013 03:54 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

My Qui-Gon Jinn

Sept. 12 was my mom's birthday. This post is dedicated to her, as well as to my dad and all those family members who stand with the LGBT community and fight alongside us.

Like almost every other son or daughter out there, I think my mom is amazing. Unfortunately, I did not see this when I was younger. I don't think we start to realize just how amazing our parents are until we get older. Sometimes that realization doesn't come until we lose a parent. For me that happened when my father passed away. It was at that time that I realized just how incredible both my parents always were.

I have to honestly say that when my dad passed away, I was fearful that it was just a matter of time before we would lose my mom too, not because my mom was in poor health but because she was heartbroken. I thought she would just give up on life. I truly believe that the only reason that she didn't just give up was that my younger sister was four-months pregnant with my mom's first grandchildren, the Jedi. (If you're wondering why I call them "the Jedi," let me explain: I am a huge Star Wars fan, so when my sister told me that she was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, I immediately said, "Like Luke and Leia!" From then on I referred to them as "the Jedi" instead of as "the twins" or "the babies." They are my Jedi, and I am their Obi Wan.) I believe my little Jedi were my mom's lifeline, and I'm very thankful for that.

Just like with my dad, my mom and I were never particularly close when I was growing up. Now, this had nothing to do with either of them; it was just how I was. There is a part of me that feels that I always knew subconsciously that I'm gay, so I kept myself guarded, even from my parents. Please don't take this to mean that my parents weren't there for me, because that couldn't be further from the truth. There was nothing -- and I mean nothing -- that either of them wouldn't do for me. That's especially true of my mom.

My mom is one of the strongest people, if not the strongest person, I know. As much as my dad liked to think he ran the family, it was really my mom who was in charge, and I'm sure that if my dad were still alive to read this, he would agree. My mom kept our family on track and was always there supporting my dad, my sister and me. No matter how much she had to do, she was always there for us.

My mom was the one who really pushed me academically as I was growing up. My dad pushed as well, but my mom was a schoolteacher and really saw my potential and wanted me to fulfill it. I would say she pushed too hard at times, and she would agree. Even to this day I push myself to be the best at everything I do, which sometimes gets in the way of my ability to enjoy whatever it is that I'm attempting to accomplish. However, it is that drive that has allowed me to accomplish everything I have accomplished, and that drive came from my mom.

She has a way of seeing into a person's heart and knowing who they really are. I wish I had known that when I was with my ex. No matter how much my mom was polite and kind toward him, I could tell she never really liked him. I always thought it was just because she blamed him for me not finishing school, or for me being gay. In reality it was because she knew that he was just not a good person, and especially that he was not good for me. Even though I didn't see it, my mom was always there to listen and let me live my life and make the mistakes that I needed to make so that I could learn and grow. When that relationship ended -- and it ended badly! -- my mom was there to pick me up. She knew just what to say to make me feel better and help me pick myself up and face life again.

So when my dad passed, I knew I had to do the same for my mom. In truth, though, it was my mom who kept all of us going. She was heartbroken, and yes, there were moments when she would lose it, but I think that knowing that she had not only her son and daughter but a son-in-law and two little grandchildren on the way forced her to hold it together and face life without my dad.

I know it hasn't been easy for her, but my mom is strong, stronger than I think she will ever realize. What I have seen her accomplish on her own over the last three and a half years has been nothing short of amazing. Part of the reason I was able to deal with my dad's death was her. I knew I had to be there for her; moreover, I drew on her strength. If she could deal with it and move forward with her life, how could I not?

Words can't express what my mom means to me. She always accepted me for who I am, even when I made it difficult for her to do so. She was always there for me, even when I attempted to push her away.

Mom, I love you for not only this but everything you have done for me and continue to do for not only me but our entire family. If I am Obi Wan to the Jedi, then you are my Qui-Gon Jinn.

To read more about my amazing family, please visit The Diary of a Drag Queen's Husband.