I have often mentioned on this blog how fortunate I feel to have a large, raucous, and very loving, supportive family. It hurts my heart to read or see stories about families disowning sons, siblings, or uncles who are gay. I know that it has been a journey, transition, or evolution — whatever you want to call it — for some of my family to understand that their son, brother, uncle, or cousin is gay… met a man… built a home and a life together… then married when legally permitted.
What has been the family response to the news of our marriage (and practically, an elopement?)
Their response has been demonstrated by sending flowers, numerous phone calls, emails, and dozens of “likes” on Facebook about my status change to “married.” They know I am a big sucker for the old-fashioned method of receiving a card in the mail. I am personally very touched that we received a card from every.single.one of my siblings (all 14 of them) and all of my nieces and nephews — all 69 of them. Man, it’s better than Christmas!
The expressions written in the cards and given by phone range from, “it’s about time you made him legal (giggle)” to “you have set a wonderful example of showing us how a caring and compassionate couple cares for the other,” to “we look up to you guys.”
I even received some cards and calls from first cousins who are from a side of the family who hold the tenets and teachings of the Catholic religion closely. I can’t say they were gushing with joy, but to have some acknowledgment, anyway, that they wish us well was important for me to see.
Without a doubt, my closest first cousins — my “cous-a-sis” (closest female first cousin in age who is as close as a sister) and the sons of my aunt and uncle for whom I cared through the ends of their lives, were ecstatic. Calls, cards, and shouts of joy could be heard from Florida to New York to California.
Perhaps my Mom set the tone, after going through her own learning curve when I came out to her for her to accept then embrace my partner (now my spouse) in the year that she died. She selected my partner as the only “in-law” to be a pall bearer at her funeral. That was a tremendous statement, whose lessons were learned and adopted by my siblings. Never a question again after that — we are who we are and the family not only “accepts” us, but loves us. My heart remains filled with joy.
I wish it could be the same for other gay couples who marry. I know that is not true for all. I remain overjoyed with knowing that I can rely on a loving and caring family as the bedrock of support.
I can’t write a post about my family without acknowledging my twin brother. He knew I was gay before I did, and loved me just the same. Sure, we had our sibling arguments, but they never amounted to much. The love was always there. I was honored to serve as his Best Man when he married his lovely wife, and he was by my side when I married my man. He has always, always, always, shown his love in a million ways, and my spouse and I remain truly grateful, appreciative, and honored to have such a great guy in our lives.
Okay, enough gushing… back to boots in the next blog post.
Life is short: show those you love how you love them.