I wrote on this blog yesterday that our Christmas day began on a negative with a rant by a priest in church against our marriage, but we made the day better while trying to put the bad start behind us.
I also said that my twin brother became quite angry. I sat down with him later in the day to ask him…
…to forgive and to diffuse his anger. My spouse and I have had to deal with this negativity over the duration of our relationship. Sometimes the negative statements have been downright bigotry and hate.
We deal with it by living our lives as the men we are — honest, hard-working, and contributing to the betterment of the community where we live and the family and friends we love. We never believed we live a “gay lifestyle,” but rather, a lifestyle of integrity, commitment, and faith in each other, with a dabbling of a deeper underestanding of humanity, both bad and (mostly) good.
My brother, his wife, my spouse and I talked for hours. After dinner, my brother and sister-in-law excused themselves to drive to a sister’s house to visit. They invited me to join them, but I begged off. I had to help my spouse tend to his mother’s medical needs, and I was generally kinda tired. (My brother told me later that he knew intuitively that I was bummed and feeling down.)
Turns out that my brother and sister called the entire family when they were together, and made plans. Of course, they didn’t tell me.
Saturday morning, I took some of my senior pals grocery shopping, then after dropping them off, went to visit my niece and her twin boys. I had only planned to stay a little while, but my niece and her husband kept asking for my advice on how to remodel their bathroom, or fix something, thus delaying my departure.
I arrived home about 1:30pm. As I drove down my street, I saw tons of cars parked on the street. I thought perhaps a neighbor was having a party. But then I recognized some of the vehicles. A sister’s Chevy; another sister’s Lexus; a brother’s Toyota; so forth and so on. Even a few Harleys were parked out front. I pulled in the drive and heard noise — a lot of noise — inside the house.
My spouse is *not* the party guy, so I was really curious just what was going on.
When I entered the kitchen through the garage, the house was filled with family and friends. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, senior pals, guys and gals from the firehouse and my motorcycle club, as well as some of the neighbors. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happening. No wonder my niece delayed my departure from her house — to give my brother time to set up a huge surprise.
I saw my brother who made his way through the crowd and gave me a hug. I just broke down and cried. Then after I recovered a bit, I asked where my spouse and mother-in-law were. My spouse really hates crowds, and I was afraid that he wouldn’t be very happy.
My brother pointed to the back of the kitchen where my spouse was seated with my sister-in-law. He looked up, smiled, and shrugged. I walked over to him and he stood. We embraced — and everyone near us cheered.
I learned that while I was visiting my niece, my brother and his wife went to the store and bought food, drink, and party supplies (cups, etc.) Another sister brought wine.
I circulated around the house to greet everyone. Each one said that they loved us and wanted us to know that despite what we heard the day before, that the Spirit of Christmas — love, peace, and joy — was in their hearts and with us.
I saw several senior pals sitting with my mother-in-law in the living room, watching my oldest great nephew play Christmas carols on the piano quite skillfully. I’m not quite sure what my mother-in-law understood what was going on or why. She’s not quite mentally capable of understanding much these days. We just told her that it was another party, and to enjoy. (She did.)
Most of the kids who were there were in the basement rec room watching TV and playing with each other. They seemed to be having a great time. I rolled on the floor and chased & tickled a few of them. I love being Uncle BHD.
I continued to make the rounds and spoke with each person who was there. Every single one of them said that as soon as they heard what happened on Christmas Day, they wanted us to know that their Christmas Spirit was alive in their hearts with and for us. Several of them quoted lines from my favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life: “Each man’s life touches so many other lives” and “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.” I kept tearing up all afternoon.
My brother called the Saturday afternoon gathering a “thank you for your warm hospitality” party, but my spouse and I knew what he and his wife were doing.
Toward the end of the afternoon before people began to leave, I asked the crowd to hush (which wasn’t easy) and after I got their attention, I asked my spouse to stand with me while I thanked them for coming. I wanted to give a toast to my brother, but as soon as I raised my glass, tears began to flow — and flow hard — down my face so much so that I couldn’t speak. All I could do was give him a hug. My spouse joined us, and most everyone else became teary-eyed, too.
I regained my composure and croaked out — “see what happens when my brother gets his dander up?” … then everyone laughed.
Words cannot express what this meant to my spouse and to me. My Best Man is … well, my Best Man.
Life is short: show those you love how you love them.