I’ve had some family events in the not so distant past that have had a negative impact on my life because of a lack of acceptance. Some members of my family think I’m weak for being an alcoholic who went to rehab and can mark my sobriety in years. Some of them think I’m inhuman for being gay. A deviant for corrupting a straight man. A traitor for still calling myself a Marine.
Not all of them feel this way about me anymore. The few who don’t have managed to realize I’m happier living my life without pretending to be someone I’m just not while loving someone who’s everything I need in a partner. These people will have me in their homes, around their children, and they’ll come to my home too.
They aren’t who I think of when I hear the word “family” though. I’m related to those people by blood and some of them are worth knowing and I do keep up that bond. My family, the people who I would do anything for and who would do the same for me, are the ones who’ve adopted me into their lives because one of their own loves me.
Thorny and I have both talked about the family before, so I’m sure you know they’re generally open, accepting, loving people. And I know this too, but it still hits me from time to time, and especially when the whole clan gets together over a holiday.
Easter for this family is a combo of sacred and silly. It’s optional to go to Mass, but heavily encouraged — having an adorable little woman get teary and sniff into a hanky while mumbling in Italian for the health of your immortal soul is some wicked powerful motivation. There’s a formal noon meal with everyone still dressed up and looking fine. We get a break to go home and change, let babies nap, etc. before regrouping to hunt down eggs, devour chocolate, and watch rabbit-themed cartoons. (Not to mention observe the sugar-high and subsequent coma of certain young people under the age of, say, 23. ;-) )
Mixed in with all of that is this bond between all of them that, when it’s turned on me, is strange and wonderful. Men hug and plant a kiss on my cheek, cute old ladies pinch my butt, kids sit on my lap or fall asleep in my arms, and a big guy who smiles a lot doesn’t hesitate to show everyone how much he loves me. I’m drawn in, accepted, and loved and that’s it, I’m their family, their brother and their son. It’s the real family feel around these people that makes all the difference.
Just so you know, I got my prosthesis on Friday and went back to work on Monday. Carter’s truck is currently in the shop, getting repaired on the other guy’s insurance. :-)