The Impact of Acceptance

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-eggsEaster 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. :-)

Hollywood Hotties…Of Yesteryear

This is just a sweet scene to me.

This is just a sweet scene to me.

If you were around Facebook on Monday, you might’ve seen me discover the reason behind my first name. I don’t know why I never asked specifically because plenty of people have suggested it’s maybe a family name. But I know my family tree on both sides and Thornton never shows up.

So Jazz and me are watching The Quiet Man with my dad Monday night and, out of nowhere, my dad says, “You’re named after him,” and nods at the TV. John Wayne’s character Sean Thornton is on the screen. I was all “What?!” So he explains that my mom loved that movie, loved John Wayne period, and she wanted me to have a unique name. After I finished sniffling over that :) I got to thinking about my favorite leading men.

Turns out I’ve got a thing for actors from another time. The link’s will take you to my favorite of their movies :)

I do like watching movies with today’s actors. Not a single thing wrong with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and who wouldn’t like to pound Tom Hiddleston’s Loki just once? ;) (That’s a reference to The Hulk, because I’m pretty sure Tom’s a top.)

But when I want to watch a movie because I need some comfort, want to get lost somewhere, or need the familiar, I turn to the silver screen classics. Our DVR is full up with movies I found on TCM or AMC. I call them up when Jazz reads or sometimes it’s just good snuggling time.

And I really love that my mom did this too. I remember watching them when I was young, but I guess I forgot we had that in common. Or I didn’t realize it was going to grow into a love of mine. Or that she and I would both think these guys are pretty hot ;)

Baby Cruising

Apparently, there is a stage in babyhood called “cruising”. I giggled ;) But seriously, this is when a baby hauls herself up to her feet and looks around like a queen surveying her domain.

It is also when babysitting comes with gates and the words “Oh my God, where’s Mary?”

An angel she ain’t no more.

Not her, but FEEEL the panic.

Not her, but FEEEL the panic.

The crawling like a speed demon was already happening, so we had gates for going down stairs and doors closed to contain. This weekend, I found Mary FIVE STEPS UP toward the second floor.


Well, grabs baby, places into playpen, then faints…

So we had an emergency realignment of gates and doors. Minor panic over not having enough gates and doors. Watching the twins like hawks sighting field mice in an attempt to swoop in before they threw themselves at something.

I wanted to borrow a dog leash from the neighbor so I could sit and read a book without worrying that maybe we’d missed a door or not clicked a gate down good enough. I swear they’re like little Houdinis! And no low surface is safe anymore because now they can see things and grab them. Monkey Houdinis! For pity’s sake, the book I was trying to read was that baby’s first year thing because I didn’t realize a couple weeks could do so much damage. Please, babies, let Uncle Thorny have a moment!

Their parents, of course, thought this was hilarious. They had the advantage of watching the approaching storm every day, though, so it’s not fair or funny, thank you.

Alright, it was seriously cute to watch them do their exploratory thing once we weren’t fearing for their lives. The big grins of total triumph. The banging on the coffee table when Tommy 3 finally conquered it. The number of times they couldn’t get on the couch but refused to stop trying. It was so much innocent, happy, determination, and I kind of got choked up about it. They’re little PEOPLE now! They have personalities and drive and it’s inspiring.

And terrifying. I don’t want to screw them up. I’m desperately hoping instinct will prevent that more than something in a book or whatever like that. I want them to feel safe and absolutely loved, give them their space to discover their world and own it.

Just please don’t suck on the arm of the couch.

Don’t climb the stairs!

Quit banging on the window like you’re trapped.

Put that down!

That too!

{sigh} Can we nap now?

Trying to Help

At first I was angry, but that died down quickly. No point in being mad since it wouldn’t help anything. Of course, sadness is still hanging around because it’s just so monumentally wrong. But I’m trying to cover it up with hope that this will get better.

Tyrell’s parents aren’t letting him come home. Thanks to whatever screwed up FB policy going on now or whatever like that, someone sent someone a photo of Tyrell at a party. He was kissing a guy. No big deal except for the fact his parents saw and have told him he can’t come home until he stops “this thing you’re doing.”

overstuffedluggageSo he has to stop being gay. Which, of course, they’re convinced is totally possible if Tyrell would just make the effort. You gotta want it, apparently.


OK, so the anger’s still there.

But, he was living in a dorm. They charge extra to stay over break and — because his parents waited until the last minute to dump it on him — he missed the deadline to keep his room. Thankfully, he’s in school on a gift from his deceased grandfather and a boatload of scholarships and grants, so he doesn’t have to worry about his parents cutting off his tuition. So the fix we’ve all got in place is that Tyrell’s going to be a guest in one place or another until school starts up again in January.

Right now, he’s with my friend Sara and her sister who have an apartment near campus. Next week, when they’ll be at their family home, he could’ve stayed by himself, but he chose to go to Sean and Miles’ house for the week. They have family over for Christmas and everyone’s happy to have Tyrell right on in there with them. He’ll be a few days with a friend of his until we get back after the first, then he’ll come stay here with Jazz and me until he can get back into the dorm. That’s the rough plan, anyway, since it’s completely up to him about where and how long.

So now I’m asking for help from you. Do you have any advice on what to do/say? Any suggestions on activities to keep us all busy? I have some ideas, but we’re open to anything.

Straight Guys Need Boy Friends Too

The title of this post is what Jack, Carter’s brother-in-law, said when he invited all us guys out to meet some of his friends and relatives in town.

Let me set the scene for you:

Michigan. Small town. We’re talking one whole stoplight small. When you say you’re going to the bar, you don’t need to specify because there’s only the one. There are, however, eight churches within 10 miles. And it’s Michigan which is about 5 times more anti-gay than Ohio.

So when Jack says boys night out, I put on my game face.

That Jack wants to take out his 4 gay brothers-in-law just as much as his 2 straight ones is fantastic. He doesn’t see orientation; we’re just family. He is a little naive in not realizing others won’t see what he sees, but at the same time, I like that about him.

So off we go to the bar where some of the guys are familiar from last year’s holidays — some of Jack’s family joins us every time — and there are some new faces thrown in. And it’s those new guys who zero right in on the gay guy in their midst…


Even on his most butch days, he’s still obviously queer. It takes seeing him as strangers do to remind me this might be a problem. Until we walked in, I was thinking me and Carter and to DL or not to DL. And the really beautiful thing is, Thorny’s not even noticing that he’s got the stage at this particular moment because he’s admiring the moose head on the wall over the bar and just soaking up the rustic atmosphere. The rest of us are the ones going on alert.

Except then I’m watching and I realize Thorny does notice, but he’s working his oblivion in with his innocence and cuteness to make everyone pause. Every guy there was now looking around for cues from someone else on what to do here. And it occurs to me that Jack’s working the room too. His family’s a household name around these parts and nobody wants to get on the bad side of that. So Thorny’s sipping root beer from a straw and complementing the bartender’s tattoos while Jack’s shaking hands and dropping names.

I was amazed by how fearless Thorny was coming into a place he’s never been and just being himself. Plus how he knew without a doubt he was safe with us around him. Amazed too at how willing Jack was to throw his weight around for the sake of his family. I mean, he has to live up here with these people while we can go home.

So here’s to brave femme boys and influential straight allies! My admiration to you both.

The Good Stuff:

It’s Carter’s birthday today. Big things await him at home tonight. Big. ;-)