Now to those of you who have supportive families, and those who were brave enough to keep reading even though I encouraged you not to, I got an enormous piece of humble pie yesterday at my big gay family Turkey Day dinner. There were about twelve people who came to dinner throughout the day. I say throughout the day because some people went to visit their genetic family first and then came to join us later, while others (like me) only went to one dinner. I sat in amazement as I heard story after story from people who went to see their families. Stories of how they were treated, were talked at and not talked to, were ostracized, not allowed to spend time with their nieces and nephews, etc. How they are allowed to come to holiday events, but their girlfriend of several years is not ever allowed in the house. I then found out that of the people who didn't go to see their families at all, it wasn't just because of distance. No, it's because their families have abandoned them. Completely.
Now I know some of you are reading this and thinking, yeah TSD some families suck, what are you getting at? Here's what I'm getting at (in a naturally very long winded sort of way) I was shocked. Honestly shocked. I know that there are families out there who are like this, who use religion and hypocrisy and tradition to push away their children. But I didn't realize just how prevalent it was. When I am the only one of twelve people sitting at a table who wasn't ignored, put down, or abandoned by my family, it brings to light just how common it is. I didn't realize, I just didn't. Here are some past links as to how awesome my parents just are My Dad and My Mom. Yeah, they're amazing...and sometimes I forget.
I called my parents when I left dinner just to tell them that I love them and to tell them that I am thankful for how amazing they are. About everything. About supporting my career choice, helping me through college, raising me to be an independent member of society, teaching me good manners, instilling in me an obligation to volunteer in the community, and loving me unconditionally for who I am. Want me to brag on them a little bit more? I'd love to. When I explained what prompted all of this, their reaction was classically them: bewildered that anyone could stop loving their child because of who they are. And assurance that I can always be me, am always welcome in their home (as is anyone I ever bring) and that it's ridiculous for parents to be like that.
How am I today? Humbled. And very very very thankful to be so blessed. We forget how lucky we are until we are surrounded by those who are not. Now to those of you who read this against my suggestion, here is the hope I leave you. Don't despair, your parents may change one day. I'm not being naive and saying they will, I'm saying they might. One of my friends, who's parents have taken the religious-abandon-til-they-find-Jesus-route, asked to spend time with us. To meet us, to get to know us. It's taken them many many many years, but they are moving forward. So don't give up on them. Lastly to those of you who are in my camp, call your family, tell them thank you.
We don't say it enough.