Saturday, October 6, 2018

Integrating with Family

Jimmy and I went to Orange County to celebrate my cousin's birthday.  She put out the invite one month in advance to make sure that everyone had it marked in their calendar.  She was turning 35 and wanted to celebrate for once.

I later learned that my aunt was attending.   She's a wild card; not the family favorite and divorced my biological uncle.  She got lost going to the restaurant and my cousin was already annoyed with her.

I've never came out directly to my family aside from my parents. I've never said those words. When my aunt finally arrived she asked me who the guy was sitting next to me; I hesitated.  My cousin spoke for me, "this is Jimmy!"  My aunt responded that it was great to meet him.

We sat at opposite ends of the table enjoying the restaurant's version of tostadas and loco moco.  There were about 16 people there so it was easy to stick to a few folks to talk to.

At the end of the night as my aunt prepared to leave, she looked at Jimmy and said, "Take care of Christopher.  If you don't, I'm going to come after you."  She started laughing.  Jimmy and I started laughing as well.  My aunt looked at me and said, "be you, be happy, that's the most important thing."  I thanked her as she walked away.

I melted in the moment.  I didn't realize the impact that those words that came so unexpectedly.

I was used to silence.  And I feel that most of us just accept that silence is the best thing we're going to get from our family who know we're gay officially or not.

==

Despite being together for so long, Jimmy and I have celebrated Christmas separately, but this year is different.  Jimmy's family is out of the country and he agreed to come up to San Jose to participate in both my high school Christmas party and my family's.

I told him that we have to prepare.  That all the gifts will be from "the both of us."  And he responded, "i have to get ready for your extrovert family."  Which the perfect word to describe the Christmas party that my parents always host. 

I'm excited to send the email, "Jimmy will be joining us this year!" 

And I need to get used to saying to my extended family, "This is Jimmy, he's my boyfriend of 8 years and I'm happy that he's here to celebrate Christmas with us."

This is probably the biggest step in our relationship that we've taken in a while - family integration.  Straight people don't understand how easy they have it to be able to do this without a ounce of worry, fear or stress.  And maybe one day, I'll be able to be integrated into his family....  but one step at a time.