I was thinking earlier today about my parents and how they would never have the grandchild that, I’m sure, they envisioned was in their future. Who can blame them? It’s the most natural thing humans do: expect, hope for, the continuation of our line.
So who could blame my parents for expecting the same from me. I would grow up, get married, and soon, just like their parents before them, they would be indulging my child, their grandchild. And so on and so on…
But of course, that wasn’t the way it turned out to be. The only child was gay. My parents landed on the Whammy; all systems stop, all passengers off. End of the line.
Now I need to clarify before I continue, my parents are wonderful. Not “wonderful,” he-must-be-hiding-some-deep-dark-secret
wonderful, of course there is disfunction, wouldn’t be a family without it, but all in all, I have great parents. And these parents, after an intial “you’re too young to make this decision” (I wasn’t) when I came out to my Mom at 14, have always been incredibly supportive. They’ve met most of the men I’ve dated over the years, they’ve always been heartbroken when my relationships have ended. It was their greatest fear that I wouldn’t find someone to spend my life with. They maintained that being gay made it so much harder to find a stable relationship, to which I always replied, “Have you seen the divorce statistics? Straight couples aren’t making such a great showing, either.”
And as it turns out, of all their friends, they are one of the only two couples still together after all these years. 46 of them to be exact. That’s a feat. The other couple that’s had that kind of longevity is a lesbian couple who are friends of my parents. I’ve known them since I was in grade school and they are still together and loving each other.
So as I see it, it’s a crapshoot no matter what your persuasion. Being coupled is hard work. If you are not able to deal with the manure under the beautiful flowers, then you’re not really ready to walk through that particular garden gate. Of course the trick is finding someone as willing as you to get his/her hands dirty. It’s all in the timing. And luckily, my and Jamie’s timing was perfect.
We both hit the time in our lives when, to quote Kiki and Herb quoting Kate Bush’s song “Moments of Pleasure” from her album The Red Shoes, “Every old sock needs an old shoe”. Do I miss the passion of new “love”? Sure, from time to time, but the comfort of my Jamie by my side reminds me constantly that I have something much more real. Who needs ephemera when you’ve got someone there, solidly by and on your side?
But I seem to have wandered far afield of the particular garden lane that was the path of guilt. Oh right, it’s just over there…
So from time to time I feel bad, feel guilt, that my parents will have no grandchild to dote over. I know that in the end, they are happy that I’ve found Jamie and that we have a good life together. But still I wonder if they cry in the night over what could have been. And then I realize that we all, from time to time, do that. We can’t change what is, we can’t change who we are or the hand we’ve been dealt by God, nature, life. We can only do the best with what we have and try not to worry about things that might’ve been. If we get bogged down in the what if’s, we lose sight of the beautiful what are’s.
And anyway, now they have my baby “sister” Precious, who’s all the loving bundle that they could ever wish for.