'Tis the Season
It happens at this time every year. I feel like I could cry at the drop of a hat. Now, there is a real and not so happy reason for that: between October 31, 2003 and November 16, 2005, I lost my Mom, my Dad, and my brother, Bruce. The deaths of my parents were not completely unexpected, but I still miss them every day. My baby brother should still be here, plain and simple. So, there is a real reason why a tangible melancholy settles in around the holidays. But this year, my ease to tear is not because of sadness, but because I feel so incredibly grateful for all I have, and for the pretty much limitless joy in my life.
This Thanksgiving, my sister Sharon (it’s just her and me now) came to San Francisco with my brother-inlaw, Larry. Add in the mix my oldest daughter, Emily, her girlfriend, Heidi, and around a dozen close friends, and Sandy’s dad, Tim, and you have the perfect Thanksgiving guest list. We had a blast. And it was at this time that I felt the lump in my throat that is still there. As I looked around my table, I was surrounded by the love of my life, Sandy, our two amazing kids, Julian and Ariana, and our birth and chosen family. It was a priceless picture, but certainly nothing Norman Rockwell ever dreamed of painting.
That is the power we possess: to change the picture of what “family” is—to be the bridge between our families of birth and our families of choice. My sister, Sharon, is a devout Mormon, living in Utah. She loves me without reservation, and as she spent the weekend with a ton of gay folks, she loved them as well. Now while such generosity and openness cannot be expected of all our family members (nor of all Mormons; a craven, cynical, and nasty politician is a particular exception), little miracles like this happen in every family, every day. Especially if we ourselves believe they can happen.
So, as you head home to family, or open your home to those you love, give them the chance to be their better angels. Talk to them about your life and hopes. Ask for their love and support. Tell them you love them. Then drop me a note and tell me what happens. But I warn you, you’re gonna make me cry.
Happiest of holidays,