Here’s a random happy thought for a change:
Three days ago, my youngest son and his partner were united in marriage in the state of California (at Disneyland, actually). Like any newlywed couple, they are very much in love and excited at the prospect of starting their married life; yet even on their honeymoon they’re thinking of Will and me, and calling to check on us daily. It makes us both happy to know that they’re happy, and no matter what some people may think about “gay marriage” (or marriage equality, as I prefer to call it), there’s never been any doubt in my mind that these two were meant for each other from the get-go.
This is quite a reach for a woman as politically conservative as I am. But I’ve known Ethan was gay from the time he was three years old, and I know that his sexual orientation was NEVER a choice. He got through elementary school without much difficulty, but suffered the tortures of the damned in middle school, even though he tried to be “normal”. Yet he never complained to anyone about it until the harassment became so intense that he couldn’t stand it even one more day.
All along, the family and I tried to let him know that it was OK to be who he was, but of course you can’t tell a teenager that. He stolidly continue to deny it for another several years, all the way through high school and beyond. In fact, he tried so hard to conform to society’s expectations of young men that he even became engaged to a girl he met in his last year of high school.
To say that this relationship was near-disastrous would be an understatement. She was controlling and manipulative; to be honest, I rather suspected her of having borderline personality disorder because she was such a needy little attention-seeker who had to make absolutely EVERYTHING about her. I mean, this chick wasn’t going to put a ring on his finger…..she was going to put it through his nose!
Ethan, meanwhile, was becoming more and more angry and confused. I still have a number of pictures of the two of them, and in all but a few, they are almost always facing slightly away from each other, frowns on their faces, their arms crossed in front of them as if to shield themselves from the other’s negative energy. Of course, the rest of our family could see this as plain as day, but as the wedding date neared, the tension became almost unbearable and Ethan began to reject us.
Then a miracle occurred. He came to work for the assisted living community where I was the health services director, and immediately fell in with the gay and lesbian caregivers who worked the evening shift. Somehow, these young folks got through to him, gently forcing him to see that he needed to be true to himself.
I’ll never forget the night he called me with the news. I promptly burst into tears of gratitude that he’d finally accepted his sexuality: “I’ve known that your whole life,” I told him, which surprised him even though I’d said time and time again that he was loved no matter whether he was gay or straight.
He broke off his engagement and dated a few guys briefly before meeting Clark. The relationship bloomed quickly, and soon they moved in together. They’ve faced their share of challenges, and undoubtedly will face many more as there is a sizable age difference between them, and of course there is always the issue of acceptance by the society in which we all live. But this man treats Ethan like gold, and that has endeared him to our family forever……so much so that I’ve been calling him “Son” for the past year.
Now I get to do that for real. I have three sons now. And may Ethan and Clark’s union be a long and happy one!