Sometimes the universe decides to remind us that people have a tremendous capacity to love.
I mentioned, as part of yesterday’s post, some of the past and current difficulties I’ve had with some family members—specifically the ongoing sticking points of me being a gay man raised by a bunch of fundamentalist evangelicals. So, during my day trip to Mom’s and to visit at least some relatives near her, several people decided to tell me how much they love Michael.
Keep in mind that none of these relatives know this blog exists, and one of them can’t even “work the google” without the help of their 12-year-old…
Mom and I were chatting while I was setting up her new computer. I’m not completely sure how she got on the topic, but she told me how much she likes Michael, what a wonderful man she thinks he is, and how she hopes he knows how much he’s appreciated. Which was very nice, of course. It’s an evaluation I wholeheartedly agree with. I know she still struggles with the idea of me being gay. She did not react well to the news that we were getting married two years ago when it became legal for us to do so, but she tries.
Then, while dropping off presents at my sister’s, my nieces were both very disappointed that Michael wasn’t with us, and they each wanted to explain how much they love their Uncle Mike. Including an aside that they were glad to see me, too, of course. Which got my sister going on a bit about how wonderful she thinks Michael is and how lucky she thinks I am to have found him.
Later, while dropping off presents at my Aunt Silly’s, I got another round. My aunt was telling me news of her kids, and got onto the topic of her youngest son’s ex-, and how very different his second wife is. Then she segued to Michael, and how perfect he is for me. Not just that he obviously loves me, but that he’s a very wonderful and intelligent guy that anyone would be proud to have in their family.
My aunt’s comments represent the most dramatic change. She’s one of the people who reacted very negatively to my coming out, and was not welcoming to my late husband when he was still alive. By contrast, my sister was one of the few members of the family who was accepting from the moment I came out. And my two nieces were born after I came out. One was barely two years old when Ray died, and the other has never known a time when I wasn’t with Michael.
I have other relatives who fully accept Michael into the family. My Aunt Linda was another person who made it clear as soon as I came out of the closet that she loved me, supported me, and that anyone who had a problem with me being gay also had a big problem with her. Neither of my sisters has ever been anything other than supportive and accepting of me since I came out.
But it was especially nice yesterday to hear so much love and admiration for Michael (and me), including from a couple people who weren’t always accepting.
Those declarations were, a the least, among the best Christmas gifts I got this year.
Now, before I get any sappier, I have two more Christmas videos to share:
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – ft. Von Smith:
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
Darlene blows away the crowd with her final Late Show performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”:
Rolling Stone gives us some context: “The tradition began in 1986 when Love first performed “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Letterman’s Late Night program on NBC, and while a small four-piece band backed the “He’s a Rebel” singer for that rendition, the size of the performances have increased throughout the years, with 2014’s version of the 1963 Christmas favorite one of the largest ensembles yet: Nearly a dozen backup singers, strings, a horn section and Love – still sounding as vibrant as she did in 1986 – all recreating the track’s Wall of Sound production. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer delivers her penultimate verse atop band leader Paul Shaffer’s piano and stays up for the remainder of the segment. The move was triumphant, poignant and strategic: Love would later reveal to the New York Times that she hopped up there to avoid embracing Letterman during the performance, because she was concerned she’d break down in tears; the two just shake hands instead.”
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)