I’ve actually started to hear from people (strangers, even!) who are reading this blog, and I love it — reaching a few compadres-in-arms is why I started writing this in the first place. Thanks, compadres! Rock on!
One compadre wrote asking about what happened after my alarmed email to the sperm bank about a possibly tampered-with donor questionnaire. (For folks in need of refreshment, one donor’s profile showed two answers to the same question, of why he wants to donate sperm. One of his answers was handwritten and the other typed, and I developed a spontaneous conspiracy theory that the sperm bank had typed up the answer and taken a few disturbing editorial liberties in the process.)
Here’s what happened: someone at the bank emailed me saying that both answers came straight from Owen himself.
Thus ended the Donor Owen saga, as quietly as it began. I’m trying to stay away from spending too much more time thinking about the genetics of my ideal dudeself for now.
Instead, I’ve been girding for the holidays. It can be a rough time of year for me. I think about my family a lot; I think about people I love a lot. I get over-sentimental, over-ambitious, over-emotional. Not all of it is bad, but it can be intense. (I know, I know…many a therapist has assured me that this is normal, but it still surprises me, year after year.)
This year Sir Mix and I are spending our first ever Christmas with my family. I haven’t seen some of them in over two years — the longest, by far, that I’ve ever gone without seeing any of my immediate relatives. Most of them did not come to our wedding; some have never met my wife.
Until last week, when I called my grandmother on Thanksgiving, the last time I had heard from her was a year and a half ago, when she responded to our wedding invitation by referring me to a chapter of the Bible. That chapter contains a laundry list of offenses against God, including “unnatural intercourse,” envy, murder, deceit, gossip, “God-hating,” rebellion, foolishness, and ruthlessness. It concludes thus: “…those who practice such things deserve to die — yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.” (She didn’t come to the wedding, believe it or not.)
My grandmother ended the letter by saying that she loves me very much and has always wanted the best for me. I believe her, and I love her too, but seeing her will be a first for me — I’ve never spent time with anyone who has condemned me to hell for marrying the love of my life, let alone someone I know and love. I’m sure I’ll be happy to see my grandmother and I’m sure we won’t talk about that letter or how absurdly hurtful I found it. She clearly doesn’t understand, any more than I really understand what her religion means to her. But it won’t be like it never happened, either.
Sir Mix will meet her and my grandfather on this trip. She’ll meet other family members, some of whom I was once very close to, who became distant (and even hostile) after I came out to them. This is new for both of us, and we’re both nervous about it.
But she’ll also meet some people who have been insistently, amazingly supportive — more so than I would ever have predicted. That’s a huge part of why I’m excited and happy about this trip even as I’m dreading it. It’s that confusing mixture of bone-deep pain and unbreakable love and everything in between that, I guess, is what family is. No one talks about it at Christmas dinner, which is probably a good thing, but I’ll be thinking about it all the same.