T has a large family. He has 3 brothers (pictured above) and 2 sisters that live nearby. He has 2 other sisters in California. In addition to his siblings and parents, there is a host of nieces & nephews and some of them have families. Saturday night there was a birthday party for one of his older nieces (she is 30) and I got invited. It was on my calendar for months and was booked at a restaurant I had never heard of.
I was late arriving at T's house and I found his family had already left. He was waiting for me (with some irritation) when I got to his house and we left in his car. When we got there, I was surprised how swanky it was. It was way more formal than I thought it would be. We went down stairs to the private party room. It was kind of cool, it was actually part of the wine cellar, or at least it supposed to look that way.
T and I sat next to each other at dinner which lasted several courses and a few hours. We chatted with his niece (who was the birthday girl) and her husband (who is Caucasian) most of the time since they were sitting across from us. There were several things about the evening were important to me.
The first, I was there at all. His whole family was there including his mother's sister, visiting from from Texas. His mother has not always been comfortable with T having a boyfriend. Three years ago, she would not have wanted me to be around at a family function so that her sister would not ask any uncomfortable questions. I did not detect any discomfort from her or anyone else.
T's niece and her husband were paying for this very fancy shin-dig. While they are both working, I know they are not making a lot of money. It was a lot for them, but they seemed happy to do it. During the conversation, they talked about setting up a future, but smaller family only event. When adding up the people would come they included me in that count.
Another thing that was nice about the evening was, for a while, I was able to forget about my other stresses and just relax with the man I love.
When dinner was over, T drove me back to his house, where my car was parked. I was pretty tired so I left to go home.
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
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