Today I met my boyfriend’s family for the first time. Beforehand, I was nervous. Not just because it’s an important step in any relationship but perhaps because I thought, on some level, that they wouldn’t approve of me being with him. That no matter how much I wanted to fit in, I’d be on the outside. That they’d smile and accept it but that, deep down, they’d always wanted him to be normal and that my intrusion was just another reminder that things hadn’t worked out as they hoped.
For how could any family even deny that thought? To want their children to have it easy, to be able to avoid the upset and the anxiety of having to confront the feelings of being so undeniably different. For all the love in my life and all the wonderful people around me, you still get those chilling moments now and again when a total stranger decides to single you out as not belonging, undeserving of acceptance. I’ve seen that kind of cultural rejection happen so many times before to people a lot less different than me. Part of me felt like a fraud for even hoping for their implicit blessing of our relationship.
But, in the end, it wasn’t like that. I felt welcome and accepted by these new people. (Especially Amber, the happiest dog in the world, who didn’t leave my side for the entire visit, a fuzzy shadow perpetually demanding tummy rubs.)
When I finally got home, my phone lit up with a text from Adam. ‘My little niece was just on the phone with my brother and asked, “Uncle Adam has a boyfriend! Who’s your boyfriend?”‘
And I feel like the love in my life has grown a little bit more.