Last weekend was fantastic… scratch that make it double fantastic.
As a tradition, my family generally celebrates multiple birthdays at one time (so we avoid having more than one party a month). This last weekend we celebrated my father’s 66th birthday, my sister in-law, and both my little sister’s kids, the nephew and niece.
Jello has been stressed about this party. He hasn’t seen most of my family since he came a few months ago. To make it worse my family are a pack of feral dogs. I grew up with bikers and you could never tell if things would go smoothly, someone would freak out and throw the table over, if cops will be called, and as a child we generally had a tradition of my dad getting drunk and tossing the Christmas tree out the window (ex Vietnam vet, biker, and always in trouble with the law always resulted in a very memorable childhood). However, no matter how “eccentric” my upbringing, our family is incredibly close.
Now, my family has been sober since Christmas, things have been going great and I had a lot of hopes. Jello, understandably, did not. His family is pretty horrific, they would never have accepted him (fortunately he had split off from his family years ago). We arrived at the house, provided the cake and got to hanging out with my family.
The first few minutes Jello was tense, but within twenty minutes my family were going out of their way to use the pronoun he. They would forget occasionally but they have known him as my wife and their daughter in-law for 22 years, I am surprised and pleased with how hard they were trying. So was he.
My brother joked with him about shaving, and treated Jello just like he treated me. None of the kids reacted badly or strangely to having the adults refer to Jello as my husband. My dad and mom joked with him, and treated him just like they treated him before. There was absolutely no freeze, no hesitation and they repeatedly told Jello they loved him.
The biggest way we could tell he was accepted was they were just as brusque and joking as they are to everyone else. You know you are loved in my family if they are picking on you. When we got out of the apartment after a fun birthday party I noticed Jello was crying and I couldn’t figure out why. My first thought was I had done something wrong.
Jello then made it clear to me they were happy tears. He had not expected to be accepted so easily. He knew my family would accept over time (they sometimes react in a weird gut level, but always turn it around and accept people for almost anything). Even I had thought it was possible that they may have to warm up to the idea. After talking for a while Jello made it clear that he was just caught off guard that they didn’t even blink when he came out. They accepted him, loved him and would do anything for him.
It was a great birthday party, and that made the weekend great.