While I frolicked in Chicago a month ago, Carrie spoke to Jane, our daughter whose wedding this summer triggered so many emotions, my daughter who a year ago accompanied me to Brokeback Mountain, a daughter who used to pride herself on her gaydar. Carrie spoke to Jane, spoke of my being gay, of the basement where I today live and write, spoke of my marriage gone bad. I had hoped to speak to her myself, to do my own “dirty” work.
Jane is loyal, particularly to her Mom and Jane was not at all pleased. She was not ready to speak to me – a message conveyed by Carrie. I waited a few days, I e-mailed, and I suggested dinner. A week later she responded, we could meet, and meet we did. A wonderful dinner, talk of jobs, talk of life and talk of our family – her fears for her mother, her worries of global abandonment: we spoke and the fears were allayed.
I have already written of this and tonight it is not senility that brings me back here – it is a sense of love and awe. Anna and Bill moved out Friday morning and Friday night as I wandered back from the gay dads group (yes, I will write of that also) there in the driveway was Jane and Jack, arriving for a weekend of home improvements. Jane may not have married for money and truly only looked for love but she also ended up with Mr. Handyman – the real deal.
As I went to the office on Saturday, the basement improvements began – tiling, wall repair, design considerations, new paint colors for my basement den – a family project with Carrie leading the charge. By the time I arrived home, things were falling into place and I joined the fray.
Now a word about Jack: he was raised to be homophobic – small town, homophobic dad, it was all he knew. But this summer he, with great trepidation, attended my nephew’s gay wedding and he came back changed. Amazing what putting a human face on these things will do. His homophobia was forever cured.
So this weekend a daughter who could not even speak to me for a week after hearing the news, a son-in-law who until four months ago would trade anti-gay jokes with his dad, came together and created an incredible living space for me. Yes, they were motivated with a desire to support Carrie, help her in many ways. But still, this was my new space and they spoke – not with words or platitudes, but with their hands and with their hearts.
And for that my heart leaps with a strange combination of pride, humility and most of all gratitude.