It is Thanksgiving here in the USA.
Thanksgiving should be celebrated simply as a time of thanks for the people we have in life. In my family, it is so hard. When we see each other on Thanksgiving, we are like a room of strangers meeting to share a meal. I don’t really know my brother and sister anymore, and I know their children (and children’s children) even less. We will sit, mostly talking to my parents because they are our common ground. I will see the pity in their eyes when they ask about J, who is staying home because the bipolar demons have her again. I will watch their eyes sweep over S and her partner E as they judge their relationship (of which they know nothing). They will ask questions about them both, which I wouldn’t mind, except my family says things like: “Do you think you made S gay because you let her wear boy’s shirts when she was little?” or “Maybe J will get it together one day and stop being bipolar.”
You see, I am the “weird one”. I am the black sheep with the messed up children. I am also the one who refuses to be embarrassed by my daughter’s “gayness”. I refuse to let the word “bipolar” be a shameful word. Do I wish I could spare my children the pain I know they feel? Yes. I wish S could go through life without feeling the hatred and disgust some people (even family) have for lesbians. I wish J could go through life without the constant internal conflict along with the judgment she sees in the eyes of others, or the rejection she feels time and time again. But I would not, ever, change my children.
So, in a few short hours, I will gather over turkey and trimmings with the people I once lived with. I will be thankful for the bounty of food. I will be thankful that we are together as a family for another year. I will miss having J by my side, but thankful that E will attend the first Thanksgiving gathering beside S as her life partner.