Saturday, November 6, 2010

Facebook official

I didn't even know it was an option, but thanks to Kandi we are now "Facebook official" and have changed our "status" to engaged. Officially moved from "in a relationship with ___" to "Engaged to ____". As often happens several folks commented or "Liked" the status update and every one makes us smile and feel that extra bit of excitement and warmth that we're supposed to feel at this time.

Because we aren't your average John and Jane getting hitched, while those "Like's" are appreciated, we also have to steady ourselves for the Un-likes. Of course we expect to get that from individuals of some circles of society who feel that this is somehow "wrong" and those are certainly easy to take. They can have their opinion and we have ours. We have a strong relationship with our church and our patriotism and no criticism from the outside world will change that.

That's not to say that it doesn't hurt a bit when it comes from your family.

My coming out process went something like this.
Me: Mom, I'm dating a girl.
Mom: That's nice. Did I tell you what happened at work the other day?

For Kandi it wasn't quite that simple. I'll always remember having to hide in her room when an old friend of her's dropped by or needing to be extra quiet when she was on the phone with family. We were together about 9 months before she told her mom. And it took almost an extra year before she told the rest of the family. I was "her friend" for quite a while but over the years as they've gotten to know me better I became their daughter, their cousin, their granddaughter their niece - their family. It was a slow process - but one we knew would be worth the wait. For those that are on Facebook I was added to their Family Tree. We were Facebook Official family.

Kandi and I imagined that the engagement excitement would pick up on where we are now, but have found that for some members of our family it's the coming out process all over again. I anticipated that quite a bit of my extended family would fall into the "polite but unaccepting" category when it came to our announcement. My side of the family isn't exceptionally close and in our 10 years together they many have seen Kandi, and me for that matter, only a few times. This distance allows me to not be too upset when those "polite unlike" opinions come, but to be happy when true congratulations are given.

Kandi's family is very close. They have the kind of relationship I'd heard of in movies but didn't really think existed until I met her. Aunts, uncles, cousins - they all talk on the phone at least once a week. They call just to say hello. They call to talk about something they saw on TV. They call to talk about things that happened in their home town - as most of the group still live there in a 15 minute range of each other. And of course, they call to talk about each other. It's awesome.

It's been 4 months since she bought the ring and several weeks since I had it on my finger and only two members of her family have really said congratulations. Some have changed the topic. Several others have shared their conflicted disapproval. This is of course difficult. And unfortunate.

I firmly believe that just as the initial acceptance took some time, so will the acceptance that we are having this ceremony and making this commitment. I believe that God works in amazing ways and will help them to see past fears, insecurities and really unfortunate bible passages that some religions pluck out of a group, hold as unbending and then ignore or explain away all others that were part of the same group as if they didn't mean those quite as much. I believe that the greatest of all things is love and with it one can accomplish amazing things.

But -

We are only doing this once. You can only come to this once. I need that warm and loving light to shine on them in the next 6-8 months to ensure that my sweetie has her whole loving family around her on her special day. It may not be easy, but I have to believe it can happen.

Lots of hope. Lots of prayer. Lots of love.

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