This weekend I spent a lot of time with my family. Some of them came down to relax, and others because these vacation homes are the easiest way to get everyone together. Having family around is both awesome and stressful for me. I love my family and would do anything in the world for them. I’ve listened to them laugh and even caused that laughter on several occasions. I’ve given my shoulder for them to cry on and let them lean on my not so strong body for support.
Their happiness means everything to me, even at the expense of my own. One night last weekend, I was watching my cousins all splashing in the pool. I stood at the glassed doors to the lanai and peered at them. The closed sliding door made the sounds of happiness somewhat inaudible, but I could still hear the peals of laughter. I watched as my cousin’s new boyfriend stared at our close knit family. My cousin holding his hand so that he wouldn’t feel so left out. She gave him reassurance that he belonged there.
I felt a bit of pain knowing that I would never be able to bring my boyfriend to this type of get-together, to watch the festivities that my family often held. He would never know the anxiousness of meeting everyone for the first time. He would never get to hear them tell stories about me as a child, teenager or college student. He would never feel the eyes staring at him as he made his way around our carefully set up buffet tables. He would never be pulled aside by any one family member to have the dirt on me dished in quiet whispers meant only to help him come to the conclusion that he picked the right person to fall in love with.
I know from several statements made about another family friend who has outed themselves that my own outing will not be well received. And it hurts me to know that I won’t ever get to let them see this side of me. This side of me that I’m slowly learning to accept. A side of me that has helped me to learn about accepting others for who they are and who they’ve become. This side of me that has drawn strength from some of the obstacles I have faced and will face in the future.
I sat in silence watching my cousins splash each other and laugh. One of them caught sight of me standing in the doorway and motioned for me to join them. I smiled and shook my head, motioning back that I was fine. Through the glass door, I could see their happiness. But it was this door that kept them from seeing my own.