Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Shuffling Priorities

When I was young, about the age of our children, my mother sneezed and her left eye fell out. Fell right onto the carpet.

This was a surprise.

So much so that I can't say it was traumatic as much as it was stunning. I don't even remember being scared as much as being put on pause. I froze there in my parent’s bedroom, in our old home, as my dad grabbed the thing and, after a minute or so, situated it back in its proper place.

At that I was told the story of how, when my mother was in her twenties, she lost her real eye and had it replaced with the convincingly painted ceramic dome that had just come loose. She had and has a congenital eye disease and the only cure for it is a corneal transplant. She had three transplants, and her body rejected all three. After so many repeated rejections she lost the eye entire, and never dared risk the other.

All my life I've known her to struggle with the vision in her remaining eye. She's never been able to drive at night; always has had to wear a uniquely and stiffly fit contact lens, one that has to be retooled about twice a year by one of the few capable in the world. Heck, I owe my existence, or so I'm told, to a hotel room on a trip to a specialist in Texas.

I write all this to emphasize the weight of the fact that we just recently found out her remaining eye is going down hill; she will not be able to drive soon. Surgery is on the table again and will be decided on in a matter of months. On top of that we found out last month my father will be having both knees replaced this fall.

The point is last week I was in my lab and I got an email from Rob. In it he expressed a stark change of heart about moving, due to my parents’ health considerations, even though he wants out of here more than anyone. And I know he's right; I knew it as soon as I read it and choked up right at my desk for his thoughtfulness. That’s why I love him with all my heart; he’s a good man, the person who makes me a better person. Me, well, I get caught up in our home and in politics and research… I’m ashamed to say I didn’t put 2 and 2 together on this one, until I heard it from him. As my mom always tells people, “I’m so thankful my son is gay. I could have had a bitchy daughter-in-law, but instead I got a great son-in-law.” :-)

I know I have not written much about moving lately; family have begun reading here and I didn’t want to worry them until we had a solid plan on what we were doing and all that greatly depended on California’s Supreme Court. However, we have been looking forward to retreat and rest from this LDS-gay battleground, and I have been looking for a job all the while in any jurisdiction that would treat our family with fairness. Now, though, I want to tell them there's no need to worry.

Fact is we can’t move with my parents going through this. We can’t add to the stress with my mom having to choose between these frightening options. They are in no shape to go anywhere unfamiliar for a while and, even if the worst doesn't materialize, they will need our help come fall. They aren’t just my parents; they are our good friends, confidants, the people we trust with our children. They’ve been there for me all my life, from feeding me as an infant, to standing beside me when I came out, to giving us breaks when the twins were keeping us up all hours of the night. We have to, and we want to be there for them now.

I know, I know... I had broken up with Utah, made up a mind to retreat, asked to be held to it, and we were on our way out. But, like any break between long-time lovers, it is going to take more time and less simplicity than could be considered clean. The state has a key to my apartment, keeps driving by, and I seem to have another year added to the lease.

The strange thing is that, just a day before Rob sent me that email, I got a good opportunity here that I was about to pass up. But now I’ll take it. We’ll stick it out here until my parents are on their feet again and the kids are at the end of a school year. At least this new opportunity will make it easier to move later.

I am tired, though, and I worry, perhaps too much, about how living here could affect us in the long run, both legally and physically. Does that ever come across ;-)?

I’ll keep walking on here, but I’m worn from having to step on all the low, pointy tactics. I don’t care to ever hear another local talk radio host bring up, say, Catholic Charities of Boston. I’m tired of debates and panels where the other side should clearly be embarrassed about the display of their discernment and “facts”, and yet hold proudly to them. I’m sick of worrying our children will be hit with that side’s false pity for some handicap that does not exist, or their belief in the “idealness” of their family over that of our boys. I don’t want to hear another church official bemoaning the awful (and false) cost at which some European governments are treating gay-headed families with, of all things, the golden rule. I don’t feel I can stand another bit of sympathy for some silly beauty pageant contestant, in the face of thousands who can’t get their spouse and homemaker on their health insurance. It’s just frustrating that, to so many minds here, “defending marriage” means fighting the best aspects of it, and keeping people from their responsibilities, and from taking care of each other.

Yep, all old issues here, but it’s just bizarre, messed up, right? It's still somewhat of a puzzle, and I don’t want to feel, all my life, in order to protect my home I have to try to understand the hearts that hold such priorities; I don’t want to know anymore how people can do such direct harm to their neighbors with love on their lips. At least they ain’t burning us anymore—I do try to keep in mind it could be a lot worse here and we sure don’t have it bad relative to the average of the world—but I just don’t care to keep looking into that place at any level, and perhaps wish I could even forget some of its lessons about human nature.

Eh, while staying for another trip around the sun is the right thing to do, I’ll have some frustration to deal with, clearly :-); we both will. I’ll just have to try to find a way to better deal with it than I have, especially as Utah’s legislative session approaches again. It’s not going to be an easy year for my family on whole, in several ways, but at least our boys haven’t noticed a thing and being help to family in need is a great way to keep your mind on what matters most.

One last thing, I may not be around the blogs as much for a while. My free time is going to research the mechanisms behind corneal rejection as best as a non-M.D. D. can, and this new opportunity I’m taking will take a good deal of my attention. Nevertheless, thoughts and/or prayers for the best of outcomes, medically, politically, and socially (not to mention geographically), are always welcome.


[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

I'm sorry to hear about your parents' health problems. I actually had a companion who had to get a cornea transplant and super-special contact lenses for both his eyes.

Wyatt said...

Every time I read your blog I feel such warmth. Your ability to fight against adversity and be a loving father and husband speaks volumes for your children’s development. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Moving to CA won’t make the opposition any less, in fact it may prove to be more of an issue, and in the realm your parents, there’s no greater love you can give them than just being there and being present through all of this.

Your life is fantastic to me and I’m so happy that you’re the example and the shining beacon in gay culture and in all families and all types of marriages. I love who you guys are and what you stand for and thank you once again for sharing your so personal but influential and profound journey.

Evan said...

I, too, hope things go well with your parents. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

I definitely feel completely worn out as of late, and I'm in TX. I was browsing my brother and sister-in-law's blog last night and came across an entry concerning the MSNBC video with Maggie and Joe. I kinda got upset with some of the comments and decided to put my two cents in. My brother replied with a long drawn out response and after reading it, I immediately asked myself "Why am I doing this? Why do I still feel the urge to fight over this subject? It's killing me! My comments won't ever change his opinion, and if anything, it's only going to split us further apart..."

I think I have given up. It's all too much for me and I don't like debating with family over this subject.

Mr. Fob said...

It's the Utah Vortex. No one is safe.

Java said...

You have my prayers, Scot, as do your parents.

You have the strength and commitment to do the right thing, both for your parents and your husband and sons. I wish you well, and I hope that, if it is the right thing, you will be able to move when the time is right.

Good luck!

Beck said...

For what it's worth, you have my sincere thoughts and faith and prayers for your mom, for your work, for your family and for your continued stay in this fair state.

Life is always a balancing act of "shuffled priorities". May you continue to be a skillful juggler keeping all the balls in the air while you jog through this detour!

Bravone said...

I admire your ability to put family first, even though it is personally painful. You are a blessing in the lives of your parents. Your kids will see your example and hopefully respond the same to you someday.

Alan said...

You're doing the right thing and I admire you for it.

Scott said...

My thoughts and prayers will be with your parents.

And, selfishly, I'm glad you're staying. We would have missed you terribly. :)

I'm learning to take all of the negativity in stride (water off a duck's back..., I remind myself), but then I'm not as directly impacted by the politics as you are, so I'm sure it's easier for me than for you.

For what it's worth, Sarah and I are here for you 100%. Please don't hesitate to call on us if there's any way we can help with anything--tending the kids, whatever. We'll do whatever we can to make Utah a little more bearable. :)

Sarah said...

Ditto what Scott said. Love you guys!

Guy said...

So sorry to hear of your parents' health challenges and certainly understand your difficult decision and sacrifice for them. Best of luck to all of you with all that and we'll hope to maybe see all of you in our fair state (with your marriage still intact, of course) sometime in the future. And congrats on the new opportunity there in the meantime!

Scot said...

Thank you Craig.

And Wyatt, thank you too.

"Moving to CA won’t make the opposition any less..."Sure, wherever we go there will be such folks. It'd just be nice to live where they didn't matter :-), where it didn't practically affect my family as much and I didn't feel like I have to study why they think they way they do, you know? Some day...

Ah, Evan, after going the rounds, I can sympathize. He seems to blow off the distortions of the person he's admiring in that post the same way he did the the fact that even the research he referenced was non-existent on your blog. Perhaps it is best to just enjoy such relationships for what they can be outside this area.

Mr. Fob
"It's the Utah Vortex. No one is safe."OMG, I just realized, Utah might be the counterpart to the island from Lost. If true, it really could be wosrse; I could be stuck in the 70's in Utah, complete with bell bottoms, disco, and sodomy laws.

Java, thank you, and Beck and Bravone, Scott and Sarah, Guy; it means a lot to have so many well wishes.

"Your kids will see your example and hopefully respond the same to you someday."Hey, yeah, they better! :-)


"And, selfishly, I'm glad you're staying. We would have missed you terribly. :)"Hey, high up on the "reason's not to move" column were definitely the friends we have here. The thing is though, I swear we saw our Utah friends more time in total when we lived by the beach and they'd come to stay with us :-).

And a special thank you to you both for the kind offer. We have a hard time leaving our kids with anyone but the grandparents and I hope you know how much respect I have for your family to say I'd have no worry taking you up on tending if we needed it.

And lastly, thank you Guy.

"Best of luck to all of you with all that and we'll hope to maybe see all of you in our fair state (with your marriage still intact, of course) sometime in the future."Here's to hope, particularly that those justices of yours do the right thing for both our sakes.

MissPetrillo said...

You sweet thing. That line about your mother's eye falling out is fantastic though! It's so very Augusten Burroughs. It's hard to watch ( and hear about ) our parents losing their youth. It sounds like they are in good spirits!

Scot said...

Welcome, MissPetrillo.

"It sounds like they are in good spirits!"

They are, and I hope we can help keep it that way.

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