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.