I’ve written a lot here about my experiences trying to come out to my father’s side of the family, particularly my paternal grandmother. Short version: she doesn’t hear me, and even if she did, she wouldn’t want to talk about it.
That context makes a conversation I had with my maternal grandmother the other night even more lovely and refreshing. I already know she got it that I’m queer — she’d asked me what my “friend” did for a living, but I figured that was good enough. Then two nights ago we were talking about the small family get-together she’s planning. One of my favorite cousins is going to be in town briefly and has a couple of hours free Sunday morning, so we’re all going to my grandmother’s house so we can see her. Yay. And while we were working out the details, out of the blue, my grandmother says to me “You know, Aviva, I don’t know if your girlfriend is in town this weekend, but of course she’s invited.”
I can’t tell you how much I lit up. The moment I got off the phone I called Girlfriend, Esquire; I couldn’t wait to tell her. That step from knowing to accepting and welcoming feels warm and fuzzy and wonderful. I wish Girlfriend, Esq. was going to be in town this weekend (thought of course if she was I’d already have called and announced my intention to bring her). I’m almost upset that we’ll be away queer camping when the family gets together for Rush Hashanah, which is finally on a weekend. But I’ll bring her to something and introduce her around eventually. And it’s lovely that she’ll be actively invited, instead of me informing them she’s coming.
And it gets cuter. My grandmother continued on to tell me that she’s joined a mailing list for discount theater tickets, and ask me if there was anything I wanted to see. She made a point of telling me about The Temperamentals, a new play about the two men who founded the Mattachine Society.”It sounded interesting,” she told me, “I thought of you.” It does sound interesting, but I’m sure it was the gay premise that made her think of me. And, um, aw. I’m not the Mattachine Society’s biggest fan, but right now I am my grandmother’s.