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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

To The Mother-in-law I May Never Meet

A little background:

First, the video above is the song I danced with my mother to on my wedding day to my ex-wife. The memory is just that, it is what I once hoped my mom felt, but her actions (or lack thereof) since I have come out are speaking louder that the feelings in this song. I hope to show my sons that the sentiments of this song ring true to them from me.

2nd, as the day gets closer that Endhi and I will hopefully finally under the same roof, I think more and more about the sacrifice we are making. There will be 800+ miles between my sons and I and there will be 8000+ miles between he and his family. He is a little camera shy and that carries over to him taking pictures of his family. Traveling back and forth to Indonesia won't be simple until we get some immigration things handled. I've talked to him about the importance of having pictures of his family and what it will mean to him when he is far away from them. In the hopes that we get the chance to be dads together, I know it will also mean a lot to our kids.

His family knows nothing of his sexual orientation or about me. I wish that were different, but until the world changes further there will still be many like us that will face having hidden families and loved ones.

We joke about him saying "hi" to his mom for me. Maybe one day I will do that in person, but maybe not. 

So here is what I wish I could tell her:

To The Mother Of The Man I Love:

You don't know me and probably have not even heard about me, at least not the complete "me." Oceans separate us, but sadly culture and society keep us further apart. I am a bigger part of your life than you may ever know. You may never want to know either. I am your son's friend, partner, confidant, and beau. I am the person he sneaks out to the porch to Skype with, the one he is texting, the one he loves. That last one is still sometimes unbelievable to me "he loves me." I am truly a lucky man.

Your son and I aren't so different in many ways. We may have grown up calling "God" by a different name. We may have worn different clothes styles, liked different food, played different sports, and had different dreams. There may be a whole list of differences. Despite those differences, we share a common bond. You see we have both lived most of our lives hiding; fearing those we loved would not love us back if they only knew...if they only knew that deep, dark secret we've tried to cover up with so many layers. While each of us had a god by a different name, the same unfortunate beliefs were taught to us starting at the youngest of ages. We were taught we were somehow unclean, marked by the devil, mentally perverted, soul-less, and so much more. No, we weren't told this every day, but just enough that we believed and soon began telling this to ourselves every day, every minute. We would tell ourselves until we were convinced the dream of loving who we wanted would never be real.

There is a hope that you don't hold such a belief. There is a hope that you see your son as I do. I see a man that has come through so much adversity. More adversity than you will know. I see a man that has sacrificed his time, energy, health and even his very life to care for and protect his family; to provide food, shelter, and more to those he loves. When he and I finally met in his hometown a year ago (something you undoubtedly knew nothing about) we talked of living together, of starting our life together. There was one condition, one obligation, one gift he felt he must give before being together would be an option. That one condition wasn't to have a nice car, go to a good college, wear expensive watches or jewelry. The condition he gave had nothing to do with him, but had everything to do with the good man he is. He would not leave his hometown until he had provided his parents with a home of their very own. I felt depths of emotions on that trip I never knew existed. Seeing the kindness, devotion, and concern as he told me this condition only made me love him more. Your son truly cares for you, your husband, and your family. I hope you realize that. I have assured him that together we would work hard to ensure that he can keep that promise to himself. We will make sure the house you call home stays that way.

I told my family I was gay 5 1/2 years ago. It was scary. I was right to be afraid. 5 1/2 years later they are only family in name, they have otherwise distanced themselves from me. For my protection and emotional health I have let that distance grow. There is a few texts a year from my own mother saying she loves me. Other than my birthday, I know I am merely on a text list with the rest of my family seeing the same message. It is hard to accept it as real love when it is only in the form of a text. I dreamed one day that I would find a man that loved me. I also hoped I might be lucky enough to find a man who's family would accept us and celebrate our love with us. Unfortunately that second wish may never be a reality, regardless I love him and want to spend the rest of my days with him.

I say "may never be a reality" because we don't really know. Your son isn't exactly sure how you would react. He isn't sure that he would be accepted for who he is. He isn't sure whether your love for him would stronger than the religion you have taught him. For him it isn't clear if he would still be invited to family parties. It isn't known whether he would be allowed to have the conversations with his dad that he loves or help at the restaurant. He isn't sure his uncles would let him hang out with them anymore. He adores his father and you.

He tells you about some job opportunity in the US or Mexico because he fears telling you the truth about the happiness and love he has found. I wish I could say he was living in too much fear and that he should tell you. After seeing what my family has done in unexpectedly in disappearing from my life, I can't assure him that he would experience anything differently. I do see the amazing man you raised. I could only hope that he represents who you are. I could only hope that you would embrace your son and who he is despite your cultural beliefs. I wish I could meet the people that have been an integral part of his life since his birth. I wish I could thank you in person for bringing this beautiful soul into this world. I would cherish the chance to laugh, cry, and celebrate life with your family.

The day may never come that you know my name or my gender. You will most likely hear pieces of your son's life after he leaves his hometown, but you may never see the whole picture. You may never read this letter. I hope you will someday.

Your son brightens my every day. The calm strength I feel from him brings me a peace I can't explain. His smile makes even the toughest day better. The way his eyes light up when he laughs make my heart melt. Tears form when I see him run his finger over the screen of his phone as we Skype just hoping he could touch me. I look forward to the day I can hold him.

I hope one day you will be able to hear about your sons life in its entirety. I wish you will be able to join us in celebrating our life together. Whether your son and I raise my sons together or we are fortunate to add more to our family I would love to share that life with you.

His decision to start a life with me hasn't been simple. We have been through a lot trying to close the gap of 8000 miles between us. We are both sacrificing to be together. He didn't make this choice without thought. As much as he cares for and loves you, he deserves happiness too. I believe you desire happiness for him too. I hope you will see that this brings him happiness.

I know I may be asking much to have you look past what your culture has told you about gay men and relationships. I ask that you will.

I promise to care for your son. I promise to love him, even in tough times. I promise to fight to keep our love strong. I will be there on days he smiles without cares. I will be there on days of pain or ill health. I promise to treat him as my equal partner. I promise to listen to him. I will cherish the love we have. We will celebrate life together and all it has to offer. I have found a great man and will care for him throughout our days in this life. I am not perfect and there will be times I will need his patience, understanding, and forgiveness. I will work hard to keep those days rare.

I truly feel like the luckiest man. Thank you for caring for him for these last 32 years. I take the chance to care for him for the next 32+ years seriously. I want to make him smile every day. I love your son.

If the day comes that I can meet you I will be grateful for the chance to look you in the eyes and thank you for the man I will grow old with.

I wish you happiness and peace.

With gratitude,

Your Son's Partner

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