I've talked about it before - the difference between the family you're stuck (born) with, and the family you choose. As many of you know by now, Jesse and Rae got the phone call on Tuesday that they'd been selected. After more than two years on the waiting list (and several more of trying on their own), they're adopting a baby boy! This has gotten me thinking again about how little blood can mean, and how strong love is. In this vein, I wanted to tell you about some of the amazing people who are part of my "family." And so I begin the first post in a series highlighting folks who mean the world to me. For regular readers, don't worry. If you're not in the first post, you'll be in future ones. The names are presented in no particular order.
Jesse - We've been best friends since third grade. We grew up together and were attached at the hip. For years we've thought of each other more as brothers. We went to college together, later roomed together, and work together still today. It was GoBots that first brought us together. On weekends, we'd meet at the elementary school and play with the cheap Transformer knock-offs for hours. I've driven him to the hospital (twice), and he was right where I needed him when my mom died. He and Rae have been waiting for a baby since they were married, and I couldn't be happier that he's finally a dad! The best hunting buddy a guy could ever ask for, and someone I admire tremendously.
Scott - Most of my readers already know Scotty, though to some he'll always be "Puppy." We used to travel in VERY different circles in the gay community; I was TOO gay and activisty for him and his friends, and he was too pretty for me to reach out to him. ;) And then he decided to get involved in Spectrum and AIDS Walk. We hit it off instantly, bonding over our common love of wine. All wines. *grin* It feels like we've known each other forever now, though it's only been about 2 years. He's now my personal trainer, and has done more for my self-esteem than I think he realizes. Though most importantly, he's taught me that the changes I've made and things I've accomplished have come from within, not from him. Whether we're dancing in the Denver clubs, spinning poi, drinking wine/martinis/anything in sight, or just watching Project Runway together, we remind each other always - No Day But Today!
Mandy - The Grace to my Will. We met through She Who Shall Not Be Named many moons ago. There were some wild times in college, I tell you. Late night trips to the hot springs in Saratoga. "Fairy Commando" raids to homo up campus. Sugar benders with 80's video games. We've been through (too) many boyfriends, heartbreaks, and crushes. We've made road trips to judge speech meets, spent hours laughing with her mother (affectionately known as "Lady"), and cried on each other's shoulders all night long. The laughter has far outweighed the tears, though, and even when she's far away (Anchorage...Arizona...) we harass each other. I don't even know how many times we've texted each other randomly from a dance floor in Denver or equally debaucherous locale on the Vegas strip.
Jerry - I first met Jerry at Pride in Denver. He saw my UW hat (or was it a shirt?) and came bounding up to me with his salt and pepper hair. "I went to school in Wyoming too!" Then he promptly pulled his pants down to show me the tattoo of Pistol Pete on his ass. We saw each other again at Rendezvous that year. After way too many overly-strong cocktails, we were BFF. I stay at his condo on about half my trips to Denver now, and can't imagine life without Jerry and his partner Chuck. Generosity doesn't begin to describe this total sweetie! Old enough to be my father, but SO young at heart. He was with us on New Year's this year...bopping along at a mini-rave with us. He's blunt, funny, and always willing to party and drink heavily.
Brittany - The multi-colored punk squid. When I met her, she was a spastic, scattered, frightened little thing. Always up for an adventure, often loud, and ever amusing. I've watched her grow into an amazing young woman. She came out and got involved...in a big way. I'll never forget seeing her in a meeting with the Dean of Students and VP for Student Affairs. Terrified out of her mind, she calmly and cooly explained what the "Day of Silence" was all about, and asked for their support. They were quite impressed with the planning (which Squiddy was in charge of, thanks to the closeness to AIDS Walk and the involvement of the other board members in THAT) and said "We're totally behind this. What do you need? Want some money?" She's still loud and spastic, but in a much more controlled, adult way. ;) I can't wait to see what she takes on next.
The Rev - Ah, Linus. Though he'd probably never admit it, he's calmed down so much since I met him. Dinner at Sweet Mel's with Mandy and Abra is where we met. The kilt was a novelty with the girls, and they decided he and I would get along fairly well. After 3 hours of raucous laughter and feeding off of each other's stories and jokes, the girls decided maybe we got along TOO well. Years later I now refer to him as my heterosexual lifemate who coparents with me in shifts. In other words, he's my designated house and puppy sitter. Since neither of us is a spring chicken anymore and we both hang around with a bunch of young whippersnapper college students, we often commiserate about being old. We also share of love of Broadway, all things 80's, and pretty slender things younger than ourselves. Some have called us twins separated at conception. Well, except for the fact that he's straight...in the bedroom. The kitchen is an entirely different story. And then there's his stories. He's got one for all occasions. Even one night back in 1984...
More profiles later...