Monday, April 29, 2013

True family.

I have been dating L for over a year and for a good portion of that time I kept it quiet on my end unless people asked because, while I was separated from my husband our divorce wasn't final yet.  Didn't really want to get grumbled at for dating somebody new while I was still married on top of people finding out the person I was dating was a woman.  Almost a month after the divorce was final I decided that it was time to tell people about L and me.  And while it wasn't a big "Hey folks, I'm gay!" sort of thing, and it was totally impersonal because I did it over Facebook, that was my way of coming out.  The people that saw it reacted in various was but only one actually said something slightly hurtful which she later apologized for.  It went surprisingly smoothly, and everybody I've told since has been at least accepting that I'm happy now even if they don't understand how I can love somebody of my same sex and many people have been downright happy for me and super supportive.

Why am I telling all of this so many months after the fact you're wondering.  Well, because a little over a week ago I found out that not everybody was as accepting as I thought.  It turns out that some of my family members on my mom's side (her youngest brother and his oldest son) had made it very clear that if there was any chance of me bringing L to any of our family holidays or camping trips that they would not be going.  Nor would they be keeping in contact with me anymore.  Plus, they had convinced my up-til-then-neutral uncle to do the same.  My mom's sister was already in what I call "love the sinner, not the sin mode" because her granddaughter is also gay and she has had to deal with it already for quite a few years.  And while I don't think she's likely to follow in their brothers' footsteps, she's not standing up to them either.  I didn't find this out from the family members who were cutting me out of the family, I found all of this out from my two cousins who came to visit last week.  During casual family gossip as they talked with my mom.  Fantastic.

Cue fairly emotional breakdown.  I held it together until they left, I even managed to hold it together until after the kids went to bed and almost until L and I went to bed.  I was already missing my dad thanks to L's dad's visit the week prior, but with this news that the uncle who had been a father figure to me had basically disowned me, I really needed my dad.  I sent him a message on Facebook that night (at some ungodly hour like 3am) and then the next day gave him a call.  I told him everything that I'd found out and then I broke down crying and begged to know if he hated me too (which he assured me that he certainly didn't).  Somehow the man survived my meltdown, he has never been good at dealing with me when I'm crying, and we had a good talk after that.  He told me all the things that L had already told me (how it was my mom's family's loss to cut us out of the family), he told me that he still loved me, and he told me that I should talk to my (step)sister C since she has been out for years.  I confessed I was scared to contact her out of the blue for something so serious when I've barely kept in touch for random everyday stuff over the years.  Its a family failing on my dad's side, we're all awful at keeping in touch.

When I had called my dad, we were actually on the ferry down to Seattle to visit with L's cousin A (I took a sanity day from school so we took a roadtrip to visit with family that loves us to try and get my mind off things).  We let the kids play in her back yard and garden, did a bit of gardening ourselves, and just generally relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.  It was what I needed and it helped keep me out of too bad a funk for most of that day and night.  The next day though, I started to feel pretty awful again and L and I had a pretty serious talk about moving closer to my dad and his family.  I mentioned Colorado where my friends B and M live and that B had offered many times to let us crash at her house until we could find a place of our own.  L was instantly sold and we started looking into that city.  I found two colleges in that one city that would work with what I need to do for my nursing degree.  I found out that preschools are free.  My kids will have 4 automatic playmates (two that they used to have before M and her family moved there). Jobs are pretty readily available for L and cost of living is pretty cheap.  And best of all, its only 4.5 hours north of where most of my dad's family lives.  All good signs we should move there if you ask me.

This town seemed amazing but the family thing was still bothering me so, despite my nerves, I sent a message to my sister C.  The message basically told her that I was having a rough time dealing with how my mom's family was reacting to my relationship with L (and the fact that we are raising my two kids together).  She isn't on Facebook much but I had forgotten to ask my dad for her number so it was the best I could do.  It took her until yesterday, a week from finding out I'd been disowned, until she got back to me.  The hour long talk I had with her was the best possible medicine.  I already pretty much had my feelings over the family issues under control but having my big sister excited about us moving so close so she could meet L and the kids just totally made me realize that everything that L and Dad had already said was true.  I don't need those people in my life if they don't want me to be in theirs.  I have family that does love and accept me just the way I am.  Maybe my mom's family will come around someday, but even if they don't it doesn't matter anymore.  Its still going to hurt for a while I'm sure, but ultimately that hurt doesn't stand a chance when compared to how happy I felt hearing my sister so excited to get to have a relationship with C & R.

Last I checked, true family are the people who want you in their lives and love you no matter what.  Sometimes they're related to you by blood, sometimes they're not, and sometimes they're just really good friends.  Its time to surround myself and my happy little family with those people and just move on.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stuck... Or maybe not?

For the past few years I have been doing my darndest to get a good education that will actually be useful in a career.  If you've been reading for any length of time you know I finished my LPN certificate and got my license last year.  Unfortunately the job market around here for baby LPNs fresh out of school is pretty awful.  So, instead of stressing over it too much (trust me, there is stress) that I can't get a job, I've just been finishing up all the requirements for the RN program at my local campus.  I will finally be done in June and will be able to get my name on the waiting list, hooray!  Or at least it should be hooray if I hadn't heard some news today that has me feeling both relieved and frustrated.

Before I can explain the news, first a little background on how the way the RN programs run on my campus.  They do one single part-time (7 quarters) program that's starts in the fall every two years and sometimes, if they get an extra grant, they'll run a full-time program (4 quarters) starting during one of the winter quarters that the part time program is running.  Complicated and messy, but so far it has worked for people.

Now, the news I got today from one of my fellow RN pre-req students is that even if we get on the waitlist at the end of this quarter there are no available slots for the 2014 part-time program.  If by some luck they get the extra grant they will start the full time program this coming January (nine months sooner than the part time program) which will hopefully free up spaces for the part-time program.  But at the moment its not looking promising.  So what does this mean for me?  If I want to continue going to my school for nursing, as soon as I am done at the end of this quarter I will very likely have over 3 years of waiting.  Damn.  If I wait for a spot for me to open up at my current school it means I will be stuck in the same town for at least the next 5.5 years as I waited for the next opening and then actually went through the program.

So you remember my comment about the job market being awful for new LPNs here?  Well because I've been holding out for this particular program I have only really been looking locally.  But if I give up on waiting for this program it opens up a world of possibilities for employment and education locations.  I would probably still stay in this state, mostly to cut down on visitation drama with C & R's dad but also because both L and I have family here.  If I could find a job and/or an RN program out of state though maybe that'd be a better fit. 

Not only would a potential move help with getting us financially stable and getting me finished with my education (for now), but it would also give a bit of distance between me and the ex which I really think would be helpful for both me personally and my relationship with L.  I'm sure it'd be awful for him, and I know for a fact he'd fight for a parenting plan I wouldn't be okay with.  I also think it would be good for the kids in the long run.  I don't want to take them away from their dad, but I really do think that living in primarily in one house with visits to the other, instead of equally in two and being constantly jostled and never able to settle properly into a routine, would be best.  C especially would benefit from more stability.  He doesn't handle uncertainty and constant change well and is actually (at 4.5 years old) now seeing a counselor for SAD (situational adjustment disorder). 

In a way, what should have been disappointing news about the program I've had my heart set on for the past three years is turning out to maybe be a bit of a blessing in disguise.  I don't feel restricted to this area because of school anymore.  Sure we've got a home here and family and friends, but if we can do better for our little family elsewhere wouldn't it maybe be worth it?  It really is nice not feeling as stuck anymore.