We just visited my husband’s grandma for her 80th birthday party. It went really well. We got to catch up with a lot of people we don’t get to see often.
10 years ago I wouldn’t have known how to act around some unwed parents, but now their wedded state seemed irrelevant. More important was that these people were healthy, in healthy relationships, and able to care for themselves and their children. Isn’t that the end goal of a marriage anyways?
I found that these people were so much easier to be around than the other relatives who are very religious. Perhaps I’m feeling like an outsider and just gravitated to the other ‘outsiders’. At one point, I noticed that I hadn’t spent much time with the church-going relatives so I joined their side of the room. (Yes, there was a divide down the middle of the room. Unintentional, I’m sure.)
Behind me, I overheard a conversation between the uncle who is a pastor and the sibling who went to bible school. They were talking about homosexuality.
One of them goes into schools and presents Creationism as a valid alternative to evolutionary theory. He had complained bitterly to me about people not going to church and young people leaving the faith. I’m not sure if family gossip has informed him of our non-churchgoing state or if it was a general complaint.
I didn’t want to hear any more of their views on homosexuality.
The woman beside them got up and left. I started shaking really badly and turned to the cousins beside me. They noticed my distress and we talked about cars very loudly to drown out the voices behind us.
Now, I think back and wonder if I should have said anything. I always spoke up when a cousin of mine would start bashing immigrants or Muslims. It never ended well.
I don’t think an 80th birthday party is the place to feed conflict. But would it have been better if I’d said something like, “I happen to care very much about some of ‘those people’. I would appreciate if you wouldn’t talk about them that way.”
Maybe leaving was the only thing to do.