We have been letting our news trickle out all over the place this week. We told our friend and mentor from our old university, and she plans to tell our whole former department at a meeting today (with our permission, of course). It is nice to have people know, and yet we’re still a little uncomfortable with sharing this secret we’ve held so close to us.
There are a few people close to us whom we have yet to tell: my grandparents. On my step-dad’s side, we have his parents who know J and I are a couple and despite their right-wing leanings are very sweet and loving toward us. They seem to understand our relationship just fine, so telling them won’t be overly difficult.
The difficult one is going to be my maternal grandmother. She is 87. Now, Grandma is very accepting. She’s a life-long liberal who grew up on dairy farms in Colorado. I have always been very close to her, in part because I am the granddaughter most like her and in part because I grew up in a house on her property, just a two-minute walk away. She has always understood me, but she hasn’t ever quite understood the nature of my relationship with J. She doesn’t understand gayness. That is not to say she hasn’t welcomed my wife into the family with open arms. She calls her a granddaughter, and really does love her, but I’m not officially out to her. I’ve never actually had a conversation with her about it. I have been open in my affection toward J at family functions, and my grandmother always asks where she is when I come to visit on my own, so she does see us as a pair. I just think she sees us in that old west, two women living together, “companion” sort of light.
At my brother’s wedding, my cousin (also a lesbian) informed me that she came out to my grandmother. She had been struggling for years in much the same way I had, knowing it would be difficult for my grandmother to even comprehend, and it turns out that it was. My grandmother initially thought, when my cousin told her, that this meant she wanted to be a man. This was clearly not the case, but this is what she understood gayness to be based on media. Finally, as my cousin was discussing wanting to marry her partner because she had fallen in love with her soul, her heart–not her gender–my grandmother started to get it. And then she asked, “So do T and J want to get married too?” My cousin made this click for her. She finally is growing to understand.
But now I have to tell her about the pregnancy, and I’m not sure how that is going to go. She doesn’t hear well, so I’m going to write her a letter (we tend to write to one another on occasion anyway). I don’t want to confuse her, and I don’t want her to worry that I’m some sort of floozy, but I do want her to know about her next great-grandchild and that J and I will be raising this child together. I think in some ways I’m working myself up about this more than I need to, but this is going to be a little challenging to say the least. I’ll be writing and sending the letter this weekend. I plan to tell her I had the help of a doctor, even though I didn’t. I just think it would be easier to understand than telling her that we ordered sperm off of the internet and J inseminated me. I think she would read that about as easily as a foreign language. Honestly, this is going to be one of the greater writing challenges of my life. I welcome it, just as I know she will welcome this child, but right now I’m feeling just a little timid.