Thursday, December 10, 2009

So This Is Christmas?

My parents arrive in Orlando in just three hours. I'm sitting here in my apartment doing last minute cleaning and preparing. They haven't been here in a year and a half and I've only seen them once in that year and a half. I saw them in September when Dustin and I flew to Houston (for more on that see my post entitled "I Don't Wanna Be a Cowboy"). But it's always exciting to have them visit me in my natural habitat and their visits always highlight that ever changing relationship I have with my parents. 

It is perhaps their visits that most remind me that I'm older and grown up. At 27, I have a very different life than my parents have or had. Obviously, I'm gay and that does make a difference, but also my relationship with Dustin is radically different than the relationship they have, my friends are different, and my daily activities are rather different than that of my parents (drinking, drag queens, dancing, and sex toys). What is fun about them visiting here is that they get a glimpse of that life that sometimes feels very disconnected from them. 

Growing up my family was very, very close. We all lived close together and we had family gatherings often. We ate dinners together and were always there on holidays. In the last four and a half years everything has changed. I moved to Florida and my older sister moved to Texas. In these four or so years the rest of my family have all moved to Texas and I've remained here in Florida. It is around this time of the year (Christmas) that I'm reminded of how much our lives have changed. I won't see my family on Christmas this year, and  I didn't see them last year either. My parents visit for the next few days will be my only Christmas celebration with them. 

These are the things that make me feel grown up. I no longer have that overwhelming excitement for Christmas and all of the traditions from my childhood are over. Last year was the first Christmas I ever spent with just Dustin and it was a great day, but very different from every year before that. When you are kid it's hard to imagine a time when Christmas won't be the most amazing time of the year. Now as an adult I can see the stress it can cause and the loneliness. I'm lucky to have Dustin and we have created our own bond and family right here in this apartment. 

I've also come to cherish the moments you get to spend with family and have realized that days don't really matter. What does it matter if I have a great time with my parents on December 10th and not on December 25th? You have to take the times you can get. 

Here in Orlando, I've found a comfortable community to be a part of and while no one here is my blood relative I feel very much at home. I'm looking forward to the next five days with my parents and showing them Christmas Orlando style.

-Stephen (War Is Over)


  1. I totally agree with the idea of cherishing the time you can get with people and not letting silly dates get in the way. I won't be with my boyfriend on Christmas but instead a few days later on Dec. 28, and though it does make me a little sad that I won't be able to celebrate family traditions and have a Christmas dinner with him, I honestly don't care what day it is as long as I see him.

    Love your work.

  2. These blogs leave me wanting a Stephen S. Mills memoir. Have you read "Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy" ? - you could totally do that.

  3. Bryan,

    I haven't read that yet, but I have heard of it. I haven't ruled out the possibility of a memoir. Other than poetry, I am most interested in writing creative non-fiction and have written a few essays, so maybe some day your want will be filled.