Tonight I had one of those moments when you just stop you in your tracks and realize how great life is for you.....ever had a moment like that?, I bet you have. My moment happened tonight while we were decorating the tree at Patrick's parents home, which right next door to ours. We moved Patrick's family into their house in December 2000, that year they only had a really small tree that Patrick already had, but starting in 2001, we have always had large trees that sit right in front of the big window in their living room. Each year it has been my job to put the lights on the tree and most times Patrick would help me decorate it. When we first started with the big trees the niece and nephew were 2 and 5 years old and they could only sit and watch us decorate the tree, but this year,I taught the nephew how to put the lights on the tree, and I think I may have lost my yearly job of light hanging!! He loved doing it and really did a good job. The niece is more of an ornament hanger, and she really got into it this year.
It was during this time that I was standing back and watching the Nephew having a really good time putting the lights on the tree that I had my moment....all the sudden it hit me what a very lucky man I am to be apart of these kids lives and have them be such an important part of mine. As most of you know, in my 20s I was married and we had two children, Daniel and Kelly, both of which are now in their early 30s. It has been 25 years since my divorce and throughout all of those years I have always tried to be apart of my kids lives,but a couple of years ago they decided they no longer wanted me to be part of their lives and I have not heard from either of them since. The did not actually tell me that, but through a series of events it was pretty clear to me, so I have respected their wishes and have just gone on with my life. I am sure part of it is that I am Gay,even though it has never been mentioned or discussed. I will not sit here and tell you that it was not painful, it was very painful, but when things like that happen in life, all you can do is go on with your life and let yourself heal, which is exactly what I have tried to do.
But tonight, it was a great feeling to realize what a great family I am apart of now, and how loved I am by these kids. When Patrick and I met, the Nephew was 5 and the Niece was 2, now they are 14 (almost 15) and 12, and as far as they are concerned, I am just Uncle Jaymes. Looking back over the last 9,almost 10 years that Patrick and I have been together, the kids have always been an important part of our lives. If you would have seen us out together over the years, you would probably thought they were our kids, some people have asked us that. We have taken them so many places with us, we have been Santa Clause for them all these years, been to all their school functions and I have even sat down with the Nephew and have, "The Talk", even though he got really embarrassed and pretty much knew all about it anyway. We have worked on all their school projects together and tutored them with their homework assignments when they are having problems.The Nephew loves to go to the beach with me or hiking.
One thing the kids and I have done for many years now is have "Library Night". I made sure they both had their own library cards when they were very young and they both love to read now, I am proud. It is fun for me when I am out with them somewhere and I get to meet some of their friends I have not met yet, when they introduce me as their Uncle Jaymes,I always get really funny looks from their friends since the kids are Chinese and I am very White!! But the Niece and Nephew don't seem to notice that. Recently when the Niece turned 12, she had several of her school friends over for a little party. When I came home several of her little girl friends came runny up saying "Uncle Jaymes is here" and gave me big hugs. We are sure they know Patrick and I are together, but it has never come up, and they just seem to accept it as being a normal thing. When Prop 8 was on the ballot last year, the Nephew shocked me at dinner one night by discussing with me why he thought Prop 8 was wrong and why he thought it was wrong for anyone to have their marriage voted on. Yes I was pretty speechless during the conversation.
Yes, it is funny how life turns out sometimes. Even though I don't have the
opportunity of being apart of my kids lives, I am very important to two other kids who I could not love any more even if they were my kids. And that is a pretty awesome thing!!