The title makes the content of this post pretty obvious, but there is a little bit of back story, so bear with me. My boyfriend, MJ, and I have been together for five and a half years, if you don’t count the break that we took for much of 2012. My dad’s family lives in Toronto, and with the exception of my grandparents, they don’t visit us in Rochester. This is because of hurt feelings as a result of various behaviors when my parents separated back in 2001. They got back together in 2002, but the bad taste has remained in everyone’s mouths. Therefore, my mum has no contact with my dad’s sister and brother and their families, and vice versa. Consequently, this weekend was the first time MJ got a chance to meet them.
The reason we drove up to Toronto was to celebrate my aunt’s 50th birthday. I’ve had a bit of a begrudging relationship with my dad’s family because of what my 11-year-old self overhead and understood, or misunderstood, when my parents were separated, but that has improved significantly over the past few years. My grandparents, who have met and love MJ, urged me to bring him along to meet the rest of the family; a party would be the perfect opportunity. As it happened, my great aunt (Grandma’s sister), her son (second cousin), and his younger daughter (third cousin) were all in town, too!
Having grown up away from my extended family (Mum’s family is in Montreal), getting together has always been an occasion. It’s always a special event and a flurry of activity; I’ve forever envied friends whose grandparents pick them up from school, who babysit their little cousins, and who have dinner with aunts and uncles once a week. MJ’s entire family lives here, too, so I’ve spent a good deal of time with them over the years. It was so great to introduce MJ into my family in the same way.
The details of what we did are unimportant and probably quite boring, but the moral of the story is that my family loves MJ and they love him. I am so glad they were all finally introduced because now MJ has faces to put to names and my family knows the man I love. It’s such a basic concept, but took so long to come to life. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t pick my family, but that shouldn’t stop me from having a relationship with them and from bringing important people in my life to meet them. There was a long period of time when I refused to go to Toronto, but thanks to social media, email, and the perseverance of all parties, I do have connections with my extended family, and I am proud of that. I was proud to introduce them to MJ, and proud to introduce MJ to them. Even though we’ve never lived in the same city, my cousins and I are friends and have fun and share gossip, hopes, and dreams. Regardless of what came to pass between them, my parents, aunts, and uncles have always tried to bring all the cousins together. After this weekend, I can certainly say that they have succeeded.
To conclude, my boyfriend knows my family and my family knows my boyfriend, and I am so thrilled and honored to know and love all of them.