The family: We’re an odd bunch

5 Sep

I was an only child.  I mean, really really an only child.  I was my parents’ only child, and my only uncle and my only aunt both had no children (well, my aunt did have a child, but she only lived for one day).

I had friends in Michigan, of course, but no one I really considered a brother or sister.

That all changed when I moved to Georgia.


(first row) My boyfriend of seven years, Jace; my sisters Alayha, Tainn, Nikki and Michelle; my brother James; (second row) me; my brother Brandon; (third row) my sisters Susie and Angelyn; my brother Damien; Jace and me

Jace has an older sister, Susie, (who is engaged to be married later this month to her girlfriend of 15 years), a younger brother, David, and of course, two loving parents.

Susie and Angelyn, being the other gay ones in the family, have always been very close to Jace and to me.  In fact, as the two longest “outsiders” to the Gordon family, Angelyn has become one of my very best friends.  Later this month, I will walk Angelyn down the aisle at her wedding and serve as her man of honor.  I also now work with both Susie and Angelyn at Academy Sports+Outdoors here in Athens.  Together with Susie and Angelyn, we’ve traveled to Atlanta and, just this past July, to Nashville to visit my aunt.  They are always quick to stand up for Jace and I in times of trial, and among the first to celebrate the times of celebration with us.

I lived with Jace’s brother David the first 2 1/2 years I lived in Athens.  I’m not sure what it is but we haven’t been as close to David, but I would still do anything I could for him, and I’m proud to have him in my family.

Outside of the obvious blood connections, though, I’ve added other members to my family over my time here.

The largest of these is headed by my friend Michelle.  Michelle is a beautiful 42-year divorcee who has three children, Nikki and Alayha, who now live in Canada with their father, and Tainn, who lives in Athens with her mom.

Michelle is an amazing, amazing woman who, despite being faced with enormous amounts of adversity, is one of the most-levelheaded and fair members of our greater family.

Nikki is a relatively young adult (she’ll turn 19 in November), but she’s working really hard and learning more and more about herself as she prepares to chase her dreams.

Alayha and I have always had a very deep kinship, and I miss her dearly.  She’s more amazing than she gives herself credit for, and others who know her would bear me out on this.  Also, Alayha gives amazing hugs.

Tainn is the oldest 10-year-old you’ll ever meet.  She, like me at that age, is more comfortable around adults than kids.  She chose, on her own, to leave traditional school behind this year, and is participating in the Georgia Cyber Academy program.  I await the day when the child is legitimately smarter than I am.

Beyond Michelle’s family, there are a few other characters worth mentioning.

There’s Brandon, a coworker at Kroger, who has become a very close friend and a trusted ally against life’s difficulties.  He’s had some difficulties of his own, but I hope I’ve been able to help him as much as I can.  Brandon gives amazing hugs, too.  You should try one!

Then there’s James.  James was introduced to us as a friend of Brandon’s, and has quickly become entrenched in our family.  He’s fiercely loyal, willing to help as much as possible, and has been another ally against Brandon’s struggles.  James also happens to be transgendered.

Last, but definitely not least, is Damien.  Damien is Nikki’s ex-boyfriend.  Back in 2010, when they were dating, I took them to homecoming.  Since then I’ve gone to the Christmas parade with Damien two of the past three years.  When Nikki and Alayha came to visit their mom in July, Damien somewhat took up residence in our living room, and eventually has continued on, eventually asking Jace and I if he could actually stay here on a semi-permanent basis.  He really is an amazing guy, and a complete mold-breaker for what you’d think of a straight guy.  He gives amazing hugs, wears his emotions on his sleeve, and probably makes every other person around him feel like I do most of the time — like they’re the most important person in the world to him.

So that’s the family.  And we’re quite the interesting bunch.  But I wouldn’t trade a single one of these people for anyone else.

To the folks discussed here, I really do love you all, and I couldn’t be happier that you’re all in my life.


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