So I have been rather quiet on this blog lately. In part, I have really not had much to say. The situation with my family had not changed in the past month–week after week I held my breath but no questions about the wedding every came about. And we were still tying up loose ends with the venues, so there wasn’t much to report there. And frankly, I was getting tired of planning the wedding and talking about the wedding. It seemed for a while that every weekend activity was centered around the wedding, every conversation was about the wedding, and every time I saw friends (including some that I see on a weekly basis), they asked about the wedding. So I decided to take a break from it all and enjoy some downtime from the planning and from the blog.
But a lot has happened in the month since I last wrote in this blog. We now have all four venues finally nailed down. Town hall, drinks reception, lunch, and then the pub. So now that the macro-level arrangements have been taken care of, and the dates are set, it is only the details that remain to be filled out–and we still have 5 months to do so. (Yes, I know those 5 months sound like a lot, but they will pass really quickly!)
But most importantly, my brother just informed us that he is coming to the wedding! It will be his first visit to London and I am excited to be able to see him on this side of the pond. Unfortunately summertime school schedules and challenges surrounding food allergies and travel for my youngest nephew means that my sister-in-law and two nephews will not be able to come, but I am sure they will be here in spirit.
And it was my brother’s decision to come to the wedding that has had the further consequence of causing my mom to finally mention The Elephant In The Room during my recent conversation with her. This was a huge relief for me, as I was going crazy waiting and was going to just bring it up myself (and thereby breaking the promise I made to myself to wait it out). He had just informed her the previous weekend that he was going to be making the trip–and that in turn was the catalyst that finally thawed the ice.
You see, it turns out that the wedding had become compartmentalized for various reasons. Compartmentalization is something that I also do very well (and I have an amazing capacity for that, according to my old therapist)–but I cannot even begin to fathom the full complexity of what goes through my mother’s mind. I had thought her reticence was due to a sense of shame and her not wanting to acknowledge something publicly that she perceived as something to be hidden away. But I now think that a major part of that reticence was my mom’s reluctance to acknowledge that I’ve grown up and am no longer her baby.
Marriage has that effect on people–it’s one of life’s milestones that most people experience and can relate to. Along with moving out of the house, going to uni, getting one’s first full-time job, and having one’s first child–getting married is one of the major ways that people level-up. And yes, in the conversation, she did refer to the event as a wedding (in Chinese, of course)–and there might not even be any alternative names for it (I wouldn’t even know where to start with defining “civil partnership” in Chinese). But our upcoming wedding has had a most profound effect on my family. It tells them that my relationship with Chris is real, and is lasting, permanent, and lifechanging. Interestingly, my last relationship, which lasted 14 years and was a marriage for all intents and purposes, never quite had this level of gravitas in my family’s eyes, perhaps in part because we never formally got hitched. (And this is another reason why having a dual system of “civil partnerships” and “marriages” is inherently un-equal). Being in a committed same-sex relationship is one thing–but being married is another thing altogether.
I’m still thinking about the details of my conversation with my mom, and I may write about it later. But I do need to thank my brother for being the catalyst that broke the ice, and in advance, for coming to the wedding. And my new promise to myself is to try to include my folks in the wedding discussions as much as possible, now that the impasse has been passed. In fact, they may even get sick of how much I will talk to them about the wedding. 8)