Turtle's Progress

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Drama Person

Today is my dear nephew Jared's 27th birthday. He was born in 1979 six months after my daughter, Meghan, and a year before my daughter, Erin. During their childhood these three cousins had a love-hate relationship. The first time they all spent any time together Meghan was 19 months, Jared 13 months, and Erin a newborn. He and Meghan played some but Jared was not a happy camper -- he wanted his mama and I was not her. He let me know that right away. Through the years until they were in their early teens these three saw each other on a semi-regular basis when we would visit from our Navy assignments in various parts of the world. They would be slow to warm-up to each other but would eventually enjoy playing together, creating memories they would laugh about in the future.

In 1991 when my family left the Navy and settled in Anniston, Alabama, we lived only an hour's drive from Jared and his family. The cousins became fast friends and longed to spend as much time as possible with each other. To accomodate and encourage this family tie, Jared's mother and I would often meet at the halfway point between our homes to drop-off or pick-up the cousins. They would spend weekends writing plays to be put on by the CAB (Cowan and Bowen) Theater, planning murder mystery dress-up parties, taking long walks together, or just hanging together. They became almost like siblings. I can remember one particular visit when Jared got mad at Meghan and Erin and called his mom and dad for an early pick-up. Before his parents could get to our home to rescue their son, they had all made up and wanted to stay longer!

I enjoyed having Jared in our home for these visits. My girls loved having him around and his abundance of creativity encouraged their own. They were always drawing or writing or singing... always having a good time together. Jared's uncle and I often talked about how we thought that Jared would need this bond with our daughters and the knowledge that he was always welcome in our home more in the future than he seemed to then.

Eventually the cousins learned to drive and the first long Interstate trip for each of them was for visits together. As they each graduated from high school and went off to Auburn, their bond grew stronger. At the end of the 2000 academic year, I found myself sitting on my back porch with Meghan and Jared. The conversation flowed with talk of Auburn, Meg's recent graduation, the upcoming party to celebrate that event and Erin's engagement. Eventually Meghan said, "Just tell her, it's not a big deal." I looked at them both, curious, wondering. Finally Jared begins, "There's this guy I like...." He very emphatically, and with much drama began telling me about this person. Here it was, what I had been expecting for years, what I thought to be true before he knew himself. He was trusting me enough to share his deepest secret, and there I was liberal, accepting, and non-judgemental Aunt Terry, listening and watching, and all I can think to say is, "Jared, you are such a drama (no! don't say it!)....person!"

Fortunately for me, Jared also has a great sense of humor! With the cousins now being adults my relationship with each of them has changed. Jared and I have become friends. I look forward to his visits on my porch, catching up with his life, sharing my own, reading his poetry, and journaling together. Because of him, and with him, I began attending PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meetings and was glad to make new friends who shared my views on many topics. Jared went with me to my first Mary Chapin Carpenter concert, and on my first birthday after removing my wedding ring for good, it was Jared who knew I would need something to replace it, and gave me the beautiful aquamarine birth stone ring I'd been longing for. And we have had many a laugh remembering how he came out to me and what I almost said to him!!

Happy Birthday, Jared! I love you.


At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ter, your blob is the absolute best. Better than Sarah's crunches.

love you,


At 8:13 PM, Blogger lori said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jared! I hope you know how lucky you are to have such a great person in your life. I thank God everyday for blessing me with such a caring and loving sister.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger A.K. said...

I don't think there needs to be a "winner" for the blog- don't go dissing Erin now Brent... but I love that you have such a great relationship with Jared. I know my family has helped me though my entire life and that's sooo important! Enjoy the rest of your time with my favorite family in Colorado!

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Meghan said...

That was the funniest and most ice breaking moment! "Oh Jared you're such a drama..(pause)...person!" We still to this day joke about that.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Joyce said...

Just one more important memory in your life. Our experiences are what make us who we are. Both Jared and you are with bond and no one can take that away.
Thanks for sharing this wounderful time in your life and the continued caring that you have for others.
I love you, my friend...

At 3:44 PM, Blogger lori said...

Hello, your fans are waiting for another post! Quit playing with Sarah for a minute and start typing;-)

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've left me very close to speechless, Aunt T'. It will sound...dramatic to say... but your unconditional love and support saved my life that summer, and has kept me strong all these years, going forward. I am so lucky and undeserving to have you in my life. Thank you so much.
My cup runneth over--I love you.


At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post still makes me laugh and cry!! You are such an amazing, supportive, magical lady--anyone who has the privilege of you in their life knows how blessed we are. Love you...Jared.


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