Originally posted January, 2015.
People used to ask me if my sister was married. “No, she’s too busy.” “She’s career focused.” “She hasn’t found the right person.” At the age of 41, my sister did find the right person. When I saw a beautiful diamond engagement ring immediately when they arrived at Christmas, I jumped on it right away! Finally, my sister is getting married!
My sister has been in a committed relationship for 10 years with a person I used to introduce as her roommate even as recently as year ago. “She’s my sister’s roommate.” “Her best friend.” I’m not exactly sure how or when I discovered her roommate was her companion, her “partner” (a title they both despise but girlfriend seems so juvenile). I do know there was never a big coming out. She’s never been into labels so I’ve never heard her say “I’m Gay!” “I’m homosexual.” “I’m a lesbian.” But, I’m just as happy for her marrying her best friend as if she were marrying a “hetero.” The thing is…it really wasn’t until there was a ring, that I could finally label them as a couple.
I was so honored to be the first person to share in their engagement news. I had the privilege of ring-shopping with the happy couple at a local antique shop since my sister didn’t have her own engagement ring yet… so far only her “roommate” had a sparkly diamond. I shared in their first toast as an engaged couple, attempting a selfie and settling for another person to take our picture that showed the happy couple showing off their combined bling next to my own hand with my anniversary band. I was there when they told my husband… “We’re engaged.” His reply was a high-pitched “Ohhhhh” and a sarcastic “So, you’re together?” Our 4 year old wasn’t even phased. He kept playing with his toys.
We had some uncomfortable awkward moments after the big reveal that they were engaged. Like telling our parents…we plotted, schemed, joked, and then of course finally told our mom and dad, separately. Our usually enthusiastic, over the top mom was thrilled, likely because she too can finally classify their relationship. Our straight-laced, conservative dad had an expected reaction, he’s adjusting. He’s always allowed us to live our own happily ever after.
I finally had the nerve to ask questions I’ve wondered for 10 years, my sister answered some but not others. These questions would swim around in my head after a visit then I would drown them out until the next time. I apologized that I was so naive and sheltered – she called it unassuming. I told her I was mad that she just let me think what I wanted and didn’t volunteer her relationship status. I stomped my foot a little, had an itty bitty little sister tantrum because sisters are supposed to share secrets! I decided to share my own dirty little secret to prove my own point – not sure she wanted to know that I lost my virginity to her arch nemesis. Touché.
We celebrated with friends while my sister was here; friends who’ve asked and assumed in the past about their relationship. They were all very excited. I texted a picture of the rings to my closest girlfriends hundreds of miles away. Everyone is genuinely excited.
The biggest question was “When is the wedding?” A few years ago, we wouldn’t have even been able to ask this question unless we lived in another country. Legally, my sister can only get married in 35 states, which does not include our home state of Nebraska. (shhhh…apparently there are no gay people in Nebraska). I mean, let’s reminisce other ridiculousness. Only less than a century ago, the 19th Amendment prohibited states from denying people the right to vote based on gender and less than 150 years ago, the 15th Amendment prohibited states from denying people the right to vote on the basis of race. Voting and marriage go hand in hand. It is about civil rights, humanity, fairness and equality. So why are we still prohibiting people who are in a committed relationship from getting married? Because God, Jesus, the bible, because people think it is icky? I attend church nearly every Sunday, I’m fairly traditional and my church has proudly welcomed same-sex couples to get married, LEGALLY! In 100 years, our heirs to this beautiful country founded on freedom, will likely look back and think “prohibit same-sex marriage?…that just seems silly.”
So, next New Year, we will be gathering to celebrate two-people who are in love. There will be candles, flowers, pretty dresses, cake, a ring bearer and flower girl (I insisted!), and I can’t wait. In the meantime, I can finally and proudly introduce my sister’s roommate…as her fiancé.
“…And the greatest of these is Love” 1 Corinthians 13:13
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