My brother has three girls - Emma, 6, Catherine, 4, and Sarah 3, while my sister has two little girls - Jessica, 3 and Kaitlyn 12 weeks. There shall be no more grandchildren from either sibling and that means no grandsons. My mother is still mourning that fact since I came out.
I love these girls to death. I'm the crazy uncle that has taught them all to "pull my finger". I pick their noses. I grab them by the ankles and throw them on the couch which they bounce off, hit the floor hard and then ask for it again. I sneak them pieces of grandma's chocolate slice from the fridge and then run out the back yard with them to scoff it down before anyone works out what we've done. I stir them up, make them all hyper and when they start playing up, I just give them back to their parents. But they do sleep well after a day with Uncle Ben.
In one of our quieter moments on Sunday afternoon, I was sitting with Emma on the lounge reading the paper (she likes to read out the headlines), when we eventually came to the weddings section. And she asked, "Where's your wife Uncle Ben?". Before I could answer she added, "You don't really want a wife do you?"
Was she intimating that she knows I'm gay? Has she heard my brother and his wife talking about my coming out? Hardly the case, as he only speaks to complain when they're out of beer.
She's a smart little thing (she practices her writing by transposing paragraphs out of novels - I got a hand written part of Schindler's List in the mail the other day), so I'm guessing she's just put two and two together and come up with the logical conclusion that I don't want to get married. She may not have worked out the gay part, but I wouldn't put it past her.
I didn't want to lie to her, but seeing as she's only six, I think she's far too young to have to start grappling with the complexities of sexual attraction, so I just told her, "Nope, I don't want a wife at all."
But it does raise some other concerns for me. They live in a small country town (only 270 or so people) and I'd hate for her or her sisters to let it slip one day about Uncle Ben's boyfriend or something and get bullied or ridiculed over it at school. Lets face it, small towns don't have the best reputation for acceptance and tolerance, do they? And I'd hate for the girls to have to deal with shit because of me.
And my grandmother is just as bad - she made one of my cousins cry when she asked her why she's dating a "slopey-eyed chink". Yes he's Asian, but he happens to be a doctor and treats her with so much respect and adoration (and he's hot as too).
I probably am over thinking this way too much, but they're my family. I don't want anything bad to happen to them. Ever.