Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weighty Secrets

My in-laws called my husband yesterday about travel plans. They wanted to be here around my husband’s August 1st birthday. When they’ve been here over his birthday in the past, we’ve skipped our Lughnasadh celebration, so this news was met with a collective groan.

Lughnasadh is the summer harvest festival, and a family favorite because of the focus on bread baking, colorful garden flowers on the altar, and weather warm enough to carry some of the festivities outdoors. Living in Wisconsin, Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane, the other three major sabbats, tend to be indoor celebrations--unless we’re gifted with an unusually warm end-of-October or transition into May. Imbolc, in February, is guaranteed to be celebrated indoors.

In any case, today my daughters and I called a family meeting, and lobbied to come out of the broom closet to the grandparents/in-laws. My husband wasn’t any more inclined than we were to cancel Lughnasadh festivities two years in a row, so he agreed to make the call.

Secrets seem to gather weight over time, and really, it’s a call that should have been made many, many years ago. We’d toyed with the idea back in May, before their last visit, but at the time my father-in-law was having major health problems, and we didn’t want to stress them out more than necessary. With him doing well now, that no longer presented an obstacle.

So, shrugging off the burden of years of furtiveness--hiding pagan books before visits, making sure the photos of seasonal altars don’t go up on Snapfish with the other family pictures, and other secret-bearing actions that made us all feel generally “ick,” my husband shared the truth.

After a brief chat with my father-in-law about his health, my dear husband blurted out, “By the way, we’re pagan.” Growing tongue-tied when asked what that involved, he then shoved the phone at our 13-year-old daughter, who was lurking around to hear her dad’s side of the call. She calmly walked her grandparents through the basic definitions of earth-based religion, seasonal festivals, and such, and then handed the phone back to my husband.

My mother-in-law was very supportive. Wow. That means a lot. My father-in-law didn’t say much. He’s devoutly Catholic, so who knows what he’s thinking. But for us, the weight of years and years of not sharing a very basic part of who we are evaporated with one phone call. Again, wow.

After that, letting it slip that I write erotic romance will be a cakewalk! That will result in a whole realm of other objects (dry erase boards, appointment calendars, to-do lists, recent book contracts, and anything else lying around our combined office and family room that reveals my book titles and/or pen name) that don’t need to be tucked away before visits.



Zetta Brown said...

LOL Eden, I know where you're coming from on this.

I, too, have "secrets" when it comes to what I write (erotica included) and my beliefs. I'm agnostic--at best--and I come from an active Methodist/Baptist family. But I have interests in other areas of spirituality.

Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to share everything with everybody.
Good for you!

Eden Rivers said...

Hi Zetta,

Believe me, my family still has some secrets from the in-laws, lol. But coming clean about being pagan and writing erotic romance was a good start :-) The rest, well, that could be a whole other blog entry...

Good luck with your own family. It's hard feeling like vital parts of you might not be accepted (speaking from experience).