Next week I am going to return to my beloved country - New York City - to attend the baptism of our latest family members - my grand nephew and niece Riley and Kai - boy and girl fraternal twins. I haven’t been "home" in three years.
The babies are the children of one of my brother’s three daughters and her Korean-American husband. While my brother’s marriage ended in divorce I have been able to stay close with his former spouse and our nieces, thanks to my late wife who saw no reason to break contact with our ex- sister in law. His daughters and mine are about the same age, three of the five of them went to Rutgers together and we have stayed close over the many years.
The baptism will be held in the city at St. Francis of Assisi R. C. Church and afterwards the Korean contingent of our family will host a luncheon close by. They are as proud of the children as we are.
Times have changed over my 70 years. My wife and I had all Italian grandparents and great-grand parents; we were as "Italian" by blood as any family in Italy. So are my children.
Our family has changed a lot since then as America has changed.
My ex-sister in law, grandmother of the twins is Jewish. The mother of the twins married a Korean-American; I was at the wedding with our new Korean in-laws.
My youngest daughter married a Puerto Rican man; his family lives close by here in Florida and have been nothing but wonderful to her and me.
My oldest girl married a guy of German-Italian extraction. His sister is married to a black guy whose mother is a fine church going woman with a fondness for big hats. She traveled from Baltimore to attend my daughter’s wedding. All four of them are lawyers.
The older sister of the twin's mother is a lesbian married to her life partner and living in Massachusetts. She has a biological daughter, now almost three years old. The father came from the "bank" Her partner is now pregnant and half way along, with the same father. The children will be half siblings. They own a lovely home, pay their taxes, work everyday, cut the grass, shovel snow, service the car, worry about schools, attend a Unitarian church. Their neighbors like them.
I got a special call to ask if I would attend the wedding. My daughters, their men and I all traveled to Massachusetts. I was honored. And what a party! Both families and friends stood in support. Why should two people live a lie just because other people think they should? All of them in turn attended the weddings of my girls.
Our extended family now contains Italians, Jews, blacks, Hispanics. Koreans and gays. We roasted a pig last Christmas. The music is always great and the foods delicious as we celebrate who we have become. I could not have imagined it 50 years ago.
The best part is that none of us married a Republican.