Finding Love, And Gaining A Granddaughter

Genna Alperin with her grandmother M.J. Seide at StoryCorps in Norfolk, Va. i

Genna Alperin with her grandmother M.J. Seide at StoryCorps in Norfolk, Va. For their talk, Genna and her mother, Jody, prepared the questions together, as a birthday present for M.J. StoryCorps hide caption

itoggle caption StoryCorps
Genna Alperin with her grandmother M.J. Seide at StoryCorps in Norfolk, Va.

Genna Alperin with her grandmother M.J. Seide at StoryCorps in Norfolk, Va. For their talk, Genna and her mother, Jody, prepared the questions together, as a birthday present for M.J.

StoryCorps

M.J. Seide met her partner, Marty Jacobson, in the early 1990s. She became part of Marty's family and is especially close to her 12-year-old granddaughter, Genna Alperin, with whom she visited StoryCorps recently.

Talking about her life before she met Marty, M.J. said, "I thought that my life was probably not one that was going to be worth living. There was this hole that I had all of my life, because I never thought I'd be able to walk along the beach and hold somebody's hand, because I'm gay."

But then she met and fell in love with Marty, who was married and had raised children. After they met through a mutual friend, M.J. knew she had found her soul mate.

"I'd never felt that way about anyone before," M.J. said.

Marty got a divorce, and told her children the truth: that she'd fallen in love with another woman.

"And that was the first time that anyone was proud to say that they loved me," M.J. said. "That made me the happiest I'd ever been in my life. And then, when I got to know your mom and uncle Justin, I knew that I had hit paradise, because I now have a family that I can wrap my arms around. "

Genna and M.J. spend a lot of time together, playing cards and talking.

"But this is the first time that we've ever talked about the fact that I'm gay," M.J. said, "and I guess what I want to ask you is, does it embarrass you to have a gay grandma?"

"No," Genna said, "It doesn't really matter. It just matters — my relationship with you."

"I always tell you how much I love you, but I don't know that you can really understand the depth of it," M.J. said, "because you're someone that I never thought would be in my life, and I can't imagine my life without you.

"You have always been a child that makes up her own mind and I am so, so proud of you."

"You're one of my favorite grandmas," Genna said. " You do, like, a lot of things with me, like ride roller coasters and play poker. I don't know what life would be like without you here."

"I love you, sweetheart," M.J. said.

"Love you too."

Produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo. Recorded in partnership with WHRO.

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