Thursday, May 28, 2009
The Supreme Court in California — one of the farthest states from my own — hands down a decision on marriage and yet, somehow, someway, it affects my life waaaay over here in New York. Talk about the Chaos Theory….
I get it. I get it. We lost the battle, but not the war. Progress will be slow, very very slow, not fast. We need to be patient. It will happen. So many pithy words and consolations. I keep hearing (and saying myself) and reading collections of little phrases that are supposed to make me feel better but they just don’t. It comes done to this: People are voting on my CIVIL rights. People are judging me and my family. MY rights are being determined by….majority rule? Any way you slice it, that is wrong. And just sitting back and watching it unfold is way too passive for me.
Well, California (May I call you that? Because I feel like we should at least be on first-name basis), my marriage is sanctioned by the state of Massachusetts and “acknowledged” by my home state of New York. Oh, lucky us, slouching toward equality, one state, one law, one hand-held at a time. It may not be great but it is much better than what is going on in California.
It is easy to close the papers and turn off the news and snap my laptop closed and concentrate on what’s important: My family. Nicole. Our two amazing children. This incredible life that we have created. This is what they are afraid of? This threatens the precious institution of marriage? My life, my marriage, somehow makes other’s marriages less valid? My calling Nicole at work to see what she wants for dinner terrifies people? Really? Because this is what married people do. And when you strip away all the bullshit, all of the negative attitudes, and all of the homophobic rantings, the narrow-minded, sign-carriers who tell me that I am going to hell because I love my wife and our kids, we are, in fact, just like every other family out there, trying to come up with a dinner compromise and shuffle the kids off to bed so we can have some well deserved quiet time. And we deserve the same exact rights, period, as the family next door. Wait, they are gay: The family next door to our neighbors. We want what they have. There are ten apartments on my floor. Four of them house gay couples and families. Should we not have the same rights as of other neighbors?
Equal rights under the law: Isn’t that what this country was founded on? Is it too much to ask for?
I haven’t given money because I wonder, where does it go? Something like $44 million was raised, and that obviously wasn’t enough to get a good verdict. I went to two rallies, but not the others because I thought, what difference does it make? (And also, they were smack dab in the middle of my kids’ bedtimes, which is sacred in our house.) I didn’t make the trek to Albany because I have no one to watch my kids. And, sadly, I don’t even protest in small ways: I don’t hold Nicole’s hand on the street all the time because far be it for me to make others uncomfortable. And I can’t take the starers, when people are determining our gender roles and other non-salient facts, their eyes pinging back and forth between our clasp. Yes, we live in NYC but it is a touristy area. I can almost hear them rationalizing: “But the shorter one is wearing a skirt! Lesbians don’t wear skirts.” And then that sudden look of AHA in their eyes, sometimes that awful sneer on their faces, shows they got past the skirt issue real quick. It makes me sad, sometimes angry, sometimes indignant. Very, very indignant.
Even Obama disappoints. As he has said oh so many times, he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. Hillary too. So what are WE, Obama and Hill? If we are not married, what are we? Domesticated? We live together and share finances and sleep together and raise children together and talk about retirement together and celebrate anniversaries together and fight together and make up together and negotiate the room temperature together and I could go on. That sounds like a marriage to me. And you want to deny me that?
The sad thing is, I am pretty certain not all of my friends agree that Nicole and I should be allowed to marry. I think I wrote way back about one awful situation when I was pregnant and some Narrow-Minded Jerk said I should have a miscarriage because we had not right raising kids without a father (selfish was bantered around). I’d like to say it didn’t bother me, but it does. It always will. And when I pass that dead baby’s due date (last week), I think about what he said and it make me so angry. Not only because of what he said (he said I should miscarry before I actually did) but because this attitude is what we are dealing with in so many people. And I have no idea of how to go about changing these minds.
But I digress.
We leave for Florida on Saturday. It is 90 plus down there. Joy. And then we come back next week, have a few free days, and then we are taking the girls to Sesame Place for three days. And in between that, our babies turn two. Two years old. This is cliché but, wow, time is racing again.
Pictured above, two little girls who deserved the security of being products of a legal marriage. They are going to lose their minds at Sesame place! And Avery is potty training Big Bird!! Does this mean she is getting ready herself? She isn’t even two yet!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
First, to state the obvious: I am been awful about writing. I wish I had some grand excuse, but I don’t. Day-to-day life makes it very difficult for me to sit down, think my thoughts and type them out. Plus, these days I have a lot more secret posts than I do general consumption posts. It’s getting harder to untangle that mess, and then to sanitize my thoughts for here is just too much work. I need to decide if I should just migrate over to wordpress, where I can sprinkle my regular postings with the secret ones, without all the back and forth and the annoyingness of having two blogs. Or maybe I should just write what I want to write, dammit, and who cares who is offended. Wow, that sounds callous, right?
My first excuse: I have been distracted by my new Kindle, which Nicole got me for Mother’s Day. I love it! The girls have absolutely no interest in it at all, so I can sneak pages here and there while stacking boxes with them and generally just being in their orbit. I lay on their bedroom floor reading it and they are happy because I am there and I am happy because I can read.
Another lame excuse: The girls have been so very needy lately. They need me by their side all the time, which is why reading the Kindle works out well. When I open my laptop, they come over and shut it. Sometimes, I just open it back up again, but most of the time, when it is just me and the girls, if they shut it, I leave it shut, because they are obviously telling me “pay attention to ME” in their own little two-year-old way. So I do. And we read or stack blocks or dance or count things or jump. Usually within minutes they move on, and I can start something new, and then they come over to me, and the cycle continues….
In this paradigm, cleaning and cooking and organizing and folding laundry and housekeeping in general have become nearly impossible to accomplish. If I leave their little sides, they follow me and usually insist on being right next to me or in my arms. Madeline has decided that she hates all kitchen appliances. If I so much as walk toward the kitchen, she chases after me, yelling “Momma see, Momma see,” which we have determined means “Momma sit.” Last weekend, I made an entire pie, including the graham cracker crust, while holding her on my hip. Mixing, pureeing, cooking, melting, pouring, stirring, scraping and arranging, all with one hand. It is adorable, and I know I will miss this when she gets older. But on the other hand, I need to be able to get things done, without having a child cocked on my hip.
And yet another lame excuse: We have gone out to Long Island for the past two weekends. That need to get out of the city is very very pressing these days. And it is about time we got some use out of a house we pay the mortgage on. The girls love being out there. They love opening the door and running in the backyard. They love playing in the gravel driveway. They love hiding behind trees, sliding down the slide, running in all that grass. It makes me feel awful, coming back into the city. But living here in the city means Nicole’s commute is five short minutes, and that we would never get in the suburbs. The girls don’t realize it yet, but living in the burbs means seeing Mommy only on weekends, and that is just not enough. Right now, going to LI on the weekends is a fair compromise, I think. But we still wonder where we will all end up.
The girls are really starting to develop personalities, and it is a miracle to watch. While on Long Island last weekend, I took them to a shoe store. I wanted to get them both a pair of sneaker-like shoes for the summer. They both were in awe of being in a shoe store (their first time, for all intents and purposes). I picked out these cute Converse sneakers in pink plaid and showed the to Maddie — the one we deemed would be the girly-girl princess, based solely on her long eyelashes — and she said loudly and defiantly “no,” while shaking her head violently. I tried about four more times to get them on her feet, and each time, more loudly than the last, “NO.” She proceeded to walk over to the selection and pick out the brownest, butchest mini hiking shoes. And Avery — the one we figured would be a tomboy based solely on her hair — walked over and selected gold sandals with flashing lights on them. Then she was distracted by pink rain boots and the search was over. I walked out with the brown butchy hiking shoes for Maddie, the pink plaid Converse for Avery and the boots, which Avery refuses to take off and wears ALL the time. Once again, I am reminded that we cannot project personalities, dispositions or style.
A few random updates, because I want to have these things recorded: The girls are bottle-free, officially. Did I mention that already? Madeline will still drink milk from a sippy cup, and I let her do that whenever she wants. But Avery has compeltley eschewed milk. I am okay with that, because she eats a lot of yogurt and cheese every day, and it is the calcium that is important, and not the milk per se. Avery has started using the possessive properly, as in “momma’s coffee” and “Maddie’s milk.” Very cute. Avery is counting a lot now, and says “one, two, wee, six.” It’s a start! Avery loves to dance and has some amazing shimmy moves. Madeline will sit with me and read a book cover to cover. She continues to excel at the alphabet, but for some reason can’t quite figure out the letters S and X. Madeline is very adventurous and will g down the slide by herself, whereas Avery wants to hold a hand. And Madeline is such a great fruit and veggie eater.
Pictured above, Avery with Nicole’s mom (right), who was visiting from Florida, and my mom (left). Below that, Avery and Madeline, and suburban dinner. My one-handed berry pie is at the very end.