Inspired by this post over at Blogs are Stupid.
It seems our friend Jon has wanted to be a parent since before I met him, which was long enough ago that I was still perky in places that now respond to gravity’s call and he still thought he dated women. He is destined to be one of the world’s greatest fathers, possessing the perfect mixture of nurturing, fun, pragmatism, and idealism. Big heart, contained ego, and fantastic sense of humor – just about all anyone could ask for in a father.
So, we were all thrilled when he met a partner who brought to the table the additional attributes of a bit more reserve and wryness that inadequately covers for a remarkable good nature. Good. One more friend taken care of.
They got married the month before I had Zachary, because people really like to get married someplace far away just before or just after I have babies. Other than the fact that J and I missed the wedding, the only thing to mar the day was that, well, legally they weren’t getting married. They held their wedding a stone’s throw from the White House, perhaps to show George Bush just what they thought of the restrictions on their civil liberties.
Religiously they were, however, married, although they did have a hard time finding a rabbi to perform the ceremony. No one objected to the fact that they were both male, but they took umbrage with the fact that Jon’s husband isn’t Jewish. They finally found an officiate when Jon promised he would raise the children Jewish and would cover their ears every time his husband spouted off about atheism and the like.
Now, of course, the concern became adopting those children they were going to raise Jewish, given that the marriage had no wombs to speak of. For a time, Jon thought that perhaps they should seek to adopt twins, under the theory that “At least when they are running around reaching for the knives, we won’t have a newborn to contend with.” No, just two toddlers with sharp objects.
To me, this smacked of insanity. Here we were with a newborn who declined to ever be put down, thank you very much, and our friend was thinking that two of them at the same time sounded like a good idea. I nodded encouragement while trying to sneak a peak to see if he had sprouted a few more sets of arms.
I do understand that parents of twins say in some ways it is easier, and if that is the card a family is dealt, it is wonderful in all sorts of ways. However, the idea of actively seeking out such an arrangement…?
A few weeks later, we were visited by the only relatives still speaking to me, distant cousins who were in town to visit their son, Kevin, who is our age. As I watched Kevin’s twin seven-year-olds run into the other room, I mentioned the story of Jon and his
moronic heroic irrational naïve belief that raising twins would be easier. Kevin laughed. His mother paused, pondering for a minute.
“Do you really think it’s fair, though?” she began. “Don’t you think children should have a father and a mother?”
Fortunately, Zachary even at this tender age was able to cling to his parents like some sort of baby tree sloth, or I might actually have dropped him at that moment. It’s not that I was surprised at her sentiment; despite my time in college theater, I have crossed paths with one or two homophobes in my time. Nor was I particularly surprised to hear it coming from one of my relatives, since I was only too aware that sometimes my relations can be a bit insensitive. She was of a certain age when perhaps her conservatism got the better of her.
I was, however, floored that she would decide to express her sentiments that particular way. To me. I mean, given that she remembers my mother before she died, a luxury I do not have. Given that she knows what a fantastic replacement my father found. Given that she knows the extent to which my father gave three shits about how I was being raised.
It just seems that, talking to me, perhaps she might consider that her lovely sentiments about family structure do not always translate into reality. Should all children have a mother and a father? Hell, I’d have settled for just one.
And so, to Jon and his husband, who will (God willing and the crick don’t rise) be bringing home a baby sometime in the not-so-distant future, and who will probably warp that child with the erroneous notion that all children are raised with two loving parents, I just want to say this: If I had my druthers, I’d have traded in the whole bunch of ‘em for even one of you.
And to my distant cousin and anyone else who says otherwise? Well, I’m a lady and I don’t use that kind of language.