Sunday, November 23, 2008

Invites and Prayers

Thanks to my clear handwriting, every once in awhile a friend will ask me to address invitations for her. I am far from a professional calligrapher, but I enjoy this task-- finding the perfect pens, experimenting with varying fonts, and finally marking the creamy envelopes with names of people I don't know. It is interesting to note that the only 'C' I received on a report card in elementary and high school was for handwriting, I think in second or third grade. It doesn't take much of a pyschologist to note that given my strong perfectionist tendencies, clearly I've been making up for that mark ever since, but that is far from the point of this post.

This morning sitting at our dining room table, I was happily addressing some envelopes for save-the-date wedding invitations for a friend. It was one of the few lazy weekend mornings we have had for some time. The boys were reading, spread out on the couches, legs askew draped in fleece blankets. P had lit a fire and turned on some of my favorite folkies, Gorka, Griffith and Wheeler. P was in the kitchen starting a fancy stew for guests we're having over tonight, and the smell of red wine and mushrooms was already wafting from his post at the stove.

S sat up from his reading and came to check out what I was doing. "What's that?" he inquired. I explained that I was addressing envelopes and pulled out the printed invitation to show him.

"You see-- Bella is getting married this July and she wants her friends to know the date so they can mark their calendars."

"Is Bella marrying a woman or a man?" was the follow up question.

"A man. His name is Derek," I explained.

"Oh," Sam replied and turned away from the table to resume his position on the couch.

And with that short exchange, I felt a small tug at my heart. His simple inquiring whether our friend was marrying a man or a woman, held no judgment, no politics-- it was just a question. And I felt a small bit of pride because for him, it was just about love and the decision to marry the person whom you love. In his relatively small world, for what he has learned in our home, and in his community, and now his state (yea, Connecticut!)-- women can love women and now they can marry, just as men can love and marry men (which makes him relieved) even though he knows that there are not many places that same sex couples can marry.

For the past weeks, my excitement about the presidential election results have been tempered by the California vote to repeal gay marriage. When I first heard the passing of Prop 8, I was incredulous and then just plain sad. I, like many others, read the story of another mom of boys, Pam Patterson, who took a huge chunk of her family's savings, $50,000, to fight against gay marriage in California saying: "It was a decision we made very prayerfully and carefully. Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children."

I think of Pam's sons and my sons, and I just cannot see the benefit of denying two people who want to commit their lives to one another in marriage. I think how painful it might be if one of those Patterson boys grows up to find himself in love with another man. And my prayers-- well, they ask that when my boys are old enough to make such a decision, they may marry the people they love.


Jennifer said...

Maureen Dowd had a very good column on this issue yesterday in the NY Times. She interviewed Dianne Feinstein who said that initially she did not support gay marriage but over time saw that it made people happy. I'm not surprised that your guys are nonjudgmental about this.

Anonymous said...

That's just the saddest part, isn't it?

LiteralDan said...

That just makes me sad. I also see absolutely no benefit to denying someone something private that doesn't change anything for others.

It just makes no sense!

Terra said...

It IS really hard to understand. Maybe if I had the time I would read the opinions, writings, and rationales of those who oppose gay marriage that strongly to try, but there are only so many hours in the day... I don't really know anyone that feels that strong against it that I could talk to. How could you spend $50K on such a cause? To each his own I guess...all I can say is that straight folks are doing a really great job and #$%$ing up marriage in our current day and age...we should be worrying about that instead of trying to prevent decent gay couples from marrying.