May 28, 2009

Did I Mention?

When I was a kid, and my mom's life was full of taking my sister and me to swimming lessons, ballet lessons, riding lessons, and story time at the library, there was a grocery store in town with a sit-down bakery section. I think it was an A&P. The store doesn't exist any more, but I have these wonderful memories of my sister and I tagging along on my mom's weekly run for provisions, chattering away as she ticked off each item on the list she held in her hand. If we were good -- and the way I remember it, we always were -- we got to have a treat at the bakery.

My treat of choice was a half-moon cookie, which here in NJ in 2009 seem only to be made a white cake "moon." When I was a kid, I told my mom, the half-moon cookies were made on a dark chocolate base. In my mind they became "dark side of the moon" cookies, an almost mythical, no longer attainable, slice of pure childhood joy.

Now look what my mom had waiting for me when we all went up to visit this past weekend:

(Words fail me.)

Another great part of the weekend was less visible to me, but no less wonderful. Our little man got to spend lots of time with his Grandpa and Nana. With Grandpa, he explored a mysterious gully, created a Jackson Pollock-inspired masterpiece, and worked on getting the trails in good shape. With Nana, he learned to distinguish some of the local birds by sight, and discovered the joys of a toasted peanut butter sandwich. The bedrock of unconditional love that my parents gave to me is now there for Mr. D.
...and that kind of foundation makes reaching for the stars downright fun.

(Thanks for everything, Mom & Dad.
And happy 49th anniversary!)

May 25, 2009

Image: Margaret Anne Clarke via Flickr

dinner on the deck –
everything tastes
like honeysuckle

(cross-posted at Spring Haiku 2009)

May 18, 2009


Mr. D has been preparing for the very cool Princeton Kids' Marathon. I am keeping him company on his training runs. Which means that I suddenly know several 1 mile running routes through our neighborhood. The journey of parenting certainly has some interesting twists and turns.

(I'm sure my sister is laughing,
and I would be too, if I had any breath left!)

May 08, 2009

In the Woods

We're heading up to Blairstown to put the peace back in Mother's Day. Think sunny thoughts.

May 03, 2009

Kinetic Sculpture Race 2009

Kinetic Sculptures are amphibious, human powered works of art
custom-built for the race. Each May, the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) hosts the East Coast Kinetic Sculpture Race Championship
on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in central Maryland.
The eight-hour race covers 15 miles—mostly on pavement,
but also including a trip into the Chesapeake Bay and through mud and sand.

Because the fabulous Feldinis live in Howard County, MD,
we've made this a two-family adventure several times in the past few years.

What I love about the Kinetic Sculpture Race is its vibe.
Everyone is there to have a good time
and celebrate the joys of creative creation.

This year our creativity extended to choice of viewing spot,
as Mr. D climbed up into a tree...

... to be followed by his lovely cousins, of course.

One of these years, we'll be participants,
but until then, we relish the chances we have
to be enthusiastic spectators.

(If you'd like to see some more of the
Kinetic Sculpture Race craziness,
my Flickr set is here.)

May 01, 2009

What Would I Say

Image: Marlith, via Flickr

My friend Jenn (who is going to start blogging SOON, I hope) has been asked to speak at a gay-themed event this weekend, and asked me what I would say if asked to speak on the topic of gay parenting and/or marriage.

Of course my first thought was of our son. Mr. D has been Star of the Week at his school this week, an honor that rotates through the entire class, one student at a time. Mr. D was the final episode. As part of his star turn, he filled out a poster about himself ("I am super because I am funny, energetic, and funny") which he shared with the class in anticipation of their comments and questions. In the "who lives in my house" section of his presentation, Mr. D's two-mom status went virtually unremarked; it was his pet puppet dog "Mr. Flappybobs" who got most of the attention.

But just before bed the other night, he shared with my partner that kids occasionally think of her as some kind of "substitute." (His word, and theirs.) Telling his Tama this story, our boy was simultaneously annoyed and dismissive: "Of course you're not a substitute! You're just... a parent!"

He gets it. Most of his friends get it, too. As the white lesbian mom of a first-grader, I feel sometimes like I'm in a giant game of "Beat the Clock."

Can we teach our boy enough about the primacy of love before someone plays the, "Your moms aren't even married!" card? Can we teach our boy enough about the long shadow of discrimination before he has his first recognized encounter with racism? Has he already fully internalized the fundamental truth that girls can do anything?

~ ~ ~

If you are an American citizen, here's my question for you: When in your life have you felt fully American?

I remember the first time I felt that way. I was watching the US hockey team compete in the 1980 Olympics. Their improbable win pulled me in, and I felt part of something larger than myself. The next time was in 1987, at the second national March on Washington in support of gay rights. I held hands with my then-girlfriend in full view of the White House, and something shifted in me. I began to dream of a different world. In 2003, when the Supreme Court overturned Bowers v. Hardwick with its Lawrence v. Texas decision, there was a news story about businesses in San Francisco's Castro district flying the US flag for the first time, after having previously flown only the rainbow flag. One of my African-American friends waived an American flag for the first time when Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee.

It is hard to count the cost of exclusion. I can't tell you what the economic impact or wider social implications of legalizing gay marriage would be. (Although I'm sure people are studying just that.)

I can tell you that my partner, our son, and I are a family. That neither my partner nor I are a "substitute" in our son's life. And that something changes when we feel acknowledged for who we are. We pay first class taxes. We'd like to feel like first-class citizens.

Whatever the cost of disenfranchisement, it is too high. And I guess that's what I'd say.

LinkImage: Elaron via Flickr