My 6-year-old son, W, has grown up in a loving home with two adults. While many families could say the same thing, they may differ when it comes to detailing just who those adults are. For W, he would say he has a mama and a lolly (his grandmother).
Other kids may have a mom and a dad.
Or two moms.
Or two dads and a grandmother.
Or a mom and two dads.
You get it — families are not always the same. Thank goodness for this, because if we were all the same, life would be so boring! That’s why I was immediately hooked on They Might Be Giants’ new song “And Mom and Kid.”
“… so many combinations, so many families … ”
The duo re-released this song via their reactivated Dial-A-Song project on June 29th, just days after the groundbreaking Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
When I heard it, I recognized that it’s celebratory for kids who come from all kinds of families: those with same-sex parents, those like mine, those like yours. The song is short and sweet and it says a lot with those few words.
The legalization of gay marriage is a huge victory for a number of my friends. Most of these couples are people I met while we were all trying to create our families. The ruling instantly had an effect on not only my friends, but on their children. There is a protection in place that was not there before. The specific language from the ruling regarding families says “without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser.”
I read a satirical piece (at least I hope it was satirical) where the author suggested this line was a dig at single parents. I don’t view it that way at all. As a single parent by choice, I have 100% custody of my child. Other straight single parents I know, who are single from divorce, have custody decrees in place that provide stability and security. When you’re in a same-sex relationship and you have children, and both parents have not been legally able to be identified as the parent, it creates an inequality in the eyes of the law.
Marriage equality has now provided that fairness.
Watching from the sidelines I have seen how much dialogue the ruling has generated in the national media, between friends, and among many unacquainted individuals. Sometimes it’s led to some beautiful moments. Moments where you can almost feel someone shift a previously held opinion they once held onto for no other reason except fear, misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, stereotyping – all the things we throw up in front of us to mask what we just haven’t had a chance to learn.
Other times I have witnessed base and gross conversations. At a drugstore I overheard strangers in a checkout line question how same-sex couples create families. Their tone was snide and cruel.
When one of them turned to me to bring me into their conversation, I told them, “Perhaps same-sex couples created their families the same way I did — at the doctor’s office.” I also pointed out that I doubted any same-sex couples were talking about heterosexual reproductive theories at the drug store …
Because, you see, that’s how interwoven my story can be with the story of my same-sex friends. And the moment when anyone makes a gross or dismissive remark about assisted reproduction for the reason of diminishing same-sex families, guess what: they are looping in not only my friends, but also the children of my friends – be them same-sex or not — AND my child as well. And I don’t understand why anyone would want to do that.
So, any chance I have, to educate and broaden minds about not only the science but also the emotion that goes into the creation of a family with the assistance of reproductive alternatives, I am more than happy to share.
I can’t speak about the ruling from any perspective but as a straight, single parent, but this is how it affects me. The more “we” can celebrate and normalize diverse families, the better off we ALL are. We may all be different combinations of families, but the common core for all of us is love.