Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love, Dream, Love

I fell asleep on the couch this morning while nursing Milo. He gets going and the oxytocin hits me, and boom--I'm out like a light.  There's something about the cuddly warmth of a sucking baby that makes you want to sink deeper into sleep; to give into the sleep-deprived urge and just snore away.  But that's totally against all SIDS practices, so the best thing you can do is to doze and wake and doze and wake in an endless cycle that you seem to do unconsciously.

But during one of the wake periods, I had apparently turned the TV onto CNN. I can't remember why, but it was boring, and I fell asleep.

And then I woke, out of a dream, and there were rainbows and people crying.  The TV was blaring, and the Supreme Court had, for once, managed to do the right thing and legalize same-sex marriage.  The TV screamed love at me, and my baby sucked love out of me--and I fell back to sleep.

Somehow, in my sleep, I managed to magically change the channel. I'm talented, like that.

And so, when I woke again, the TV was on CBS, and President Obama was speaking of love.  Love and history, and love and greatness.  I don't remember much of the speech--just the content feeling that flowed through me. I was happy; the rest of the world was happy; and people would get to marry one another.

I'm not gay myself.  Cisgendered, heterosexual is my default jam. But some of my family is gay. Some of my friends are gay.  And my children might be one day, for all I know.

And here's the thing: regardless of the sexual orientation my kids end up being, they won't know any different. They won't understand that humans denied other humans the right to love, and to be joined together in that love under the eyes of the law.  Oh sure, they'll learn. They'll understand at an intellectual level, from schoolbooks and history, but not at the gut level. Never at the gut level, if I can help it.

When I was a child, one of my favorite cousins married an African-American man. That man, is now one of my favorite cousins also. It never occurred to me that people thought there was anything wrong with this: with a white Jewish woman marrying a black Christian man.  They were family; they still are my family.  I was so blind to the idea that anyone could have a problem with this; so isolated as a child from the idea that there had been a struggle for race equality and a fight for a marriage like that to even be possible.

(And sure, we're not at race equality nowadays.  As an adult, I can understand the situation with far more nuance than I could as a child. My heart can bleed for the racial history of this country, and ache to do more, anything more, to overcome the prejudice and disadvantage that this history grants.)

But what race relations was to me in the 1980s/1990s, LGBT rights will be to my children.  They will be evolving. There will still be horrible battles to fight. Things will not be hunky-dory, at least not all of the time. But the idea that love cannot prevail will never be there for them.

Cora asked me today, why my husband and I were celebrating the Supreme Court's decision. And I tried to explain it to her, as simply as you can do for an almost-four year old.

"Well, it means that girls can marry girls, and boys can marry boys, and boys can marry girls," I said.

And she turned to me, smiled, and said, "Oh, ok, we play Little People now?"

Because the idea that you couldn't marry the friends you love, regardless of their gender, had never occurred to her. And that's how it always should be.

(For the record, she currently wants to marry two of her best male friends. I'm raising a future bigamist.=)

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