Warning: The next few paragraphs are just streams of thought and garnished with a tinge of sadness. I am completely aware that it’s a jumbled mess and I am throwing a pity party for myself. But…I am anxious right now and I will hurdle this anxiety much sooner if I word vomit.
Most of my life, I was conditioned to the norms of our American society. Men had their jobs to do and women had theirs. My Mom worked hard to build confidence in us to be and do whatever we wanted but she was deeply rooted in the culture that men ate dinner first and had the best of whatever was offered because they worked the hardest. Her mom’s idea of life was “men were to work hard and women were to look pretty”. It’s hard to break out of an ingrained mindset and my Mom works hard at doing just that.
We’re working our best to raise our daughter as gender neutral as possible. I want her to know that she can play with whatever toys she wants and her favorite color CAN be something other than pink or purple. I just want her to believe that no matter what she might be taught by outside forces, that she can be good at math and science… that she can become a Scientist Athlete Artist Princess…if that’s what she wants to be.
While growing up, I never talked much about getting married or having kids. Occasionally, I would talk about what it would be like having kids but I NEVER pictured my life with a spouse or children. I never had a plan or idea of what my wedding would be like because I never thought I would get married. Ever. I pretended so I could fit in but in my mind’s eye, nothing seemed to add up the way it added up for all of my friends. I was told that I needed to act a certain way so I could meet a good man, get married, and have him take care of me. But man…that just didn’t make sense to me. SO, my mantra turned into “marriage and kids? why would I want to ruin my life”. I pretended that getting married and having kids would “cramp my style”. I was a world traveler and these things were not part of my plan.
The truth is, I never thought anyone would love me. I was set on the idea that I would never find anyone to share my life with in a way that made me feel loved and allowed me to love back.
Fast forward to 2007: I’m FINALLY out of the closet (as in not afraid to be myself in front of others) and have rekindled a relationship with one of the smartest people I know…my crush from high school.
Fast forward to 2008: I have finally recognized the unfamiliar emotions that have been creeping up and realized that THIS is what all my childhood friends were experiencing when they giggled about getting married. On October 11, 2008, I proposed…well, she proposed because I got choked up. We buy a house together and crack jokes about how we’ll be perpetually engaged because getting legally married would never happen in our lifetime. For the first time in my life though, I start imagining and planning what my wedding day might be like. And I love it.
Fast forward to 2010: We find out we have an opportunity to adopt our daughter. We find out that only ONE of us can legally adopt. The other of us is in legal limbo. We were able to be present during the pregnancy and in the room the moment she breathed her first breath. Heather rushed to our baby. I stayed with the birth mom and held her hand. Our daughter was a bit too early and spent 2 weeks in NICU. We were there every minute. The adoption was finalized in 2011. Still just one of us are the recognized parent.
Fast forward to October 6th 2014: After a long 10 year battle, same-sex marriage becomes legal in Oklahoma. Scrambling for every available protection under the law for our family…for our little girl, we decide to get married as soon as possible. That day was October 11, 2014. It was just the 3 of us, the Pastor, a photographer, and 2 witnesses. Not exactly the wedding celebration I had been planning in my heart for the last 7 years. But we were married and that’s all that mattered.
Fast forward to June 25, 2015: I’m tumbling in my thoughts today because we are so close to a decision from SCOTUS about marriage equality in the United States. A decision which can solidify the current legal standing I have with my better half OR nullify it. I’m tumbling because had we been able to marry 4 years ago, we could have adopted our daughter together instead of having to adopt her once for one parent and a second time for the “step-parent”. I teared up just typing that.
Working on leaping this emotional hurdle. I am so grateful for what I have and where I am in my life. I feel like a spoiled baby for being sad about these things. I feel like a spoiled baby for wanting a wedding celebration. I feel like a baby for being frustrated about going through another adoption process to legalize something we’ve been all along. I am aware that my journey hasn’t been nearly as difficult as those before me but for the last 922 words, I was able to blow off some negative steam that was fogging up all the blessings in my life.
Now that I’ve put it all out there, I’m feeling much better. I thought about not posting since I am feeling better, but, just in case there’s a kid out there worried about their future…hang on just a little bit longer. The familiarity of being an outcast will lose its grip. Thanks to the patience and bravery of the souls before me, the lifetime wait for marriage equality for the entire nation is just days away. I am grateful.