When I first read the words, I was sick to my stomach. It worsened as the coverage expanded, as I watched and re-watched the video and awaited the eventual (faux) apology. Nausea then gave way to disgust as I witnessed a serial assaulter attempt to shame his female opponent by exploiting the assaults of even more women.
Yet as this insanity unfolded, my greatest anxiety came from the question on repeat in my head:
How do I raise my son in the age of Donald Trump and rape culture?
I’d been battling a summer cold and was giving my achy muscles a rest, when multiple alerts on my phone roused me from grogginess. At long last, the Supreme Court had ruled to uphold the legality of same-sex marriage! Friends and family were texting, emailing and posting in a celebratory barrage of beeps and tweets.
Yet my relief, excitement and pride were shortly muffled by throbbing sinuses, and I resigned myself to sitting this historic event out. I had been there when DOMA and Prop8 were overturned, we’d been legally married last year, my husband was out of town and I was exhausted from my solo-parenting stint — the reasons to stay in bed were legion. But something (the social media frenzy? live news reports on the TV in the background? guilt?) moved me to maneuver upright and out of bed, where my thoughts became clearer…
This isn’t about you, or about what you have or haven’t experienced. It’s not about living within reach of where it’s all taking place. This is an opportunity to share a moment with your son. A historic moment in the nation’s evolution. A moment relevant to him and his story.
After a shot of Mucinex, I somehow managed to pull it (snacks, water, metro cards, myself) together, picked Jon up from day camp, and we set out on our adventure.
I told my curious and excited 5-year-old we were going on a field trip to the Supreme Court Building. I told him we would get to ride the subway and a taxi, and that the building looked kind of like the Hall of Justice. He was already sold by the how and where, but I needed to explain the why.
Remember when Daddy and Papa got married, and how much fun that was? (Nods) Well, we were able to get married and be a family because it was legal in our state. But there were still a lot of families with two mommies or two daddies in other states that couldn’t get married because they weren’t allowed to. Because it wouldn’t count. (Look of concern) Until today. The Supreme Court is where they decide all the laws in the country, and they said that any two people can get married anywhere and be a family — and they said that was the law just today. So we’re going to celebrate!
So, it’s gonna be… like a little party?
Victory Speeches, Birthday Wishes & Wedding Bells
Exhausted from a very trying week and a half, I stayed up as late as I could to watch election (and Question 6) results last night. I gave up around 11 and trudged upstairs to get ready for bed — and when I came out of the bathroom, the election had been called for Obama. I went to sleep happy about that, but stressed knowing the votes for Question 6 were uncomfortably close.
I woke up around 1am to pee, checked Facebook and started tearing up reading all the posts about the victory for marriage equality in Maryland. And not just general “Woohoo!” posts, but status updates from several friends announcing their intentions to get married in 2013, as well as many, many posts, emails and messages to me personally congratulating our family.
After my 1am nature call/sigh of relief/internal jump for joy, I updated my Facebook status:
Woke up to pee and am now tearing up after checking Facebook and seeing that same-sex marriage will finally be legal in Maryland. Can’t wait to tell Jon in the morning (on his 3rd birthday) that Daddy and Papa are gonna get married!
But at 6:30am (after a very un-fitful night of non-sleep) I was awakened by JJ turning on our light and then loudly whining because Papa couldn’t play with him because Papa had to plunge the toilet and couldn’t find said plunger, so then I had to get up and help hunt for it, as well as appease the cranky (now) 3 year-old and change a very wet diaper. Needless to say, there were no birds chirping sweetly, flitting about and putting wedding garlands in my hair.
But as I was changing JJ’s diaper, I wished him Happy Birthday and told him I had a special birthday surprise for him: Daddy and Papa were going to get married! His reaction was to stare in mild confusion and disinterest. I reminded him he had been to Uncle Baby’s and Aunt Amy’s wedding (which he was too young to remember)… still no reaction. I told him, “You get to be the ring bearer!” <Blinks>
A few minutes later when Papa came downstairs, I asked JJ to tell Papa what I’d told him. I of course had to jog his memory about the whole marriage thing, but when I asked him to tell what he (JJ) was going to do at the wedding, he declared proudly, “I”m get to ring the bell!”
We already have rings, so we don’t technically need a ring bearer. And besides, the image of JJ running around ringing a big, loud bell after his Daddy and Papa say their legal “I Do’s” and become his married dads seems just about perfect.
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Here are a few of my favorite congratulatory messages:
Congrats to Marylanders! Brent & Nick, I am so there when (and if) you decide to get married. Whether it’s a big blow-out like last time or a quiet city hall affair, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Love you both!! And your little boo-boo too!
My old friend Brent is just one of many citizens of Maryland who can finally get married to the person he loves! Let go of prejudice! Gold bless America!
My [Facebook] feed is pretty good for now. A few people have been negative nancies, but not too bad. I have one friend in Maryland who made me teary this morning because he got up to pee in the middle of the night and saw that gay marriage is now legal in his state… he was so happy that he could tell his son today, on his 3rd birthday, that his dads are going to get married. That made me happy.
HUGS!!!! Yay to your family!!!
CONGRATULATIONS my friend!!! Happy happy joy joy!!
I just found out that my brother and his partner of 15 years are now allowed to get married and have a “legal” family with their son. I love and look up to them both so much. They set such a wonderful example and inspiration not as gays but as people who love and make it work every day. They’ve taught me so much over the years and guided me out of my naiveté, to prevent heartache and prolonged drama that plague so many in our community. They deserve the best life and happiness. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.
It’s been a very busy — and milestoney — week and a half.
JJ went trick-or-treating for the first time…
…We hosted his 3rd birthday party for a dozen or so kids (I lost count after a while)…
…I performed “My 2 Daddies (Can Beat Up Your 1)”* at my chorus’ annual retreat… And won the Judges Award!
And tonight is the Presidential election. Hitting even closer to home (literally and figuratively) — a big decision regarding our family rests in the hands of our fellow Marylanders…
That’s a little photo I whipped up for my Facebook page, along with this message:
I realize the vast majority of my Facebook friends support same-sex marriage, but we ALL have family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc. that might not. So if you know someone in Maryland that might be on the fence, feel free to use our family as an example of ones that would benefit/suffer depending on how they vote.
(PS: And in case you question my little “ad,” as exploiting my child for political purposes, it wasn’t US that wanted to put our equality to a vote…)
I had wanted to do a lot more — I even considered swiping a neighbor’s “Vote for 6” sign, seeing as how we had so much going on these last couple of weeks and didn’t have time to pick up our own. But aside from making a contribution early on in the campaign, I think we’ve probably had the most impact by just being a family. Being out there in the community — hosting birthday parties, trick-or-treating, shopping for groceries, taking family walks through the neighborhood. Living our lives as if we ARE married, regardless of what others think or the law books say.
To be honest, my everyday life won’t change much if the law gets overturned. It would be great to have all the protections in place for us and JJ, but many of those we’ve already set in place on our own. What does bother me is if the law gets defeated (as it has once already, and has been in many, many states), is the feeling of being officially and legally rejected in my own state. The realization that when push came to shove and when forced to choose, my fellow Marylanders might decide, nope — you’re not worthy. You’re not good enough. Your son is not deserving of the same security as others.
But I’m hopeful. Americans ARE continuing to rise up and be good human beings. Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, DC and good old Iowa. I’m hopeful because I have to be — it’s part of my job as a Dad.
And oh yeah, JJ’s actual birthday is Nov. 7 — wouldn’t having a couple of married Dads be an awesome birthday present?!?! Fingers crossed, and please vote YES on Question 6!
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*Stay tuned… a recording is being made, and hope to share it with you all soon!
I’ll admit that as a good liberal/progressive, I’ve signed my share of online petitions over the years. But I’ve grown a bit weary as they come at you so hard and fast through every online avenue imaginable. And often with horrendous spelling.
However, I did come across two petitions from Change.org (one of the more reputable sources of online petitioning) that definitely hit home. They relate to Design and Daddyhood, respectively, so I’m setting up the soapbox here at the blog today.
The first is in response to reports of extremely unhealthy immoral conditions at Chinese factories producing Apple products such as the iPad and iPhone. I had initially heard about it on The Daily Show (the juicy part starts at around the 1:50 mark):
These atrocities have also been reported on by This American Life and CBS News. Why does this example of Chinese inhumanity bug me more than others? Because Apple has always touted itself as being different: mindful of the human condition, a friend of the misunderstood genius, and above all a responsible business. I won’t go into all the ways I’ve loved Apple over the years (you can read that here). But suffice it say that I — like any lifelong Mac user, as well as the legion of newcomers to the fold — have come to expect more.
Here’s the blurb I wrote to accompany my signature:
I’ve been using Apple products exclusively since 1990. All my computers, iPod, iPad, iPhone, even AppleTV. When Steve Jobs passed, I was heartbroken. His vision has inspired and motivated me my entire professional life. This is a blight on his memory and goes against everything Apple has ever stood for. Please remedy this immediately or risk losing your reason for existing — your loyal Mac Users.
Read more about the petition, as well as sign, comment and share by clicking the graphic below:
The second petition relates to the long, ongoing battle regarding same-sex marriage, specifically in my state of Maryland. A couple of times we’ve gotten close to becoming the 8th state/district to grant equal marriage rights to all its citizens, but alas have fallen short. The issue has been brought up again by our wonderfully supportive governor, Martin O’Malley, but it’s still going to be a long, arduous process. I implore you (especially you fellow Marylanders) to not only sign this petition, comment, and share it all over Facebook and Twitter, but to contact your local representative to voice your support for my family and many, many others like it who are second-class citizens in this particular area.
Comment posted with my signature:
My partner and I have been together for almost 15 years; more than half of that we’ve lived in Maryland; we’ve been fathers of a beautiful boy for the last 2 years. Please do all you can to help ensure our family gets all of the same rights and protections as every other citizen of this wonderful state!
Read more about this petition and sign, comment and share by clicking the graphic below:
Thanks for your time and support. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…
Mommy networking site Circle of Moms is shining the spotlight on dad bloggers, sponsoring a reader-powered list of the Top 25 Daddy Blogs. The Moms must’ve known how competitive men can be — the list is already long and the votes are racking up.
Being a fledgling blogger, I’m not holding my breath to make it very high on the list. Nevertheless, I’d still love your vote! And better yet, to have you tell all your friends, family, coworkers and strangers you pass on the street about Designer Daddy. The end goal, as always, is more readers! (Okay, it’s really a children’s book deal and a world-famous column on fatherhood, but I gotta start somewhere.)
VOTE HERE! Voting ends April 5.
And thanks, as always, for reading and commenting my ramblings!
(PS: You can vote once a day. Because I know you have nothing better to do than vote for my blog…)