Seventeen Years Ago
It was in June, seventeen years ago, that my wife and I decided to have a baby. That was how we thought of it then, as having a baby, our minds not able to wrap around the reality that is the spectrum of childhood you receive with your bundle of joy. Like many young lesbians on the path to pregnancy, we spent endless hours discussing the ins and outs of potential parenthood, wondering if it was fair to bring an innocent child into a family that would bring added complications to an already complicated world.
Luckily we didn't dwell on that nonsense too long, decided that two loving parents was a good enough start to a life, and went for it, producing in November 1991 an 8lb 10oz son, who entered the world kicking and immediately lifted his head to look around at the bright new world that was his. He was the center of our universe.
We were still a little nervous about sudden religious rants in the grocery store line when we decided to have his sister three years later. We'd been holding our breath, wondering when it would happen, the sudden gasp, the recoil, the moue of distaste when someone discovered we were lesbian mothers, yet carrying on, hoping for the best.
Our daughter entered the world in January, 1995, one pound smaller than her big headed brother, and proceeded to become the most beautiful baby in the world, once she got over that initial awkward stage babies go through, when they look like aliens deposited on a strange planet, unable to cope with the new atmosphere. She was travel size, for our convenience, and spent the next five years on my hip or in my lap. Really. She took attachment parenting to a whole new level, and there was no stopping her. She was too cute to argue with.
Then there was preschool, gradeschool, Sunday school (Unitarian-style, so not a problem re: same-sex parents), family gatherings, weddings, graduations and never so much as "you are going to hell in a handbasket."
Our second son was one before we had our first assaultive words. He was on my hip (and roughly the same weight as our daughter at five), when our whole family left the Multnomah County Building with our marriage license in hand on March 3rd, 2004, heading to the church to get married. We were followed by a religious fanatic--who'd been protesting the marriages since dawn screaming "God hates this", "How dare you bring these children here to this filth" and "why don't you marry your dog?" He screamed at us as we scurried down the sidewalk to our car, close enough that his spit landed on us, scaring our one year-old and giving good Christians a bad name.
But that was it for personal attacks--oh, except for the razor blade on the lawn on the morning of our wedding reception, and the dog doo placed strategically at our front steps, though I prefer to gloss over those details. If we can distance ourselves from the letters to the editor, the constitutional amendments barring us from marriage (which are surely character assassination), and the politicians who would use us to garner votes, life has been pretty prejudice free in our little liberal enclave of Portland, Oregon, for which I am so grateful.