On Halloween we were driving from my mom's house to my sister's house to trick-or-treat. I was, as I have been most of my waking hours these days (and some hours when I should not be awake), thinking about Proposition 8, the culture here, and what our options will be. Ultimatums have been given in my family. My parents are becoming increasingly upset with other family, while I'm feeling more detached and resigned about them. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about living here.
I'll not deny my emotions are near the surface here. While I was thinking on this and driving, out from the back seat, Brian says, "I love [my school]; it's the best school ever," and suddenly there's a lump in my throat at the idea of moving him away from his friends and teachers.
But then, he started talking about friends in his school that have divorced parents. One of his good friends is having a tough time with the parent's back and forth. Brian ended by telling us "But you and daddy will never divorce."
"No we wouldn't", I assured him. We promised and have kept it for many more years than most all his friend's parents. He even got to see us do it again in California, and I'm sure we'll always be the other's spouce, come what may. As an explanation for why some people "fall out of love", we told him we work to keep our relationship strong, and this brought us into a whole talk about our responsibilities to our family, and led into a discussion about how, for family, you'll often compromise your desires as an individual to keep the institution healthy (some of the divorces he's known of ended for some less than great reasons, e.g. cheating, desire for "more freedom").
Now, I know there are some good reasons for a divorce; I don't mean to indiscriminately disparage people who've done so. It's just, 6-year-olds aren't known for nuance and I wanted to send the message that a marriage is not something that should be built with an end in mind.
Still, I find it odd no one is out to shelter kids "as young as 5" from being "exposed to learning about divorce in school. At least divorce is something on which you don't need wild theories about how it'll "threaten traditional marriage"; it is literally the end of a marriage. Anyway, here we are having this in depth discussion about families splitting up, about how marriages mean something else for us (not unlike what the pro-prop 8 folks are warning about), and yet no one in Utah, with our higher than average divorce rate, is trying to stop legal divore or such conversations with children using anything near a constitutional amendment. No one I've heard expresses near that much worry about these conversations with their kids, but they worry about talking about my little family, driving around on Halloween?
Isn't that odd? Some people honestly need to have a notion of a person's anatomy before they can decide what's worth promoting to their children in marriage and family? I just have a hard time understanding how that can be.
It's also ironic how easy it actually is to teach your children that some families are different than ours. They get it; it's not hard. Our kids don't know a thing about "gay marriage", and I'm not really sure I know how that's significantly different from "traditional marriage", but they know about marriage. They know our marriage is different; it's different from the terminated unions of some of their friend's parents and of some of our family, but it's not because their parents are gay.
When Brian was done talking about it, Rob said to me quietly, "I just wish everyone would choose a traditional marriage like ours, so that we didn't have to explain this to the kids". :-)
He can always change my mood for the better.
(and we'll be there tonight come rain or snow)