I’m a yoga pants girl who rarely wears makeup. But man do I love a good wedding. Getting dressed to the nines, slipping into some sexy heels, and imbibing all the wine—I soak up every minute. Known for my signature one arm up “woo-hoo!” move (which hasn’t changed since college, but that’s fine), I usually dance until my feet are blistering. And at the ceremony, I always, always cry. There is just something so gorgeously pure about two people saying, “Let’s do this life thing together. It’s probably gonna suck sometimes but I want it to suck next to you.”
The last wedding I attended was my brother-in-law’s. I nearly died at the adorableness of my sons in clip-on ties, and my daughter, who was a flower girl, got to wear lipstick and had never felt more beautiful. It was a night filled with love, not just for the newlyweds, but for all of us.
The event was a lot like every other wedding I’d attended—complete with funny and mildly embarrassing toasts from college friends, a line at the open bar, the DJ blasting some Livin’ on a Prayer, among a few other classics. And, I obviously spilled wine on my dress. It was exactly the night the wedding couple had wanted as they jumped into their forever life together.
But as a frequently un-showered SAHM, I actually spend about .002% of my life dressed up and drinking free wine. Most of my days are spent commiserating with fellow moms in the trenches like Amber Leventry—who is also a writer and mom of three kids. And who, like me, tries her best but sometimes throws her hands up and says whatever while her kids eat dinner naked in a sea of Happy Meal french fries.
I can relate to Amber because she’s hilarious and an incredibly dedicated mother who loves her kids something fierce. Much like my brother-in-law’s wedding was full of that same kind of feel-it-in-your-gut-would-run-through-fire-for-you love.
And the fact that both of these people are gay has nothing to do with it. The fact that Amber is a gay mom really has no bearing on whether she is tired of potty-training or worried that her kid may not have a friend. My brother-in-law marrying a man instead of a woman really doesn’t take away from vows they made to each other to support one another and stand side by side as they journey through life.
I cannot, therefore, wrap my mind around the issue others have when two people love each other enough to say, “I want to be annoyed with your inability to put the toothpaste cap back on forever. That’s how much I love you.” Or “Let’s raise stinky kids together who will poop on us and suck every last ounce of energy from our souls, but we’ll love them anyway.”
Why is this a bad thing? How is it ever a bad thing when parents—any parents— raise their three young children to believe that they are loved, just as they are? Why is it ever a bad thing for two people—like my brother-in-law and his husband—to commit to doing this crazy and sometimes difficult thing called life together?
The real bad things are when people shoot up churches or schools or harm children or animals or damage property or spew hatred. And when these things happen, what do we often say? Where were the parents? What was his/her home life like? And we shake our heads in judgment because someone should have done something. Someone should have been there. Imagine if he had been supported, valued, told he mattered, we might say.
Well, here’s what happened at that wedding last fall. Two people said to each other: You’re supported. You have value. You matter. And the rest of us in the room said it too. And then we danced and laughed and drank wine and spilled it on ourselves, just like any other wedding.
And here’s what happens in Amber’s house. Her children have two moms who love them unconditionally. Two loving parents guiding them, teaching them, showing them what it means to be kind and brave and a good friend.
How is it not better for the world when we all have a circle? How is it not better for our society as a whole to have more people who are healthy and in stable relationships, as opposed to being lonely and isolated? How is it not better for your kids and mine to see grownups show what commitment and promise look like? And to go to school with kids who come from stable homes?
Listen, I know it may not be your “norm” to see two moms raise a family or to see a groom and a groom on the top of a wedding cake. So you’ve got a few choices when it comes to people living their lives differently than you do. For my brother-in-law and Amber, the most preferable response is that you’d be an ally to the LGBTQ community. But they get that not everyone is there and willing to take that stand. Another option that’s a relatively solid plan B is to just see them as people who have found a circle and aren’t alone. Who have said “this is me, world” and whose circle has responded with, “Cool. Welcome.”
And to be grateful for that, because that’s a good thing.