Archive | November, 2006

November 30: The official end of hurricane season

(c) David Rae Morris

In early September photojournalist (and friend) David Rae Morris posted a gallery of his images depicting the One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Like all his work, it is perceptive, revealing, striking, intimate. Visit the Common Ground Collective site for a sense of the work still being done, or the Katrina Information Network page.

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Funny bone

Pops’ intake form at the orthopaedist’s.

Last week I took my Pops to the orthopaedist’s to figure out what’s the story with his 85-yr-old knee bones.

(Q: And this relates to lesbian fatherhood how? The flip answer: I’m a lesbian; he’s my father. So there. The real answer: What I learn from him has a great deal to do with how I approach life, therefore parenthood.)

We were trying to find the office, and he was plubming the increasingly murky depths of his memory to tell me the location of a nearby landmark, from which we’d get our bearings.

Pops: “It’s right across from the hospital, where the road bends.”

Me: “That’s where it used to be, years ago. But remember when we went there a few months ago? Now it’s down the street, past the next intersection.”

Pops (deadpan): “That’s what I meant.”

If it really is Alzheimer’s, and not some ordinary degradation of memory due to age, it’ll take a long time for us to notice, since he elides so many such slips of memory with humor.

“Pops,” I said, “when there’s nothing left of you but your Cheshire Cat smile, there’ll still be your sense of humor. When it’s 2099, long after the nuclear holocaust, and there’s nothing left on this planet but cockroaches and kudzu, there’ll still be your sense of humor.”

We both smiled for at least two blocks.

After which I got to thinking: I’ll have to crowd “a fertile sense of humor” into that list of top parental qualities I was compiling a week ago. So we now have:

  1. unconditional love
  2. abundant patience
  3. a commitment to teach rather than boss
  4. a fertile sense of humor

Being just a touch obsessive-compulsive, I am unsettled by the fact that this list is only four items long. Five, or better yet, ten, would round it out nicely, don’t you think? The mike is open.

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Love rules

Now that's a bumper sticker
As seen on a bumper in Berkeley, CA.

Thanks today to Dana, at Mombian, for “Seasonal Thoughts on the Evolving Family.” In it, she (as did Liza at a few days back) ruminates on a number of contemporary reports about evolving family structures, both as a result of LGBT families’ boundary-stretching, and because of changing practices on the part of heterosexual folk — delaying or avoiding marriage, becoming single parents by choice, and more. In her piece Dana reminds us of something she’d written about in late September, stats I think all “non-traditional” family folk should know, that

Less than 25% of all American families consist of a married, opposite-sex couple living with their own (biological or adopted) children—down from 40% in 1970. (Some of the 15% drop is because of a rise in countable same-sex couples, but not all.)

She goes on to say,

There is a point, moreover, at which these trends impact LGBT rights. One of the reasons voters shot down the amendment to ban domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage in Arizona was that opponents of the ban convinced opposite-sex couples of the constraints the ban would impose on their lives. The more cynical among us may wonder why we should even care about rights for opposite-sex couples, when it is LGBT families that lack equality. My answer is that we have a dual responsibility: creating a world that respects our relationships and families, and creating one that respects those of our children and grandchildren, who may take different paths and form different family structures.

So true. This whole anti-nuke thing (“nuke” here meaning married hetero insular “nuclear” family unit) is way bigger than the self-interest of one LGBT generation. Every glance at the history of the American family across decades and across social classes will show that there have been a great many loving ways to shepherd young people into adulthood, a great many loving ways to assemble into, as Dana boils it down, “a group of individuals bound by love and commitment.”

Her piece also alerts the reader to this essay by Jennifer Gruskoff, one of The Huffington Post’s “Fearless Voices” bloggers. It made me particularly warm and runny, probably because her daughter is treading the Spawn of Lesbians path just a few years ahead of our wee monkey. Gruskoff’s daughter makes a natural choice of love over fear, something I so dearly hope we all succeed in cultivating.

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Move over Courtney Love

(Or Mickey Rourke?) So it’s only olive oil up on there, to help with her cradle cap. But I think she wears the grunge coiff and the paparazzi-friendly attitude quite well.

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