Some/thing old

pops@nuptials[First in a series for Robin Reagler’s Freedom to Marry Week blog carnival, Some/thing oops! What About Love]

You want old? Old was what my dad was when, over a dozen years after we’d held a weepy-exuberant commitment ceremony in a botanical garden across the bay, my beloved and I were legally married in City Hall in San Francisco. Like, he was four score and seven years old, that’s how old.  (I can’t tell you how disappointed he was to turn 88, simply because he could no longer quote Abraham Lincoln when he answered a question about his age.) 

My dad wasn’t the only old timer in City Hall that summer.  When we went to get our license back in May, the first week same-sex marriages were legal, most every same-sex couple there was way older than the average marrying age. Sure, there were young pups in relatively fresh love, lining up to get some. But most of us were old dogs, to one degree or another.  Many of us had kids along for the ride: babes in baby carriers,  toddlers tumbling underfoot,  ‘tweens, holding rings and beaming with pride.  Some kids were probably so grown I didn’t even realize they were the kids of the newlyweds.  But based on what I saw, both the day we went in to get our license and the day we bum-rushed the rotunda steps to get hitched, the average age of us same-sex “Party As” and “Party Bs” had to be at least a dozen years more than those before — and after — the same-sex nuptials summer of love.

There we were, crow’s feet framing our eyes, salt all in the pepper of our hair. Some with a lot more salt than pepper.  Our partners’ hands, their voices, their foibles, even their capacities for redemption were all very well known to us.  Especially their capacities for redemption.  Else we wouldn’t be there.  The love stories that summer were not so much ones of love in its first tender, brilliant bloom, but love bloomed, and spent, and budded out again, now with deeper roots and thicker branches. 

We married eyes wide open.  So open as to be agog at it all.  Agog  walking into City Hall and finding smiling faces absolutely everywhere.  City employees, hell, random citizens of the city all had elbowed each other out of the way for the opportunity to be part of history — the part where love rose up, if only for a summer.  We were agog at the youngster hetero couples, traipsing up to the counter with such a relaxed sense of — what’s the word? What’s that thing that seemed so unimaginable, so exotic, so utterly unfamiliar?  Ah: Entitlement.

That’s the one thing — the only thing — that was new to us. 

[Here are the other Somethings old at Robin’s carnival.]


fight [next in this marraige equality series: Some/thing new]

7 thoughts on “Some/thing old”

  1. Transferred by LD from reader annz who was foiled when she tried to post this here:

    I just have to say that this sentence:

    “The love stories that summer were not so much ones of love in its first tender, brilliant bloom, but love bloomed, and spent, and budded out again, now with deeper roots and thicker branches. ”

    … is one of your best sentences (and sentiments) ever, IMHO.

  2. LD – A very nice and well-stated tribute to your dad and your marriage. Loved the imagery. And, your sense of detail. Good luck on your 2009 Lezzy Award selection as one of the Top 3 Parenting blogs – I gave you a little plug which will publish tomorrow morning.

    This is a great subject and I enjoyed your take on it.

  3. Many, many thanks, Lori. Robin has the perfect frame here, with the old/new/borrowed/blue theme (what are you doing breaking your break and writing on it? and yet, thank you for doing so!). A gal like me could use a frame, goddess knows.

    Thank you, too, for the plug. Very much an honor. The esteem of a straight-shooting, BS-free gal is a valuable prize indeed.

  4. What’s that thing that seemed so unimaginable, so exotic, so utterly unfamiliar? Ah: Entitlement.

    Aw babe – really? Is that what they were feeling when they went up to get married, these heterosexual couples? I’m thinking that they were feeling much the same thing as you – love.

  5. Oh, love; yes, love, lots of it, and hope, and excitement, and optimism. Maybe nervousness.

    I’m trying to get that single word “entitlement” (a pretty stiff, maybe even arrogant word) to stand in for the big difference between us, and there is one, for all the universal similarities. Their nervousness did not come from a feeling deep inside that went, “Do we really get to do this? Will they really let me?” If you’re entitled to that for your whole life, it might not feel arrogant or stiff, but the feeling of ease, of belonging, is there.

    And “belonging” has a bit less of an accusatory ring to it.

    True enough, though, it’s the thing we share — the love — that I most want us to remember. Thanks for reminding me. (I just don’t want the things we don’t to be forgotten.)

  6. I’ve had this discussion with people on a number of subjects, including (yikes) the sense of dislocation that can occur when you’re a visible minority.

    I know, on an intellectual level, that there’s a tangled snarl at the heart of differences. Do you acknowledge them, even positively, and thusly contribute (in some way) to the separation that is brought on by difference? Or do you become colour, gender and sexual preference blind? I would prefer the latter, myself. But I’m not in one of those minorities, so it’s probably easier for me to say “What colour? What sexual preference?” than it is for someone who is (by some means) isolated from the rest of society.

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