I will be honest, I was initially worried about the types of questions I would have to answer or address when taking my kids to a wedding ceremony for someone close to me, who happens to be gay. I soon realized that my worries were unfounded. My kids are 8 and 5, and even the way that they perceive same-sex marriage will differ between the two of them.
When asked about what she thought about two men marrying one another, my 8-year-old said that she thought it was “weird.” However, she couldn’t explain why it was weird. Considering how much she has not seen examples of same-sex couples on TV or even in real life, her use of “weird” just meant something unknown to her. Even at her young age, she has friends and family who have lived through divorce. This causes me to ask myself whether it is more important to me that my daughter feels like who she loves is conditional, or that love knows no bounds? When I think about it, my marriage to her mother had only been legal nationally for 37 years on our wedding day. However, that is another conversation.
I took a moment while my daughter was entranced by the grooms during their first dance at the reception to consider what it truly was she was experiencing. She was witnessing two loving and supporting families coming together to celebrate the union of two people who love and adore one another. She saw smiles, dancing, heard words of affection and affirmation from both sides of the family. What she witnessed was love.
Meanwhile, my five-year-old will grow up assuming all of this is normal, because one of two weddings he has ever been to was a between two men.
I have been married for 11 years, but I’m still hurt that some of my immediate family made the choice not to attend my wedding, or to be in my life after that day. This wedding between two individuals who have committed to love and to support one another was a beautiful event. Both families stood with them in support.
So many marriages end tragically, and leave torn families and broken kids in the wake. So many fall in and out of love with people and smartphones at the same rate. So many kids think it’s normal to celebrate the holidays twice with both parents. Who are we to restrict when, where, and how love is discovered?
In the subsequent conversations with my 8-year-old, she appeared to have realized that when two people are in love, they commit to one another forever. They dance. They kiss. They have toasts made to them. Where there are two, and where there is love, that is where happiness is.