abracadabra

me, in my head: Maybe if I just give up and lie down, dinner will appear.

Dennis, aloud: I’m going to go get us dinner!

me: IT WORKED

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true

There are a lot of things true love is, and here are just two of them:

True love is sending your exhausted husband home from the hospital overnight because there’s no sense in both of you going without sleep, and never regretting it during the long, lonely, sleepless night.

And true love is sitting in that rumpled hospital bed in the faint light of morning, hours before he could possibly be planning to return, hearing distant footsteps two corridors away, and knowing those are his footsteps, coming straight to your room.

 

family values

Perhaps because our household has a landline and is therefore Officially Old, we’re getting dozens of calls a week aimed at a conservative “Family Values” voting contingent. I always let the robo-caller play through in hopes that at least I’m keeping them busy for 90 seconds, and I always answer the surveys and push-polls. The thought that my unexpected, unwanted response makes a tiny bump in their data pleases me. And if there’s an actual human on the other end, I always — always — let them know that my values are family values, just not the kind they espouse.

So let’s talk about Family Values. I’m tired of that phrase being claimed solely by conservative forces. I have a family, and I have values, and my Family Values are just as valid as anyone’s.

I value education. I value science. I value equality for all our citizens regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation. I value cultural diversity. I value my rights as recognized — not given, not bestowed, recognized — in the Constitution. I value freedom of religion — including freedom from religion. I value civil discourse, even about inflammatory issues. I value individual reproductive rights, including the right to choose abortion. I value equality and freedom.

This election season, local ads from anti-equality committees frantically urge us not to let the upcoming vote “redefine marriage.” I’m quite pleased that they’re framing the issue that way. See, I’m all for for periodically redefining marriage, and I bet most Americans feel the same way if they really examine the historical and ongoing redefinition of marriage.

Think of how our laws have redefined marriage just in the the past century. Married women now have the right to own property and to maintain their own bank accounts. Single adults can legally and readily obtain birth control. Spousal rape is now a prosecutable offense rather than a right or a punchline.

That last one particularly stands as a shining example of “redefining marriage”. Until the mid-1970s, there was no process or statute by which to prosecute a spouse — even an estranged spouse — for rape. The marriage license constituted an exemption (in many statutes, an explicit exemption) from rape prosecution; it was a license for even an alienated spouse to force intercourse upon their partner. As recently as 1993, North Carolina upheld this exemption from prosecution for marital rape. In a generation, our nation as a whole has transitioned from explicitly permitting spousal rape to making it a criminal offense. This is a vast shift in our understanding of consent, sexuality, and privileged entitlement, and a redefinition of the rights and responsibilities bestowed by marriage.

Every time we update our outmoded marriage statutes, we make strides for greater equality. It’s appallingly improper to let civil rights be decided by popular vote, but if this vote — this “redefinition” — helps to shift the tide for progress, then let’s do it.

pancakes: a dream

A dream:

In the dream, The Fella and I decided quite practically and happily that we should each marry again, adding another husband and another wife to the marriage. The very straightforward dream reason: the more people in the marriage, the greater the likelihood that at least one spouse would be in the mood to make pancakes for all of us on a given morning. (Perfectly sensible, you have to admit, and as good an argument for polygamy as I’ve heard.)

Everything went swimmingly, without envy or rancor, right until my dream-fiancé and I started talking about vows. He (and I’m sorry, fictional dream second husband, your features and character made no impression on me at all) started trotting out the classics about love and forever, and I quite plainly saw that I could not possibly marry this other husband…

… because I love The Fella in a way I never knew was possible, and there’s no one else I can love like this — no matter how many pancakes he would make me.

tradition

A note for those reluctant to “redefine traditional marriage” — we do it all the time. Here’s a timeline for some changes to remove civil and personal inequities in the marriage law.

An actual “traditional marriage” would deny legal personhood to the wife, allow spousal rape, and deny the right to interracial marriage, among other tragedies. We as a society saw the injustice in these laws, and changed them accordingly. It’s time to do it again.

A tradition of institutional oppression is nothing to defend.

an ever-fixèd mark

In brief, since I do
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any
purpose that the world can say against it; and
therefore never flout at me for what I have said
against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my
conclusion.

It’s true! The Fella and I are making it official: we’re engaged to be married.

In the recent months, The Fella and I have had some discussions about us, about marriage, about commitment and family and forever. We had come to a happy, informal understanding about The Future.

And then, as he always does, he managed to surprise me.

Amazing: after our earnest talks, and with our future equitably (and, some would say, unromantically) decided between us, the moment retained a luster of surprise and magic.

After he proposed, a moment passed while I silently gawped and got teary-eyed…

.. and then I noticed that he was anxiously awaiting the answer.

I suppose that, in the deep recesses of my brain, I thought the balanced, intelligent decisions we had made along the way would strip the sparkle from the moment. It delights me no end to see how wrong I was. In the moment, all our sensible talk washed away, leaving only sensibilities: I was stunned, and he was nervous.

Love is crazy.

For Gaoo, who is sure to ask: the opening blockquote is Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, and the title is from Shakespeare’s sonnet 116:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Its aptness for us is hard to overstate: so far, our relationship has unwaveringly weathered death*, depression, illnesses and traumas of varying degrees, chronic pain (and its attendent crankiness), post-traumatic stress disorder, richness, poorness, something borrowed, something blue… oh, wait.

If it’s feasible to work sonnet 116 into our vows, believe me, it will be done — not only to acknowledge the love of Shakespeare that finally brought us together, but because I would dearly love to intone “Edge! Of! Doom!” during the ceremony.

*Um. Not ours. Obviously.