A Tale of Two Uncles

In light of US v Windsor we are posting this poignant piece by Stephanie Sprenger regarding her family's views on gay marriage.  For more information about the case in the SCOUS there will be a link to Huffington Post at the end of this piece.

 Post by Stephanie Sprenger @ Mommy, For Real
My daughter turned six this year, and there were a whole handful of topics that I kept waiting to come up that never did. The “tricky” conversations, like, “Where exactly did my baby sister exit your body?” and, “How precisely did she get IN there?” or maybe even, “Why does Daddy pee standing up?” or “Why do I have so many grandmas?” I was certain, with her constant chatter and never-ending curiosity, that we would be broaching these delicate subjects sometime soon, but I never wanted to push the “serious” discussions before it was time.
Somehow, forcibly initiating the conversations seemed inauthentic; whenever I envisioned myself casually saying, “Hey Izzy! Do you know what “divorce” means?” over a nice cherry popsicle, it didn’t feel right. So I waited.
There was one more conversation looming that hadn’t been brought up yet: the gay uncles. I really hadn’t the vaguest idea how my daughter would pose the question: “Hey Mommy, I get that Uncle Brian is your brother, but why is Brandon my uncle, too?” or maybe, “Why doesn’t Uncle Brian have a wife? Why does he live with Uncle Brandon?”
Truth be told, I had no clue whether or not she “got it.” The uncles were together.  And I had no idea if it was important for me to bring it up with my first grader, or if it was one of those things that didn’t need an official sit-down. Here’s one thing I was certain of: it sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those “things we don’t talk about.” The two uncles are an important part of our family, and my daughters will grow up supporting gay rights. But when? When would we teach her about gay marriage?
Then one day, the opportunity naturally presented itself. As we cruised down the highway to school in the morning, my little reader, with her infinite creativity, began reading the exit signs aloud. “What if Kipling and Ward got married?” she began, inventing her own interstate love story. “Which one do you think would be the boy? Kipling or Ward? Is Kipling a girl’s name or a boy’s name?”
I saw my moment, and I seized it.
“What if Kipling and Ward were both boys?” I asked her tentatively. “Could they still get married?”
“No, “ she said dismissively.
“Actually, yes, they could,” I replied, ignoring the nauseating legal technicality that in our state, no, they couldn’t. Not the point, however. “Boys can marry boys, and girls can marry girls, if they love each other.”
“Oh yeah,” she said slowly. “Like Uncle Brian and Uncle Brandon!”
Yes, I thought. She does get it.
“Did Uncle Brian and Uncle Brandon have a wedding?” she asked, “With flowers and music?”
“No,” I answered, “Not yet. But maybe someday they will.”
My younger daughter is not yet two, and such questions would never occur to her. In fact, she seems to think they share the same name. I was curious why she only talked about “Bandon” and never mentioned my brother, so one day, as she sat between them on the couch, I asked her, “Where’s Uncle Brandon?”
She looked slowly back and forth between the two of them, unable to respond, her mind having thoroughly been blown. Given the fact that my brother is 6’4, bearded, and as white as humanly possible, and his partner is average height, clean shaven, and black, it would be hard to imagine she has somehow mixed them up. Rather, she appears to perceive them as one entity. In her tiny brain, her uncles are united.
Since our illuminating car ride discussion, the uncles have become engaged. They plan to get married in two years, after Brandon finishes grad school. I can only hope that by the year 2015, our state legislation will have caught up with the benevolent, intuitive brain of my toddler.
For more information on the Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 as an affirmation that marriage is a state-level issue, check out this Huffington Post article.
THE EPISTOLARIANS

30 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I second that, Jenn! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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  2. It is funny how kids understand complicated topics.

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    1. Isn't it? I am envious of their brains sometimes...

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  3. Hi,

    If everyone understood and loved as a child does---this would be a great peaceful world.

    I wish your brother much happiness and thanks for sharing this information with me.

    Bobbi Purvis

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    1. Thank you Bobbi- and you are so right about that first sentence!

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  4. Oh love how you explained this to Izzy, Stephanie and you truly nailed it. And congrats to your brother on his engagement.

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    1. Thanks Janine! So glad you stopped by to read it!

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  5. Great post! MN just passed marriage equality last month. When I told my daughter about what the new law would mean, she was not at all phased. I think, like with your littlest, it's just intuitive to them that it's about love. {Though she did say to me that she would marry her brother, and I told her she couldn't, and her immediate comeback was, "But you said they made it so you can marry whoever you love!!!" Harder to explain why that one will always be illegal!}

    Great post for a great day :)

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    1. Ha! That's so funny, Sarah! They always manage to find some holes in our logic, don't they?

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  6. Congratulations to the Uncles. Congratulations to us all. xo

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    1. Well put. Cheers to that, Jean!

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  7. Love this, Stephanie. That both your daughters understood in their own ways. Because you have to teach hate and discrimination, you know? It doesn't come naturally.

    It's a great day to be human. Congrats to your brother and his partner on their engagement!

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    1. It is SO a great day to be human! And thanks!

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  8. This is one of the best posts ever. In the history of posts. Sorry for the hyperbole, but I have to agree with myself here. As you would say I'm blown away. I also love Deb's comment above. SO true. It's discrimination that is taught whereas acceptance comes naturally. Wonderful piece!

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    1. Well, I happen to be a big fan of hyperbole, so... And thanks, friend! I too love Deb's comment. (I do say your posts blow me away a lot, don't I? Well, again with the hyperbole...but always so true!)

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  9. This comment is from my mom: She tried to comment but couldn't because she's a regular person without a url or a Google account.
    Ahem- from Chris-

    "I'm not sure exactly what to say to this fabulous post. Love and kudos to my husband, son, partner, son-in-law, daughter, and granddaughters who envelope love and understanding."

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  10. I was all set with my comment until I read your mom's comment which is, well. Perfect. Perfect in every way. In fact, I wasn't teary throughout (more like a "YES!!!" WHEN will the world get that gay and color and disabilities and and and -!- DO NOT matter")...and then I read your mom's comment. And got teary. Discrimination against anybody cuts me to the core. It always has but since I now have a son who is on the autism spectrum and have already experienced discrimination and dismissal by people who don't even know him...

    Well. I can only say that children are better than some adults are. Prejudice is taught. It is not ingrained. Sexual orientation and skin color and hair color and which hand we write with and age...we're all just here. Trying to find love. To anybody who finds it? Yes. Celebrate love. Celebrate life. Celebrate that we are all more alike than different.

    Stephanie, this might be my favorite ever.

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    1. And that comment might be my favorite ever! You warm my heart, pal... :)

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  11. The discussion of delicate topics with children can only be handled with honesty. I've seen more parents only confuse their children by pushing it away, which only gives it a taboo feeling. Why make something right so wrong when being honest about it answers the question about it? Well done!

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    1. Thanks so much for that fantastic comment, Rich! I agree- anytime you make a subject taboo with children, you have done a disservice to your whole family.

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  12. Steph,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It's no small thing, this moment of seeing the uncles as one entity because of love. The day can't come soon enough when this reality is as casually held as knowing the world is not flat.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad you got to read it, and thanks for that beautiful comment, Corey. It means a lot to me.

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  13. Being one with many wonderful friends who are gay and in committed relationships, this is lovely, not to mention timely. My children have grown up not even questioning, they just seem to understand that some people belong together regardless of their gender.

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  14. I love that! I hope future generations will have more and more children who grow up that way.

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  15. Yay! More reason to celebrate! This week has been amazing! Thank you for adding to it.

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  16. Love it! What an incredible week - hopefully soon all 50 states will follow suit.

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  17. I love that your 2yo sees them as one entity! I remember things like that with mine, and how mind blowing it is to take a minute and just try to think like they do!

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  18. I love that my boys have always seen the couples in our family - all the couples- as one entity. To me, it shows how connected our individual families can be, how united. That's powerful stuff. I think it's the bond that helps us have grace with one another when we might be frustrated with one person or another. When we are connected as a family we take all the good with all the bad because they are our family- simple as. This was beautifully written. My oldes is now 9.5 and just asked me what gay was last week. I told him and he said, "Huh. That's different. But different's cool, so I think that's cool." Why can't everyone take things in stride like that?
    Well done and bravo!
    Vicky
    www.thepursuitofnormal.blogspot.com

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  19. It is not my purpose to get into a religious discussion here, I only site the on top of because it tends to illustrate my earlier point of a gay lobby and a strong "gay agenda.

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Well now that you're all up in our business...what have you got to say for yourself???

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