A Family By Any Other Name...
August 30th, 2003
I sat on the beach today and watched a little family a few feet in front of me playing in the sand and the surf. The little boy was about a year and a half, maybe two years old and obviously adopted as he was black and his two daddies were white.
I've seen them at the beach before, running and playing and jumping up and down in the water and then lying down on their towels to eat and rest. At one point today, the little boy went running up to one of his dads who was lying on his back on his towel and threw himself over the top of him, squeeling with delight as he bounced off of his dad's tummy and then crawling back up again and lying there for a few minutes, running his hands through his daddy's hair and whispering in his ear; laughing and grinning and talking silliness before racing off to play in the water again.
It totally melted my heart to see them having so much fun - I can't remember the last time I saw a kid so in love with his parents and so adored in return.
After a short swim in the ocean, the little boy laid down on the towel between his two daddies and fell sound asleep for the better part of two hours, not moving a muscle until it was time to go. After a lot of work to wake him up, he crawled up into one of his daddies arms and was carried from the beach still half asleep - his little arms wrapped safely around his daddy's neck.
I don't care what you call it, this was love. This was a family. This was two guys in a relationship who chose to take a child into their lives - a child who was probably unwanted by most everyone else. I thought to myself over and over how lucky this little boy was to have two guys who were willing to give him a home and love and a fun time at the beach.
While much of the country argues over what marriage and family means, here are two guys and their son, living and being a family. Without waiting for anybody else to say it's OK or get the definitions worked out for them, they've gone ahead and made the world a better place by creating a family and bringing a child into it where he can be loved and cared for.
As the three of them left the beach, behind them was another beautiful little family strolling along at the water's edge - again two daddies but this time with three small children in tow, two of them black and the other one white; two boys and a little girl.
Were they a family?
Oh yeh, because I heard the words "Papa and Daddy" ringing out over the pounding surf.
Maybe for the time being, gay men for the most part will have to content themselves taking in the kids that nobody else wants. But those kids need homes too and I don't think they much care whether you or I call them a family or whether their dads are legally married. All those kids probably know at this point is who is loving them, feeding them and tucking them safely into bed at night. If that isn't love and if that isn't family, I don't know what is.
We can argue till the cows come home about what constitutes a marriage and a family, but in the meantime, marriage and family will continue to be defined by the love that sourrounds them and by what they are, rather than what they're not.
Family is as family does and today I saw two of them doing it beautifully. What more could we possibly hope for?
From the water's edge in Laguna