My youngest son is seven years old and works a skateboard better than most teens. He also enjoys hunting and guns, playing baseball... and reading.
He went this entire season of baseball without striking out and has just finished an autobiography by a World War II vet. We don't know which is more pronounced: his athletic side or his brainy side, but we enjoy them both.
His eleven year old brother, on the other hand, is easier to peg. He is not a sports fan and wears the title of: Nerd, with pride. Not long ago, I heard the following conversation:
Big brother: (pushing his glasses further atop his nose as he pauses in front of the football game on TV)
Running after a ball... I don't get it and hopefully never will.
Lil brother: (eyes never leaving the game on TV)
I'd love to be a professional sports guy.
Big brother: (shaking head left to right and placing a condescending hand on his brother's shoulder)
Just what the world needs, another unproductive citizen.
As a former college ball player, It took all their father had not to comment.
We're your basic Southern family except we are not religious and we live down the street from a lesbian relative.
Cousin Jennifer is a red-headed photographer that loves dogs and all things girly. She also loves her long-time girlfriend, Judy. Judy is a gorgeous brunette who serves in the United States Army.
They are also a fabulous babysitting duo and my children request them anytime their father and I are going for an evening on the town. We have the same rules for them that we would have for a straight babysitting couple:
Just keep the kids safe and no lovey dovey adult stuff in front of them.
It works out very well. They play non-stop games and teach them interesting things. They are obviously crazy about each other and it gives off a very positive energy that my children soak in and release to those around them.
So, even at 7, he understands "Gay." But until recently, we've never had to explain the issue of legality.
Yesterday, I walked into the living room to see him surrounded by all the paper guns he had been making. I saw the finished Civil War book at his feet. He was sitting Indian style in front of his brother who was gobbling down pancakes.
He glanced over at his older brother and then back at me. Something was on his mind. Suddenly, he blurted out:
Mommy, when will Judy break up with Jennifer?
I don't think they plan on breaking up, I replied.
When they do, will she stop being my cousin?
Judy loves you very much, Honey.
I scooped him up to snuggle with him in my lap. I just had to nuzzle that sweet neck while he was still small.
They won't break up, I assured. Why the sudden worry?
His brother chimed in:
Well, I explained to him that gay marriages aren't allowed, here.
I see, I sighed.
I just rocked this little ball of confusion and stared off into space until I felt his warm tear reach my arm. When I realized he was crying, my chest tightened and threatened to burst open.
When his brother heard his little whimper he walked over and did the usual "hand on shoulder", but instead of the expected snark he gently asked:
Why are you crying?
His brother (lifting one little eye from under my arm) whispered:
They made love illegal.
To which his big, brainy brother replied:
Love isn't bad... that law is.
© Amanda G 2010.