Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marriage as a word

I'm 9 years into a marriage now and wondering why there is all this argument over the rights of people to be married, rights for marriage to be recognized, etc.

I think everyone's missing out on the more meaningful words, which are 'partner' and 'partnership'. Nine years into marriage, and it's the partnership that is most important to me. I remember about a decade ago I was working one day and one of my colleagues said she had met a former classmate and her 'partner' over the weekend. That kind of set me immediately wondering if this person's 'partner' was male or female. Because surely, if it was her boyfriend, wouldn't you just say 'boyfriend'? Or, fiancee? Why use partner unless you are struggling for a way to describe something? Or maybe they're living together but not married, because then you'd say 'husband' or 'wife' - for some reason it seemed weird to describe a spouse as someone's partner. I was engaged at the time - and for some reason would not have thought to describe my this person I was planning to join my life with as my 'partner'.

It wasn't always so complicated. When I was a child in school, we were always encouraged to pick partners. We 'partnered up' - we had partners for walking down the hall, partners for homework and reading and activities in gym class. We didn't choose husbands or wives, or girlfriends - we chose partners. It didn't matter whether you chose a boy or a girl - of course most people chose a same-sex partner, because there was quite a stigma to being partnered up with someone of the opposite sex. Heaven forbid all your friends tease you for having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Today I am watching an interview with a same-sex couple and the discussion, as it always does - turns to the definition of marriage, etc. They weren't in favor of having any name other than marriage for their partnership. They said - it's like in the past where the white people and black people couldn't drink from the same fountain, sure everyone gets water but the point is not to let the black people taint the water from the fountain for the white people. And it is the same with marriage, by giving it a different name, you're separating because you fear that the word marriage will be tainted by the same sex couples using it.

I completely disagree, I don't think there is any taint to using it. I just think a better more accurate word is in order. I'm very attached to the word 'marriage' to describe my relationship with my husband, because its something I did in a Church before God, and actually according to my belief system - it means a partnership between myself, my husband and God. That is what it means to me, but of course I understand it's completely different for other people. There are plenty of marriages out there where God is not the third partner, and I don't think that 'taints' my marriage. Whatever - that's MY definition, and I don't expect everyone to use it the same way I do.

What is becoming more clear to me as the years go by is that the partnership is most important - without that, do you really have a marriage? How many married people would describe their spouse as a partner? We're worried that the definition of marriage is being tainted - what about partnership? It doesn't matter who you choose, but rather by how you behave as a partner. Building strong partnerships will strengthen the definition. What if we started to really think as partners, and to make a commitment (hopefully lifelong) to this partnership?

Maybe we need to ditch the arguments about marriage and the definition. It means different things to different people, and I don't think it's the government's business to define or change it. But it is the government's business to recognize partnerships - and to treat all people the same regardless of who they decide to partner up with. So, let's just all pick a partner. And if you would describe your partnership as a marriage because you had a wedding, then good for you, whoever you are. But if it's just this word we're all arguing about, I have to wonder if maybe what everyone really wants is a partner, and a partnership. They want their partnership to be recognized by the government and respected equally. It's just like when we were in school - choosing a partner doesn't in any way imply whether you should be picking a boy or a girl. We need to use a word like that. It seems to be more fitting than marriage, anyway.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The month of MAY

So, obviously Evan is being five months old for most of this month, and it's a busy one. We had that trip to Minot, several birthdays for Madeleine, Mother's day, Evan's baptism, and our first trips to the lake for the year. Oh, and this other little project, which is actually so big, it deserves its own post.

Madeleine seems to think that turning eight has made her into a babysitter, so she's gone from holding him on the couch, with supervision - to picking him up and carting him around with her everywhere. He doesn't seem to mind at all - he's getting sick of laying in the same place and no longer cares who picks him up as long as he is up. I'm still trying not to have a heart attack every time he's not where I left him last.

The weather's getting nicer and so we have been out with the stroller a few times, it never fails that Evan will fall asleep before we get home. I am not sure if it's the stroller or being bundled up so tight but I guess we'll find out when it warms up.

He put up with the whole baptism thing, actually sort of acted like he was interested for some parts of it. Didn't scream until we wanted to take family pictures at the end. So that didn't happen.

I do have an update on Evan's size and weight since he went for another round of immunizations and was weighed and measured by the health nurse. He was pretty friendly with her, so he must forget how these visits end. He was 18 lbs, 2 1/2 oz on May 6, 26 1/2 inches long.

He's not rolling over yet, I can't remember when babies are really supposed to do that - I am sure he could if he put his mind do it, but he's just not that into it. He somehow manages to rotate himself around on the floor so his feet are where his head was ten minutes ago, but he hasn't bothered rolling. I can only assume it's because he hates being on his belly, so why would he put himself that way on purpose?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

We spent Mother's Day out of the country - we went to Minot, ND for the weekend because there's a hotel there with a waterslide park and a mall attached, and a Target in the mall, and a Wal-Mart that is open 24 hours, and that is a good combination of things for a weekend away with the kids.

Unfortunately, the hotel always makes us check out at noon on Sunday, and we weren't nearly done with the shopping and all of that - which means that we spent the afternoon hauling 4 kids around the mall with us. I sent the oldest 3 with my husband to the food court for something to eat and to play in the kids' room, and I took the baby and ran through a few stores madly grabbing things while he slept soundly. I got to the checkout in the first store with an armful of ridiculously cute and cheap baby clothes to find that I didn't have my credit card, I'd left that with my husband at the other end of the mall.

And the day just carried on like that - we ran around like crazy with the kids in tow, in and out of the van, from store to store. Evan had a blowout diaper in Wal-Mart and I had his diaper bag and a clean outfit but no wipes. And three little girls running around the public washroom with huge lengths of paper towel trying to 'help'. Just stuff like that which is only made better by people constantly saying "Happy Mother's Day" to me wherever we went because it was likely obvious that I was the mother of all these kids, because nobody in their right mind would willingly take someone else's offspring shopping all day. Despite all that, we managed to get everything on the list, and even got Madeleine's ears pierced, we fed everyone and packed the van and were out of the city by 5:00. Not bad!

Madeleine started making the cringe face before they even touched her ears -
and then suddenly, it was done!

So, we loaded up the van and headed across the border (where once again, I fumbled on the question of how many kids we have, and Serge laughed at me, again) and they don't stop us for long at all because it just seems like too much trouble, which is right - and that is good. We made it back home by 8:00 and droppped in to say Happy Mother's Day to Memere, and threw our filthy kids in the shower to clean them off for school tomorrow, and cleaned Madeleine's earrings and phoned Grandma to say Happy Mother's Day to her, too, and got everyone in bed, and that was good, too.

I wanted to just relax but a trip like that leaves a pile of laundry waiting to be done and a pile of shopping bags stacked on the kitchen table - so I started to get at that when I noticed a big juice box wrapped with duct tape and an envelope that says "Happy Mother's Day" on the outside. I had to take the chance that it was for me. And, inside...

Now, just to figure out how to work the thing! I'm so excited! I can only assume it is to block out the kids if I have another day like I had today! YESSSSSS!!!