Father’s Day 2014 will hold special significance for my family: we will be celebrating a marriage on the preceding day.
In October 2013, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New Jersey, where my partner Tim and I live with our daughter May, age 9, and dog, Tess. Tim and I had opted to wait to marry until it was legal in New Jersey, because we felt it is important for the marriage to be held in the community where we live and have created a family.
The timing of marriage equality in New Jersey was fortuitous: May had been struggling to establish a clear understanding of her family as a result of being adopted and having a nontraditional family. In a moment of clarity, I saw a way to link these situations together.
Part of our typical weekend routine is that May accompanies me while I run errands, and I look forward to our conversations during the car ride. On one such trip in October, I asked her to help me plan a marriage proposal. She had some crazy, wild and spectacular ideas that come easily to a creative nine-year-old’s imagination (“Fill the house with a million flowers!”). But we decided it would be best at the restaurant where we regularly have dinner. May would create a card asking Tim to marry me, which the server would deliver to Tim at the end of the meal, and champagne would follow, served in flutes that Tim gave me when we first met.
Throughout the meal, May kept kicking me under the table, randomly winking at me, and was giddy with excitement. It was one of the perfect moments of my life: sitting with the man who walked into a yarn store before May’s birth and asked the clerk for simple instructions so that he could knit her a hat and booties before she was born, because, “I don’t want her to miss out because she has two dads,” and the young lady who is the sassy center of our family.
I believe having a child is inherently optimistic and future focused, and yet with everything Tim and I do to help May lead a rich and positive life, we reap the benefits every day. For that reason, when we profess our wedding vows, May will be in the center, holding both of our hands, just as we do when we walk down our street.
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