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Friday, December 4, 2009

The new family photo

* this post deserves a new title Christmas cards are arriving already. You will never offend or annoy me by sending one of 'those' Christmas letters filled with adventures and accomplishments, of your kids, of you, of your mother, of your dog. It's all good. I saw the best family Christmas photo I'd seen in years the other day. Story has it, three hours at Target, arranging the three kids, searching for the discount coupon, rearranging the three kids, running home to get the forgotten discount coupon, rearranging the kids again, adding the parents, turned the process into something of an ordeal. But what an outcome! A gorgeous photo. Gorgeous, wonderful, lively family photo. You know those kids from their pictures. Impish, magical, responsible kids. Adorable. A little red hair, a halo of curls, taffeta and velvet for the sweet girl. Boys looking serious, and, sometimes, silly in bowties. I need to ask permission to share a copy here. Check back. These three wonderful children and their parents have turned out some terrific family Christmas photos. I especially like the one where both moms are sitting with the kind of look on their faces that says, "quick! snap it quick! this is the one still moment of the day!" Poland's leading magazine has an adorable baby on its cover this week. With the question, what about homosexuals who want to be parents? I invite Polityka readers to take a look at some of my friends. Not just a look but a long conversation is in order. This is not some impossible lifestyle. It is life. Just life. Family life. Juggling workloads when the kids are sick. Getting sick from the kids. Making dinner. One mom is in charge of tennis lessons. The other mom is in charge of shopping for bows and frills. They clean, they negotiate. They help each other figure stuff out. They both help with homework. I don't know who does windows. They read to the kids and put them to bed, they stay up all night with a sick child. They have birthday parties for the twins that create giggles that won't stop. They go to parent-teacher conferences and school programs and help make exploding volcanoes (okay, that hasn't come up yet but, oh, my friends, it will, it will!). It's a family. Three kids, two parents, both of whom happen to be moms. They love and nurture, feed and clothe, laugh and discipline, hold and hug their children. As I do. As my husband does. What's not to work? Life in America has changed. I have many such friends, most of my friends have many such friends or acquaintances. It's life. Poland is finally struggling honestly and assertively with gay life. This magazine cover -- adorable baby or no -- is challenging and disturbing to many. More than it would be here by now. It took us awhile. It is still taking us awhile. Not every Target photographer is so nonplussed and accepting of two moms showing up with their three kids in tow. Or two dads with their brood. But now sexual orientation is a protected human right in this country. The way I see it, if the Poles could get rid of communism, they can surely change their culture, their hearts and minds about homosexuality. Homophobia makes people act in ways that would otherwise embarrass and upset them. Long-term vendettas, family fractures, church splits, blackmail, and bullying still plague us. Prejudice, derision cause us to be childish. We're not any of us where we want to be. But I saw a vision of that new world in Palm Springs last year. Gay couples being as properly affectionate in public as my husband and me. We kissed goodbye in the parking lot of the restaurant as we go our separate ways. We held hands. So did the gay couples we were with. And I'm not talking the fake kiss on the cheek, I'm talking lip-smacking, "love you, see you later," kiss. I cried. It was a beautiful sight. Right there on main street in front of God and everybody. Normal. Normal. Haven't seen too much (well, really, not any, none at all) of that here in Littleton lately. But it will come. It will happen. And, I hope the next related cover I see on a Polish magazine has an affectionate family, three darling children and their two dads. It will happen. Keep those cards and letters -- and especially those great photos -- coming, friends. I love seeing you with your kids. In all of the variety those families are configured. Just don't pinch the kid's cheeks to make her smile. "Mice twice" seems to work magic for photos around here.