I don’t have small children to torment, but I still have a creepazoid Elf on the Shelf named Jeepers… As in Jeepers Creepers.
Even Max knows to sleep with one eye open when he’s around.
While most of my Twitter and Facebook feeds have been aflutter with remembrances of those lost to HIV and AIDS in honor of World AIDS Day, once again I’ve been hit head on with both happiness and sadness today.
Today would have been my grandpa (Buster)’s 82nd birthday.
During the last birthday he celebrated, he turned 76.
How could 6 birthdays have passed without him blowing out his candles, saying, “Dangnabbit!” as my grandma tried to help him cut the cake, or giddily opening his presents like a small child?
When he passed away in April 2008, we discovered a metal box filled with slides from old family slideshows. They were messily thrown into the box, with absolutely no logic or order, but neatly dated and labeled.
My favorite slide was the one featured above. It read “Bill & Llama” on the top, with “Bill on left” written below the image. Amongst our grief, we found laughter. This slide was the epitome of Buster’s humor.
So, on every December 1st, I don’t think of World AIDS Day or sadness. I think of my grandpa, Buster, and the laughter he brought into my life for 18 years.
I think of llamas.
Happy birthday, Buster. I love you.
I was at a family party today for the first time since I became engaged to V, and I was told to expect questions from my two younger cousins, as they were curious about me getting married.
So, when I started playing a game with them, I braced myself for the questions two girls, ages 10 and 5, would have about two girls getting married.
The 5 year old told me how her birthday party was minion themed because it’s her “favorite movie EVER!!” I mentioned that Despicable Me is one of V’s favorite movies, and she grinned, looked at her big sis and me, and said, “That’s your– what’s the word (10 year old)? Peeancé?” Her big sis corrected her, and the 5 year old turned to me. “What’s your fiancée’s name? The one with the white shirt and the haircut?” I told her, and she smiled and continued playing the game, informing me it was my turn. We continued playing, and nothing more was mentioned.
Then, out of nowhere, the 5 year old stated, “Two girls can get married!” I smiled, and her older sister pointed to my ring and said how pretty it was. The 5 year old said it was sparkly, and then said it was her sister’s turn.
That was that.
I had the pleasure of participating in OctPoWriMo in October, and today I received an amazing playful poetry pack I won in the raffle for participating.
It was such a fun– and therapeutic– month. It’s been a long time since I’ve consistently written anything, let alone poetry, and it was so nice to play along!
It was especially interesting to me to be prompted to write about a certain topic or in a certain style. As an educator, I often find myself asking my students to write about certain topics or in certain styles. Being told to write a certain way myself actually helped me sympathize with the complaints I receive from my students. OctPoWriMo has made me a better person and teacher.
Thank you so much to Morgan Dragonwillow and the rest of the brains behind OctPoWriMo not only for my amazing playful poetry pack, but for the wonderful experience October offered me. I cannot wait until next October.
Initially, I started writing a post on how today being the first day for gay marriages in New Jersey to be legal was bologna, and how I wasn’t holding my breath. I intended to politely continue writing about how Chris Christie views me as someone absolutely not worthy of his time, and to list all the different ways Chris Christie has dehumanized me over the past few years, as well as how I imagined he would continue to dehumanize and bully me over the next few months.
All of my plans and thoughts came to a sudden halt when one of the most unexpected things in the world happened today:
Gov. Chris Christie has announced that he will drop his legal challenge to same-sex marriage.
A spokesperson for the governor issued a note, saying,
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law. The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
I’m still in a state of shock right now. I’ve had tears in my eyes all afternoon since I heard the news on my lunch break. I’ve been struggling with coming up with a metaphor to describe the shock I’m feeling, but I cannot put into words the mixture of emotions. I’m relieved. I feel like a rug has been pulled out of my feet. I’m shaking. I feel like an actual member of society. I feel dehumanized for having to feel this way to begin with. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel slightly (okay, more than slightly) freaked out that I’m in a committed relationship that could actually end up in an actual marriage, not a commitment ceremony, domestic partnership, civil union, or “roommates” on census papers.
I never thought I’d say the following words in a context outside of Hurricane Sandy, but I have so much respect for Gov. Chris Christie right now. (Notice how I’m even writing about him with his official title– that hasn’t happened in ages!)
As a human being, he is doing the right thing.
He may not like me as a teacher/gay/registered Democrat/middle class worker, but I think I have the right to be treated with the respect and politeness I was raised to treat others, like himself, with.
He has the right to disagree with gay marriage, just like I have the right to disagree with his stance on public education and unions.
We’re allowed to disagree, but, as my rule in my classroom states, we should do so respectfully.
I appreciate that Gov. Christie is stepping aside to let the people of New Jersey do the talking, even if he doesn’t agree with what they’re saying.
So, Gov. Christie, I thank you. I thank you for keeping my homestate a state I can love, and for showing that, even if you don’t love the idea of same-sex marriage, you love the people of your state enough to listen to them. I thank you for making me feel like a human being, not a freak of nature. I thank you for opening conversations, and I thank you for getting individuals, like yourself, who I’d never envision listening to a different opinion to listen to what others have to say.
I thank you for having a love for New Jersey because your love of the Garden State is allowing me to love my love in a place we both love.
Thank you, Gov. Christie, for making a tough decision and going against your own beliefs for “the right thing.” I appreciate it.