Lucky Thirteen With TheAngelForever

Lucky 13 With TheAngelForever People don’t usually think of thirteen as a lucky number, but today it is.  Thirteen years ago today, I became the luckiest man in the world because B said "I do."  The actual day is a blur.  I know that I walked up an aisle.  B circled me a few times during the ceremony while our mothers lifted her train – practically causing her to moon everyone.  I believe food was served, but I know we didn’t get to eat any.  Many people congratulated us, but I don’t remember any actual conversations.  Many photos were taken and much dancing was done.  In the end, we were exhausted.  Happy, but exhausted.  The next day, we were off to Disney World for our honeymoon.

In the years that followed, we’ve enjoyed life together, welcomed NHL into the world, learned the ins and outs of being parents, said hi to JSL for the first time, watched our kids grow up before our eyes, have geeked out together as often as possible, and have spread our wings on social media together.  These past thirteen years have seen the most stressful days of my life.  (Thank you for nothing, febrile seizures!)  However, I wouldn’t trade them for anything because they’ve also been the happiest days of my life.

Happy anniversary, B.  Here’s to thirteen more and many more after that!

My Thoughts on Marriage Equality

Marriage_EqualityYesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 Amendment were unconstitutional.  Already, proponents of marriage equality are saying that this will open the door for gay marriage in every state while opponents are either mourning the "loss of traditional marriage" or are vowing to fight on.

Personally, I see marriage as a union between two consenting adults.  I don’t care if those adults happen to be a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man.  So long as they love each other, they should be able to wed and gain all of the rights that are inherent in marriage.  These include (but aren’t limited to) filing taxes jointly, hospital visitation rights, child custody, and automatic inheritance when one partner passes away.

Years back, when I first heard of the marriage equality movement, I thought long and hard about how I felt.  I listened to arguments on both sides and came to a a few realizations.

Sacred Marriage and Church State Split

One big argument I keep hearing is about how marriage is "sacred" and how we can’t redefine marriage because God has set the rules.  It seems to me that this touches upon two issues: The Two Kinds of Marriage and the Separation Between Church and State.

First of all, marriage actually refers to two very different institutions.  There is religious marriage where a couple has a priest, rabbi, or other clergy member declare them as married according to the customs of the clergy’s religion.  Then, there’s the government definition of marriage which involves an application for and issuance of a marriage license form.

The problem comes into play when people confuse the two.  When you talk about "God sanctified" marriages, you are talking about religious marriages, not government marriage.  The government isn’t allowed (thanks to the Separation of Church and State) to limit people to religious marriage.  If it did, then how would it decide which religions would be acceptable and which weren’t?  Would atheists be allowed to marry or would they be forced to join a religious group first?  Would any religious group qualify or would only "approved" religions be allowed?

What "marriage equality" really refers to is the government definition of marriage.  This definition is essentially a social contract.  Two individuals of consenting age decide to join into a contractual arrangement to share societal responsibilities such as finances, health care, and government services.  Under this model, there is no reason to artificially limit the contract rules to only cover man-woman contracts.

The Meaning of Marriage

Another argument that is often given is that the purpose of marriage is reproduction.  Since the marriage of two people of the same sex won’t result in a child, this union is unnatural and wrong.  (Or so the argument goes.)

The truth, though, is that plenty of marriages are formed that don’t result in children.  Couples can decide not to have children or might try for years with no success.  In addition, Elderly folk can marry without producing a child.  If a women is single after menopause, does that mean she can never again marry?  If a man has a vasectomy, can he not wed until he has it reversed?  If a couple marries and doesn’t produce a child after a few years, is their marriage invalidated?

The History of Marriage

What about the argument that marriage has always been between one man and one woman and thus it should always remain so?  Unfortunately for those using this argument, it isn’t true.  Marriage has changed drastically over the years.  A few centuries back, marriage was a pre-arranged affair whose primary purpose was to secure property rights.  Even the woman to be married were regarded as property within the marriage context.  Marriage took on many forms as the current concept of marrying for love took shape.

Fifty years ago, men and women weren’t allowed to be married if the color of their skin or their ancestry was different.  At the time, a great debate was held with one side contending that people should marry who they want and the other claiming that tradition dictated a separation.

The Future of Marriage

So, with these Supreme Court rulings, what is the future of marriage?  Some marriage equality proponents are proclaiming that this means all states will need to legalize gay marriage.  Meanwhile, those on the other side are declaring that this will destroy marriage.  Honestly, I don’t believe either.

The Supreme Court stopped short of declaring marriage equality a right and thus striking down all state laws banning gay marriage.  Instead, they held that the states have the right to set the rules for marriage, provided said rules aren’t discriminatory.  Once the state sets the rules, the  federal government can’t deny people married according to said rules.  The next battle will be over a) whether laws banning gay marriage are or aren’t discriminatory, b) whether states can pick and choose which out-of-state marriages it accepts, and c) what happens to federal benefits if someone is married in one state and then moves to a state that doesn’t recognize the marriage.

As for marriage being destroyed, I’m reminded of this PVPOnline comic.  Neither my marriage nor anyone else’s will be negatively impacted at all because different couples can marry just like marriage wasn’t destroyed when men and women of different racial backgrounds were able to be married.

While the momentum is definitely on the side of the marriage equality proponents, the fight will still go on.  Advances will be made and setbacks will be encountered.  I firmly believe, though, that our children’s children look back on this era and wonder just why marriage equality was so controversial.  They will merely accept it as a fact of life just as we accept the fact that a woman gets a say in who she marries and shouldn’t be forced into marriage because her parents told her to.

Goal For 2012: A Little More Us Time

On Sunday, as part of our Lazy Day In, B and I stayed in our PJs all day.  Ok, I tossed some clothes on to get our traditional Chinese food Christmas dinner, but otherwise it was PJs for the whole day.

Towards the end of the day, before dinner was ordered, B and I decided that we should both take showers.  We had just washed and changed the sheets on all of our beds.  (Ok, so it wasn’t a completely lazy day.)  We figured we shouldn’t go to sleep that night without having showered.

As part of my day’s activities, I had resurrected an old laptop we had.  So the boys both had computers to play on.  They were both occupied so I dared to suggest we shower together.  It’s been awhile since we’ve done anything like this and it seemed like a golden opportunity.

B and I got ready.  We got into the shower and B adjusted the water temperature.  Then, as the temp was just right… NHL came walking into the bathroom.

Did I mention that we only have one bathroom on the ground floor?  There we were in the shower with NHL just inches from us on the other side of the curtain.  No, we weren’t engaged in any "activities", but it did mean that any hope of "activities" was rapidly dwindling.  NHL wasn’t rushing either, but decided to talk to B for a bit.

I kept quiet at first until B gave away that I was in there.  NHL was surprised but didn’t question why dad would get into the shower with mom.  He probably figured that we were saving water.  (Yeah, saving water.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

This seems to be a recurring theme in our lives.  I’ll admit, there are days when I miss our pre-kid years.  In those before-kid times, we could go out to a romantic dinner or just spend some quality time indoors on a whim.  Now, we need to plan when we can drop the kids off at B’s parents house and when we need to pick them up.  Spousal quality time seems all too lacking no matter how much we try to make it a priority.

Still, we’re not going to stop trying.  Having a child burst in on you when you’re having a quiet moment together is just one of the many challenges about being a parent.

Luckily, there are always ideas to be had at EdenFantasys. Perhaps we can take a few quiet moments, while the kids are otherwise occupied, and give each other a massage.  Or maybe we can find some "toys" to help add excitement when we would otherwise give in to exhaustion at the end of a long day.  If we’re running low on ideas ourselves, we can also head on over to EdenFantasys Forums to ask other people for ideas.  Yes, B and I are always on the hunt for ways to maximize our Us Time.

Disclaimer: This post was written as part of the EdenFantasys Ambassador program.  I received an EdenFantasys gift card, but the opinions expressed above are my own.

Aloha Friday: Away From Kid-Time

As you read this, B and I will be enjoying time in Disney World to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  (This post has been scheduled, however.  Therefore, as I write this, our trip hasn’t begun yet.)  Meanwhile, my boys will be (hopefully) enjoying time with my parents.  Yes, we will be spending 5 days without our kids.  This will be the longest that we’ll both be away from them.  (The second longest was BlogHer last year.)  Part of us will surely be missing them being sweet, cute, and/or excited, but this time will be spent relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. 

The above words were written as we planned for a wonderful 10th anniversary trip in Disney without the kids.  Instead, Hurricane Irene hit.  Our original plan was to drive to my parents’ house on Sunday, stay until Tuesday and then fly out leaving my parents in charge of the kids.

Let me repeat part of that.  The original plan was to drive to my parents’ house on Sunday.  My parents’ house on Long Island.  My parents’ house on Long Island that Irene was bearing down on.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.

Then, we decided to wait for Monday to see whether we should cancel or go.   However, attempting to plan for two very different scenarios (stuck at home for a week or away from home for a week) was too stressful.  Plus, if we lost power, we might not be *able* to cancel in time.  We finally decided to cancel and focus on staying safe until Irene passed.

Thankfully, both Disney and Southwest Airlines were great about refunding our money (Disney) and giving us credit for another plane trip (Southwest).  Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to take a sans kid romantic vacation sometime soon.

My Aloha Friday question was going to be: What is the longest that you’ve been away from your kids?

Considering that our vacation was cancelled, though, I’ll ask: Have you ever had to change your vacation plans due to weather?

Actually, why not answer both?

Don’t forget to enter my Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders giveaway!

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #103

Aloha Friday: Mish Mash of Feelings

Thanks to a bunch of last minute planning, we’ll soon be heading to Disney World.  This time, without the kids.  This will be our first time to Disney World sans kids since our honeymoon.  (Of course, we didn’t have children then, so it was easy to go by ourselves.)  In the short time that we’ve come up with the idea for this trip and planned it, I’ve had a weird mixture of emotions.

I feel happy at getting to spend a week with my wife without little guys interrupting.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my boys.  It’s just that sometimes I want to spend time with my wife.  We get very few date nights and even fewer complete nights without kids.  Our only “vacation” without the kids was when we went to BlogHer last year.  That trip, while fun, was hardly a romantic getaway.  We’ve been married for 10 years and we deserve this time to ourselves.

While I’m feeling happy, though, I’m also feeling guilty.  After all, the kids love Disney.  Since we told them what we’re doing, they’ve alternated between begging to go and accepting it sadly.  If we announced tomorrow that it was all a cruel joke and they were coming with us, they’d be the happiest kids in the world.

Along with the guilt is fear.  Not just my fear of flying, but fear of the unknown.  We’ll be leaving the kids with my parents during the week.  My parents have never watched the kids for any length of time.  I’m sure they’ll do a good job, but my mind keeps conjuring up scenarios.  What if NHL has a panic attack?  What if JSL won’t eat anything?  What if the boys don’t behave?  Every less-than-perfect scenario is playing through my mind and it scares me.

Still, I know that we need this trip.  We need time away from the kids.  If we don’t get time off to work on us from time to time, the constant stress could negatively impact our marriage.  And a negatively impacted marriage is *NOT* going to raise our kids well.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Have you gone on trips without your kids?  If so, have you ever felt this mixture of emotions?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #97

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